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Snorkelling at Smith's and Bight's reef

Ottawa, Canada
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Snorkelling at Smith's and Bight's reef

I'm planning a trip for August and would like to be able to easily walk to snorkelling each day, so will likely stay in the area of Windsong Resort. I thought TCI and especially Grace Bay were known for their excellent beach snorkelling opportunities, but a lot of what I've read lately is that people either aren't too impressed, or it's just been too windy to enjoy it. I'm not expecting the Great Barrier Reef or anything, but what's the scoop? Can I expect to go out for 30-60 minutes of snorkelling and have a lot to see? Have the reefs deteriorated over the years and just aren't as healthy as they used to be? I should also mention that I understand that a "natural" snorkelling experience where the fish aren't being fed is very different from some resort excursions where they feed the fish and hence it's more like being in an overcrowded fishbowl. Any feedback and insight is welcome!

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Windsong Resort
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Detroit, Michigan
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for Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, Grace Bay, Grand Turk
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1. Re: Snorkelling at Smith's and Bight's reef

Bight Reef just yards off the shore @ Windsong will suffice. Dr. Jim

Edited: 12 June 2018, 07:08
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Windsong Resort
Windsong Resort
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NH
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2. Re: Snorkelling at Smith's and Bight's reef

Although I stay at Club Med and take advantage of their off shore snorkeling excursions, two of my friends walked to Bight Reef (in May) to check out the condition of the reef since the hurricanes (comparing to how it looked a year ago).

Their opinion was that the reef sustained some damage and the fish population had been impacted to some degree. ..Worth snorkeling still...but some change compared to last year.

This is my exact impression of the outer reef, also. Butterfly fish population is way down. ~~~allfins ><>

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Bight Reef
Bight Reef
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Middle Caicos
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3. Re: Snorkelling at Smith's and Bight's reef

I've actually seen a bunch of new coral growth in areas that didn't have much coral before, so it probably depends on the location.

Troy, Michigan
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4. Re: Snorkelling at Smith's and Bight's reef

I'll be checking it out soon and try to make some comparisons.

NH
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5. Re: Snorkelling at Smith's and Bight's reef

@head_dunce: You are absolutely right. I had never explored a reef this close to the time of a major hurricane. I found it very strange to find that some areas had clearly been impacted...and other areas feet away were completely clear of an evidence of storm damage. It appeared that there was still a light coating of sand on portions of the outer reef.

@Rebecca: My DH did 10 dives while we were there. He found very little damage in the deeper water. (It was windy while we were there so he was unable to dive Northwest Point.) He thought that the fish activity was "good" but not like it was last August. He did see sharks. ...I only saw one while snorkeling. ~~~allfins ><>

Edited: 12 June 2018, 21:44
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Charlotte, North...
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6. Re: Snorkelling at Smith's and Bight's reef

I enjoyed Bight Reef when we were there last November. Found the snorkeling better earlier in the morning. It wasn’t the most amazing snorkeling I’ve done (I’ve done a lot) but we did see an eagle ray, which was new for me, turtles, and lots of fish.

Smith’s Reef is on my list for next time. We did take an excursion to the outer reef and saw nothing - contemplating Big Blue for a more snorkeling-focused trip next time.

Troy, Michigan
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7. Re: Snorkelling at Smith's and Bight's reef

CLT, I would highly recommend Big Blue for a more snorkeling focused outing. They are more expensive than the others but with the smaller group size, I think it is great. We've only done the Edge of Banks and in 3 weeks we'll do their 1/2 day.

Allfins, it is really a treat to see sharks while diving or snorkeling. I've only ever encountered reef sharks or nurse sharks. Some of the underwater footage coming out of Northwest Point this week shows some black tipped reef sharks.

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Northwest Point Resort
Northwest Point Resort
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Boulder, Colorado
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8. Re: Snorkelling at Smith's and Bight's reef

two years ago when we snorkeled smiths reef we saw a family of three spotted eagle rays and sea turtles. I thought the snorkeling there was fantastic considering it right offshore. we've don't a lot of offshore snorkeling. felt this was some of the best offshore snorkeling. going back in November curious to see how its changed since the hurricane.

Shelbyville, KY
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9. Re: Snorkelling at Smith's and Bight's reef

I can't speak to current conditions, but we stayed in Turtle Cove in 2014 and snorkeled Smith's Reef every day for about 2 hours. I don't know where you have snorkeled before, but we thought the coral was in much better shape than Akumal Bay in Mexico where we have snorkeled many times. Purple sea fans were actually purple instead of being bleached white. I didn't think the water clarity was as good as some of the beaches on St. John, but it kept us entertained for a week and we would love to go back. We saw a big variety of sea life every day, including turtles and an eagle ray. After riding bicycles down to Bight Reef and seeing the crowds there, we were glad to be staying where we were.

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Chesterfield...
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10. Re: Snorkelling at Smith's and Bight's reef

We went to Bight Reef last week. We are by no means professional snorkerlers so take it for what it's worth, but we thought it was great. I've never been previously so can't speak to how it's changed, but we went twice and saw: sting rays, sea turtle, lion fish, barracudas, and all the other fish I would suspect one sees at reefs (parrot fish, cowfish, trunk fish, angel fish, wrasse, trumpetfish, etc)

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Bight Reef
Bight Reef
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