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Jamaica’s Finest Under-The-Radar Snorkeling Spots: An Insider’s Take

True, there are plenty of fish in the sea. But you’ll find whole schools of vibrant, tropical fish at these underwater spots near Treasure Beach.

eople think about snorkeling when they think of Jamaica. And, no question, there are many beautiful places to snorkel all over the island, on all of its coasts. But the South Coast? That’s where you’ll find some of the most extraordinary, untouched spots for watching under-the-sea wildlife.

“We have acres of unplumbed reefs that a lot of visitors are unaware of and where it’s possible to see a huge variety of reef fish,” says Sally Henzell, who happens to be a passionate snorkeler. “We have special guides who can show you spots that are not only teeming with parrotfish, angelfish, doctor fish, snapper, blowfish, octopus and squid, but are also safely protected by the reef,” Sally says, referring to her favorite, under-the-radar snorkeling spots near Treasure Beach — which, she points out, is still a fishing village.

As for the treasures Sally’s found through the years? These include: an anchor (left by the English sailors who came to Old Wharf Beach a few centuries ago) as well as Spanish wine bottles and an assortment of coins (left by the Spaniards who preceded the Brits).

Got the bug? Open to new spots to explore? Jakes has been instrumental in creating the Galleon Fish Sanctuary, a conservation project stretching for four miles along the coast from Black River and between Crawford, Galleon Beach, Malcolm Bay and Hodges Bay.

Since the Jamaica Ministry of Agriculture and fisheries declared Galleon a no-fishing area, there’s been an explosive growth of fish, lobster and marine plant life.

Then there’s the “Kennedy Spot,” as it’s known by locals. Actually called Jackson Hole (and a place you can see from the balcony of Lover’s Leap), this snorkeling spot was made famous when John-John Kennedy and one of his girlfriends paddled their kayak too far out and had to be brought back to shore by a Jamaican fisherman.

If you’re up for something a little less extreme (which includes unearthing your next cold Red Stripe), Old Wharf Beach is your spot. As this is where the Brits and Spaniards came ashore, you never know when you’ll discover some strange archeological find.

As for other the spots… instead of us telling you, we suggest you come down to Jamaica yourself to to check them out.  Grab your mask, snorkel and fins from Dougies Bar. And, let us know what you turn up on your adventure — even if it’s just a school of friendly dolphins, noseying up to see what you’ve found in their neck of the sea.

—LG

PHOTO: NICHOLAS A JOHNSON PHOTOGRAPHY

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