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Planning Snorkeling: Staying at Morritt's

Princeton, New...
Level Contributor
9 posts
2 reviews
Planning Snorkeling: Staying at Morritt's

We're heading to Morritt's for our second time and last time 2 years ago we had a great time snorkeling around the resort. We are casual snorkelers but strong swimmers. That said, I'm not particularly interested in snorkeling sites that have strong current or are challenging swims (my partner is a strong swimmer but not super confident in her abilities). This time we would like to branch out and do some more snorkeling on the east end and north side of the island. We have looked through Testudo's guide and thinking of this plan.

1. Snorkel around Morritt's again, in the past we stayed right in front of the resort. Should we walk up or down the beach in either direction to catch good spots we might have missed?

2.Queens Monument/Connolly cove, seems like a good spot within our abilities

3.Barefoot beach, likewise nice and easy?

4. Rum point drift route, some current (obviously) but should be manageable for beginners?

Any additions or changes we should make to our current plan? We will be arriving on Jun 20

Trophy Club, Texas
Destination Expert
for Cayman Islands
Level Contributor
7,198 posts
24 reviews
1. Re: Planning Snorkeling: Staying at Morritt's

Seems like a solid plan. Most of those areas are shallow and not far from shore.

If you are feeling confident and conditions are favorable, the Rum Point Barrier Reef can also be added to your list.

hudson valley
Level Contributor
3,192 posts
2. Re: Planning Snorkeling: Staying at Morritt's

The only place on your list that you'd be at all likely to encounter current that might be unmanageable is by the cut where the current runs through the reef in front of Morritt's. If you walk south for a bit you can drift back towards Morritt's with the current, but you need to pay attention to your progress and head back towards shore to get out of the current before you get close to the cut. While you're south of Moritt's the current will be roughly parallel to shore, so swimming back towards shore takes you across the current. When you get close to the cut the shore swings around toward the west, and the current continues more or less straight out through the cut. At that point back towards shore becomes directly against the current, so you want to be out of the current well before reaching that point.

The current near Rum Point is similar, but you'd have to continue well beyond the point before the current flows out through the reef. Even if you get 1/4 mile pas the point you're in no danger of being carried out, but the swim starts to get fairly long.

There's a good video about rip currents here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9OMIKsTuqY

Princeton, New...
Level Contributor
9 posts
2 reviews
3. Re: Planning Snorkeling: Staying at Morritt's

Thanks for the feedback, definitely familiar with rip currents from the NJ shore, and familiar with techniques to spot and swim out of them. Steve the cut your refering to is where the Redsail boats head out to open water right?

I was just reading something that said the best snorkeling at Moritt's is north of the Mimi's dock but I guess will check out the whole area more thoroughly that our last trip, being mindful of the current, as we get more adventurous.

Princeton, New...
Level Contributor
9 posts
2 reviews
4. Re: Planning Snorkeling: Staying at Morritt's

One more thing, do either of you recommend getting some sort of flag or marker to use? By Morritt's there is relatively little boat traffic, I'm just wondering if we should be concerned when venturing to some of the other areas. If so any suggestions?

CA
Level Contributor
300 posts
15 reviews
5. Re: Planning Snorkeling: Staying at Morritt's

WE have done what Steve-from NY described. Our son drove us from Morritt's to Collier's Beach. We then snorkeled all the way back to the resort. It's about a mile and is easy to do. We went in mid June last time, and will be there again a week after you (June 26).

Edited: 09 June 2015, 03:54
New Jersey
Level Contributor
415 posts
10 reviews
6. Re: Planning Snorkeling: Staying at Morritt's

Lisa,, are you saying that you started at Colliers Beach and then drifted/snorkeled down to Morrits? I am staying at The Reef now and will give that a try.

There are a lot of fish right under the Morrits dock, but I'm not sure what kind they are other than the tarpon that scared the carp out of me when I first saw them and thought they might be sharks in the not so good vis yesterday. While there are plenty of fish, they were all mostly silver and I was hoping to see some other cool colorful fish.

CA
Level Contributor
300 posts
15 reviews
7. Re: Planning Snorkeling: Staying at Morritt's

Hi GreggNJ,

Yes that is what we did. There are lots of sea grass near the beach and we entered the water from the dock. In general, I seem to remember that fish in Cayman are not very colorful but we saw squid, lobster (huge) and turtles while drifting back to Morritt's. We heard that drift snorkeling near Ram Point is also very good and we look forward to giving it a try this time.

hudson valley
Level Contributor
3,192 posts
8. Re: Planning Snorkeling: Staying at Morritt's

Yes, the cut is the gap in the reef where the boats come and go. The longshore current runs north along the east end of the island, and then just continues right out to sea through the cut. I'll note that some people don't think of the water flowing out through the gap as a rip current. It may look different than a lot of rip currents, but it very definitely flows out to sea. A snorkeler went missing in the vicinity of the cut a few months back. He wasn't found, but the presumption is that he was carried out by the current.

I'd figure that all of the water in the lagoon is flowing towards the cut, but most of it isn't flowing very fast. If you look at the aerial view in Bing maps (Google imagery for that spot isn't as good) it's very easy to see the cut. There's also a very obvious channel in the lagoon with a clean sandy bottom. Figure that's the area where the current is most noticeable. For anyone who doesn't know, you can easily see how current or wind is affecting your movement by just staying still for a moment and watching the bottom to see if you're still moving. The current will be somewhat affected by the tide, but figure that even on an incoming tide the water that gets over the ref is still flowing back out through the cut.

I'd plan to be relatively close to shore by the time you are approaching Mimi's dock.Besides the current, the further out you are the more likely you'll encounter boat traffic that isn't gong very slowly and watching very carefully. That's true anywhere in the lagoon, not just when you're getting close to Morritt's. There are frequently a lot of people in the water close to the dock, and the boats will be very mindful of that. I'm comfortable going without a flag, but I also pay close attention. You'll typically hear powerboats when they're still a fair distance away.

Princeton, New...
Level Contributor
9 posts
2 reviews
9. Re: Planning Snorkeling: Staying at Morritt's

Steve, thank you for the thorough explanation, it is greatly appreciated, I checked out Bing Maps, and see the areas that you pointed out. We will be mindful of this when snorkeling around Morritt's/Colliers and avoid ending up in a situation where we need to deal with the channel and current. Anyway, iit seems to me from the Bing map that there is a fair amount of stuff to explore close to shore in that area, then again I guess it could just be sea grass.

Massachusetts
Destination Expert
for East End, Grand Cayman
Level Contributor
956 posts
17 reviews
10. Re: Planning Snorkeling: Staying at Morritt's

To piggyback on the excellent advice Steve provided, I've gotten caught in the channel cut current a few times and it is no joke. A good rule of thumb for strong swimmers snorkeling along the barrier reef is to depart for shore a minimum of 300 yards south of the southernmost channel marker. And anyone who is not a strong swimmer has no business snorkeling out at the reef in the first place.

Another great East End snorkel area is in front of Tukka restaurant. Starting about 250-300 yards offshore there are large boulder coral, and out near the reef - over a half-mile offshore - there is about a mile-long stretch of table coral. Again, only strong swimmers should go this far offshore, but there is little current to deal with. I've been gathering GPS info about this area during my last three trips so I can map it, which I hope to complete during my upcoming late June-July trip.

For a closer-to-shore experience, try Charlie's Shoal. Enter about 100 yards south of the intersection of Austin Connolly Drive and Colliers Wilderness Drive - there is a very nice coral garden starting not 50 yards offshore.

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