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Located off the north coast of Mauritius, Coin de Mire (aka Gunner’s Quoin) is a small island shaped like a sailboat, which offers one of the most beautiful landscapes of the island. At the foot of its cliffs, where the iconic tropicbird nest, you can snorkel on a shallow and rather unspoiled coral reef. There is a great diversity of reef fish, including butterflyfish, angelfish, damselfish, and wrasse.

Soft coral at Coin de Mire reef
Compared to the main island lagoons, the Coin de Mire coral reef is in pretty good condition, with a nice display of soft and hard coral.

How to go snorkeling Coin de Mire island’s reef?

Coin de Mire is a small island located about 8km north of Mauritius. It is an uninhabited island, protected by a nature reserve, on which no landing is allowed. To snorkel at Coin de Mire, you will have the choice between two types of snorkeling tours: the short tour to Coin de Mire only (few hours), or a combined excursion to Coin de Mire, Flat Island and Gabriel Island (where you can snorkel in the channel that separates the two islands). For the combined excursion (often referred to as the “three island tour”), prices start at around MRU 2000pp., departing from Grand Baie, Pereybere, or Cap-Malheureux.

Coin de Mire snorkeling map, Mauritius

Water entrance for snorkeling Coin de Mire

Disembarking on the island is prohibited. You will get into the water directly from your boat.

Coin de Mire snorkeling exploration tips

The snorkeling area is located in the southwest of the island. Here the coast forms two small bay, under the shelter of which a coral reef has grown.

Emperor angelfish at Coin de Mire reef
The emperor angelfish is one of the Coin de Mire’s reef most iconic inhabitants.

At the foot of the cliffs, the reef forms a shallow flat (↕0.5-1m), which then descends in irregular slopes (↕2-4m). On the reef, there is a beautiful diversity of hard coral (often very colorful), and some soft corals. The remoteness of Coin de Mire means that the corals are in better condition there than on the main island, but some areas are quite degraded due to the high frequentation of the spot (visited by several boats every day).

Snorkeler in crystal-clear water at Coin de Mire reef
Near the cliffs, the reef flat is just a few feet below the surface.

Many fish can be seen at Coin de Mire reef, including the emperor angelfish, several species of butterflyfish, streamlined spinefoot, Moorish Idols, and parrotfish. Near the surface, sergeants majors, damselfish, and surge wrasse sometimes have fun swimming around snorkelers.

Restaurants and accommodation nearby

Coin de Mire Island is an uninhabited nature reserve. The “three islands” tour (which combine a visit to Coin de Mire and Flat and Gabriel Islands) generally include a barbecue on the beach. Inquire when you book.

 

  • Level required Intermediary
  • Maximum depth15ft/5m
  • Water entranceFrom a boat
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersMedium
  • Access costsSnorkeling tour (from MRU2000pp. for the 3 islands tour)

MAP Spot

These spots are accessible to anyone with basic snorkeling skills, and feeling comfortable in the water and with his snorkeling gear. You will enter the water from the shore (beach, pontoon, ladder, rocks) or from a boat. The water height in the sea entrance area is reasonable, but you will not necessarily be within your depth. Moderate currents can occur in the area, even when the sea conditions are good. The distance to swim to reach the most interesting snorkeling areas of the spot does not exceed 200 meters.

This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.