Snorkeling Around Dickenson Bay

Dickenson Bay's shoreline is a laid back destination, coming alive when cruise ships are in port.  During this time, stands pop up selling everything from local handicrafts to snorkeling equipment.  This is a great time to get a low price on a snorkeling kit to take out and explore local marine life.

If you're the type who enjoys the independence of snorkeling on your own, and you want to avoid the crowds, you can bring your own equipment or find a shop selling and renting out watersports equipment in the area, rather than relying on a pop-up stand in the sand.  Usually your best bet will be to find a dive shop to ensure equipment is available.  Don't forget to check with your hotel or villa rental first.  Often, they offer snorkeling equipment as a perk for guests.

Once you've got your fins, mask, and snorkel in hand, head to the southern end of town for the best shore snorkeling, though you'll likely be satisfied at either end.  If you want to ensure you visit the very best snorkeling sites, sign up for a guided tour.  Off the coast of Dickenson Bay is a great reef system, but it does take a boat ride to get to it, as it is closer to an  uninhabited island opposite the bay.  

Still, what many find most appealing about snorkeling is the fact that you can do it almost anywhere.  Simply slip into your gear, find a spot, and get started.  A good tip to keep in mind is that if you see a patch of dark water in an area that is otherwise lighter, there is a good chance you'll find coral – or at the very least a patch or rocks or boulders – where fish and other sea life are likely to find solitude.  There you'll be enchanted by the quiet and calm nature of the sport, made even more alluring by the crystalline waters that are known for visibility of anywhere from 50 to 140 feet and temperatures that average around 80 degrees Fahrenheit.  If you make it out, the sea life you'll see here will include colorful coral and sponges, sea fans, sea grass, batfish, spadefish, sergents, eels, jacks, barracuda, and sometimes even sea turtles and nurse sharks. 

Snorkeling Sites

If you'd like to experience what's below the surface you might want to visit Soldier Bay West. One of the most colorful and popular snorkeling sites in the area, Paradise Reef lives true to it's name. The reef features vibrant gardens of coral that are home to numerous fish, lobsters, octopuses, and turtles. This snorkeling site is situated a short distance away North of central Dickenson Bay.

Deep Bay is another place you might enjoy. The final resting place of a ship that wrecked in 1905 when it caught fire and sank, it now rests at a depth of only 35 feet, making it more than accessible to divers and snorkelers alike. Since its sinking, the wreck as become a popular habitat for sponges, as well as countless small fish.

Some basic details about 5 of the most popular places to experience snorkeling in this area are listed here:

Snorkeling Sites Near Dickenson Bay
Site Location Island
Dickenson Bay 0.3 mi. North of Central Dickenson Bay Antigua
Soldier Bay West 2.0 mi. North of Central Dickenson Bay Antigua
Deep Bay 3.3 mi. South West of Central Dickenson Bay Antigua
Prickly Pear Island Prickly Pear Island, 3.5 mi. East-Northeast of Central Dickenson Bay Prickly Pear Island
Hawksbill Bay 4.4 mi. South West of Central Dickenson Bay Antigua

Snorkeling Services

If you're looking for someone offering snorkel rentals, excursions, or similar services, you might want to contact AquaSports St. Johns. A shop that began in 1994 mainly selling snorkeling and fishing equipment is now the number one shop on the entire island for watersports equipment. In addition to offering fishing and watersports equipment and snorkeling kits for sale, you can sign up with one of their knowledgeable guides for a tour of some of Antigua's best fishing, snorkeling and dive sites. They are found within downtown St. John's, a short distance away South of central Dickenson Bay.

A second company that offers snorkeling related services is Stingray City. See the stingrays of Antigua up close in this tropical snorkeling adventure.

The following table summarizes some details about a couple of places that offer services of interest to snorkelers.

Snorkeling Services Near Dickenson Bay
Name Type Phone Location
AquaSports St. Johns Watersports Equipment Shop (268) 462-3474 Downtown St. John's, 2.5 mi. South of Central Dickenson Bay
Stingray City Snorkeling Tour Operator (268) 562-7297 Downtown St. John's, 2.6 mi. South of Central Dickenson Bay

To learn more about snorkeling, including tips and suggestions for beginners and "pros" read this exhaustive Caribbean snorkeling article.

Whether you sign up for a tour, convince a local fisherman to let you tag along as he heads out on his boat, or decide to dive in right off shore, you're sure to be as mystified with the wonders under the surface of the sea as so many of Dickenson Bay's visitors have been before you. 


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