My husband and I saw some really cool coral formations and fish. We rode our rented bikes the four or so from Grace Bay and had no trouble finding the correct beach (found the white Smith's Reef sign at the "Central" beach access near the Green Bean Cafe easily.)
Finding the reef in the water was a little tricky. Initially, we launched from the white Smith's Reef sign, swam about 30-50 yards out and moved parallel to the beach for thirty minutes with no luck. Though my husband is a strong swimmer, he headed back to the beach while I pushed out further.
I found the reef about 100 yards out and about 50 yards west of the white Smith's Reef sign (to the left of the sign if you are facing the water.) I went back to shore and led my husband back out to the reef easily. From the shore, we passed sand littered with broken shells, then sea grass, then white sand, then sea grass again, then white sand again before hitting the reef.
Several other snorkelers on the beach that day commented that they were unable to locate the reef or did so purely by happenstance and were unsure how they really got there. So, I hope my description helps someone in locating it.
Technically, this was my first snorkeling adventure, although I am an EXCEPTIONAL swimmer. I would say this is not a beginner's snorkel site unless there is someone who can help locate the reef and make the swim out more direct for others. Once you get out there, the water is calm and no boats came anywhere near the "Central" beach access point (though they might come by other access points).
It's definitely worth it. The brain coral and our fish friend who seemed to be attracted to the shiny key on my wrist were our favorites.
Afterwards, we had a very pleasant lunch at the Green Bean Cafe.
One other note, we rode out bikes and locked them to the Smith's Reef sign. We took our cash into the water in a small dry pack. We had no trouble with leaving our other belongings on the beach.
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