Snorkeling from Shore with a Sea Scooter at Smith's Reef and
the Bight Reef
There are two good snorkeling from shore locations on the island
of Providenciales. The two snorkeling spots are known as The Bight
Reef (also sometimes called Coral Gardens, which is the name of
the hotel in front of the Bight Reef) and Smith's Reef. Both
snorkeling from shore reefs are off of Grace Bay Beach on the
North side of Providenciales. Grace Bay Beach is part of the
Princess Alexandra National Park. We offer sea scooter rentals at both
snorkeling from shore locations. See the What
to Know page for more information on where to park and
access the beach for sea scooter and snorkel gear equipment rental
drop-off locations at Smith's Reef and the Bight Reef.
A few things you should know if you are planning a trip to the
- All beaches in the Turks and Caicos islands are
public beaches. There are signs indicating the routes to use for
public beach access. Please do not traverse private property to
access the beach.
- It is illegal to take corals, shells and even sand from the
beach or the ocean.
- There is no fishing in the National Park protected areas,
including the taking of conch and lobster.
- There are garbage bins located at most public beach access
points. Please do not leave your trash on the beach.
- You must have a permit to have a bonfire on the beach.
And if you plan on getting in the water...
- Do not touch the coral. Touching a coral can damage it or even
- Try to avoid stirring up the sand. Excessive sand particles
can also do harm to the corals.
- Do not touch the fish, turtles or any of the sea creatures,
even if it looks dead.
- Use reef-safe sunscreen! The product will usually say
"reef-safe" somewhere on the label, but if you are not sure the
two harmful chemicals are oxybenzone and octinoxate. If you see
those chemicals listed on your sunscreen, please do not go in
- Stay within the swimming areas. There are buoys marking the
safe swimming areas. Beyond the buoys is the boat channel, where
it is not safe to swim.
How to Snorkel from Shore (with a Sea Scooter)
What you might see...
- Meet us on the beach at either the Bight Reef or Smith's Reef
designated meet up locations. (See What
to Know page for detailed directions.)
- Make sure the gear fits. A leaky mask or too tight fins, can
ruin the experience. Masks can be adjusted to be tighter or
looser using the straps on the side. The fins we use have a heel
strap, which can be adjusted to better fit your feet.
- Spray a quick spritz of anti-fog in the mask. (We will provide
this for you.)
- Give all the gear a quick rinse in the ocean. This makes it
easier to slip on.
- Listen to a quick tutorial on how to operate a sea scooter.
- Read and sign a waiver.
- We will bring the scooter down to the water for you and assist
you with putting a leash on your wrist.
- Keep calm and go for a ride with a sea scooter!
Turtles! There is a good chance that you might see a sea turtle
at either the Bight Reef or Smith's Reef snorkeling from shore
locations. The two types of turtles which are common to the area
are green turtles and hawksbill turtles. These two types actually
look quite similar, but the hawksbill has more of a curved beak
and a scalloped shell.
One way to really see the life teeming on the reefs is to stop
swimming and stare at a particular spot for a few minutes. Many
fish and sea creatures will swim into the spot you are watching.
There is a good chance that you will see several different kinds
of colorful, active fish while you are snorkeling. At both Smith's
Reef and the Bight Reef, you will likely see angelfish, sergeant
majors, horse-eye jacks, yellowtail snappers, parrotfish,
squirrelfish, triggerfish, blue and yellow head wrasse and even a
grouper. If you see a puffy fish with a puppy dog face, that's a
Additionally both snorkeling from
shore reefs have some colorful hard and soft corals. The large
rounded corals, which look like yellowish brains are appropriately
named brain coral! You will also have a chance to see pillar
coral, elkhorn coral, staghorn coral and purplish sea fans and sea
If you are lucky, you could see some of the less frequent visitors
to the reefs. Stingrays and Eagle rays are sometimes spotted
gliding along the edges of the reefs. When snorkeling from shore,
you will likely go over open sandy spots, keep your eyes peeled
for Queen Conch nestled in the sand. Another one to watch the
sandy bottom for is a nurse shark. These shy creatures can
sometimes be seen near the reefs. Barracuda tend to "hang" near
the surface. They seem to hover or hang in one spot without
moving. If you dive down and peer into some of the shadowy cracks
and crevices of the reef, you might be rewarded with a glimpse of
an octopus or moray eel. Spot a spiny lobster by looking for long,
stick-like antenna poking out of a dark hole.
You should definitely bring an
underwater action camera, if you have one. The sea scooters have
mounts for a GoPro type camera, which keeps your hands free to
control the sea scooter. Snorkeling with a sea scooter allows you
to get close to the subject you are trying to film. Dive down with
the sea scooter and point the camera upwards. This allows for the
natural sunlight to frame your subject. Leaving the camera on and
continuously shooting video, while cruising along the reef will
give you a lot of footage, but you can always edit the video into
multiple slices and leave out the captures of other snorkelers
thrashing about. Remember not to touch or take anything while you
are snorkeling with a sea scooter. Respect the reef!
Go snorkeling from shore with an underwater sea scooter and see
more of the reef!
a rental now!