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reef distance sandy bay/milton bight - currents??

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Saratoga Springs...
Level Contributor
182 posts
51 reviews
reef distance sandy bay/milton bight - currents??

We are still researching our upcoming vaca to roatan and have read that snorkeling is further out in sandy bay. Like many people, I'd like the convenience of snorkeling off shore, without the hassle of being in a high-tourist section. I think I've learned that the best (easiest) off-shore snorkeling would be found in west end or west bay, but i'm wondering how much more difficult is it to get to the reef from sandy bay or other areas east of there (also looking into some places around milton bight). I just don't want to rent a place solely on the fact that the off-shore snorkeling is close by if I'm going to have to deal with a lot of beach vendors and tourists, but I don't want to rent somewhere more isolated if I'm not going to feel comfortable snorkeling (and get worried that I'm going to be carried out to sea...lol)

My concern is that I am not a super strong swimmer...I mean, I can hold my own, but I tend to get nervous if I am super far out and there is a current pulling me one way or another. If there is little to no current, I am not as concerned about going out too far.

Any advice you can share on the distance and current around sandy bay - or even milton bight if possible - would be greatly appreciated! :)

new haven
Level Contributor
184 posts
7 reviews
1. Re: reef distance sandy bay/milton bight - currents??

We are staying at Tranquil Seas in Sandy Bay- very small, chill place. While I haven't been there, my understanding is that they have a long dock you can walk out to get fairly close to the reef. As far as I know it's very calm water there, but I'd double check that if you're interested.

Menlo Park...
Level Contributor
4,589 posts
80 reviews
2. Re: reef distance sandy bay/milton bight - currents??

A dock is generally employed to get you to water deep enough for a boat, not to get you to the reef. That would indeed be a long dock. Look at Roatan on Google Earth or Maps or whatever. The reef crest is clearly visible as tan and that turquoise area is sandy floor inside the reef. You can see that the reef along Sandy Bay is probably the furthest away of all areas, maybe 300-400 yards in spots. I would not encourage anyone to make that swim unless you were in it for the exercise. Take a kayak. Or if you need to be snorkeling al the time, stay at West End or West Bay.

Saratoga Springs...
Level Contributor
182 posts
51 reviews
3. Re: reef distance sandy bay/milton bight - currents??

I appreciate the response dhauk. I wouldn't say I need to be snorkeling ALL of the time....but if I'm going to be staying at one of the best reefs in the world, well, I'll probably go more than once ;) some of the rentals I have looked into do provide kayaks for getting out to the reef if necessary.

Are there any areas in west bay or west end that you could recommend? I really want to stay away from the busy tourist/cruise ship crowd. Are some places in west bay or west end more likely to get busy than others? If it comes down to it, I would rather stay at a remote location and just drive to nicer beaches on the less crowded days if there is no good "in-between" so to speak...

And about the current... Should I be concerned or is it typically pretty calm?

Edited: 2:50 am, February 03, 2013
new haven
Level Contributor
184 posts
7 reviews
4. Re: reef distance sandy bay/milton bight - currents??

Yes indeed it is a long dock, or perhaps I should use the word pier. This may not be the right accommodation for you but I'm quite sure you can snorkel fairly easily without a kayak (although they have them) from Tranquil Seas. We're staying there for the exact reason you mention- away from the crowds but easy enough to get to busier areas. I'd check with them on snorkeling details to be sure or you can just look on their website to see what I'm talking about.

The Dalles, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Guatemala, Belize
Level Contributor
9,613 posts
292 reviews
5. Re: reef distance sandy bay/milton bight - currents??

Google Earth is a great idea. If you can peg where your lodging is it should give you an idea of the relative length of swim. Sandy Bay is many miles long and the length of piers and distance to reef varies widely. We stayed more to the east last time at Hobbie's Hideaway. It was a bit of a swim but very calm and doable - I think I was wet more than dry and the snorkeling was amazing. There was a school of massive (4'!) parrot fish we saw over and over feeding in the shallows on top of the reef. Here's a link to the photo set from that trip. Happy trails!

flickr.com/photos/…

Michigan
Level Contributor
98 posts
25 reviews
6. Re: reef distance sandy bay/milton bight - currents??

I haven't been to Sandy Bay yet, I'll be there in two weeks, so I can't say how far of a swim it is from experience. It does look pretty far out. I'll be taking a kayak and/or someone with a boat. Hoping to see Hopefulist's 4' parrot fish! Djenah, if you're not sure, maybe break your time up between Sandy Bay and West Bay, then you'll get to experience both.

Hickory Flat
Level Contributor
143 posts
5 reviews
7. Re: reef distance sandy bay/milton bight - currents??

Do they have moorings out by the reef in Sandy Bay to tie a kayak up to? We're staying near Blue Bahia if that helps to narrow it down.

Wisconsin
Level Contributor
51 posts
23 reviews
8. Re: reef distance sandy bay/milton bight - currents??

We stayed right at Spooky Channel and the swim was maybe 200 yards. Most spots in Sandy Bay are a little farther out than that. I swam it a couple of times but had access to a kayak and used that most of the time. If you do swim keep an eye out for boat traffic. Inside of the reef there is little current, outside the waves can push you into the reef if your not careful. The bottom has a lot of turtle grass and is soft in many spots, a pier or kayak is nice so you can avoid that.

Sandy Bay is nice and there are no crowds. There is a constant stream of taxis on the road and its easy to flag one down to head into WE for something to eat and then a water taxi to WB if you want to check that area out.

Saratoga Springs...
Level Contributor
182 posts
51 reviews
9. Re: reef distance sandy bay/milton bight - currents??

Thanks for the responses, everyone! The more i read about west bay and west end how crazy it can get with the cruise crowd, the more i think we are definitely going to stay out near sandy bay area or even east of there. How are the beaches in that area? I have read that the water can be grassy, and images don't show it to be quite as pretty as the other areas, but are they still nice??

I have google earthed the island, so i can see how the reef goes out farther in the sandy bay area, but if i have to kayak out there, that's not really a big deal. Loved the pic of your parrotfish!! Silly question though...what would i do with the kayak when i get out there? I've never been on a kayak before...LOL

I have looked into spooky channel and am considering that, though i would have to change my planned travel dates. 200 yards doesn't seem too far. I will also check out tranquil bay...for one reason or another it didn't make the cut when i was narrowing down places, but I'll definitely take a second look! I will also take into consideration the current outside of the reef and will def be careful :) We plan on renting a car, so I'm not worried about missing anything on west end or west bay...I'll just have to figure out when the cruise ships come in so we can avoid the area those days! No real need to split the time in two areas...also I've done that before in cozumel and found it really seemed to shorten the length of our stay...all in my head, but still. ;)

Saratoga Springs...
Level Contributor
182 posts
51 reviews
10. Re: reef distance sandy bay/milton bight - currents??

ah - i checked out tranquil seas (i accidentaly said tranquil bay before...oops) and I think it ruled it out due to lack of a full kitchen. looks super nice though!