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Shallow Reef - Aruba

Shallow Reef is a shore accessible salt water dive site, located in Aruba. The maximum depth is 36-40ft/11-12m.

Shallow Reef is a relatively unknown site at the far North Western corner of Aruba. Just a kilometer away, the surf is pounding the North East coast, which is very pretty just to sit and watch during off-gassing. This site offers easy entry for both snorkelers and those advanced divers who wish to explore further out. Be careful of the currents here, since the site is so close to the tip of the islands.

Here are a few reviews of Shallow Reef:

Today’s conditions were an 11 on a scale of 1 to 10. The sea was flat and there was little current. Saw a huge smooth trunkfish while swimming out to the reef. Wonderful conditions and visibility in the elkhorn forests. Saw two trumpet fish with cyan spots running down their lengths and a bearded fireworm crawling in the reef floor. Many Tang and a few Night Sergeants, Spanish Hogfish, Squirrelfish, Spotted Goatfish and Reef squid.

Great site for snorkeling. Enter in a sandy bathing area until you can float over the corals. Be sure to venture out to the elkhorn and seafan forests. But beware of the currents as it is much harder to return to shore especially in the chutes between the elkhorn and brain coral formations.

I snorkeled this reef 4 days ago with a friend after reading about it on this site. We entered the water at 8 AM. Conditions were better than usual as there were no waves or surf, which are common to this area of the island. The entry was simple, even though we did not enter at the area recommended on this web site. There was very little to see as we were swimming out looking for the reef. There were only algae and many dead Sea Fans lying flat on the bottom. Visibility was not great, but got better the farther out we swam. Then about 100/150 feet out, we hit upon the reef. All of it seemed to be dead. All of it, except for the many small Blue Crust Corals that seemed to be growing everywhere. There were a lot of fish though. We swam farther out and a few moments later we came across some 2 foot wide Brain Corals that looked healthy. At this point the depth was about 8/10 feet and visibility was pretty good. Next we spotted a turtle! After chasing the turtle for a few seconds we decided to swim farther out to see if there was a drop off. Swimming out we came across another turtle which was half the size of the first one. The farther out we went the nicer the reef became. There were Brain Corals lying in beautiful white sand with many Sea Fans and lots of fish. At a certain point the depth became about 20 feet and there were still a lot of Sea Fans but the bottom was covered with green algae and there was still no drop off. We decided to swim back as we realized that there was a strong current pulling us out. Swimming back in we headed toward the southern part of the reef. We again came across a part of the reef that was dead. This part looked like a field of rubble. At this point the water was about 4 feet deep. Then, to our surprise, we came across a part of the reef where we were surrounded by healthy Elkhorn Coral and Palometa Jacks. This was a magnificent sight. When leaving the Elkhorn area I realized that all the rubble we came across moments earlier, had been dead Elkhorn Coral. We were now heading back to where we intended to exit the water, but the reef still held a last surprise for us: a third turtle! This one was about 2.5 feet long and was larger than the first two we saw. When we finally made it to the car, we realized that we had been in the water for almost 2 hours. Both my friend and I agreed that this had been a great snorkeling experience. The bottom line on this reef is that a large part of it (the part closest to the shore) is dead. However this reef still shows flashes of brilliancy. One can only imagine how magnificent this reef must have been in its heyday. Snorkelers and divers should beware of the current pulling you out to sea. Inexperienced snorkelers should avoid this reef.

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