Îlot Canard, or Île aux Canards (litteraly Duck Island in French) is THE snorkel spot to try in Nouméa. This small islet has obvious assets : is only a 5-minute boat ride from Anse Vata, and it is fringed by a gorgeous coral reef over which an underwater path has been set. A few fin strokes lead you at the heart of Caledonian reef life: colorful fish, fluorescent corals, giant clams and sometimes a sneak peek at a green sea turtle above the drop-off.
Two taxi boat companies offer rides to Ile aux Canards from Anse Vata (return trip from 1250 CFP/pers). Boats leave every ten minutes or so, and the crossing takes 5 minutes. Snorkel gear can be rented at the underwater path information kiosk.
Enter the water from the beach, in front of the swimming area defined by buoys (on your right when arriving on the islet).
The exploration area encompasses the whole swimming area. Located at the islet’s west side, it is defined by yellow buoys. A free-access underwater path has been set here; it is made of five white numbered landmarks to which educative signs have been tied. Following the path is perfect for learning about the reef and the species it shelters, but you can of course explore the whole area freely if you prefer.
Starting from the beach, you will first swim over a shallow reef flat covered by quite degraded corals (↕1-1,5m) where juvenile blackeye thicklip and several rabbitfish species can be seen. Numerous sea anemones are embedded at the foot of corals, they shelter small colonies of Barrier Reef anemonefish and fire clownfish.
The reef then steadily deepens. Coral quality greatly improves as they get out of the reach of swimmers and their fins (↕3-5m). The seabed boasts a gorgeous display of blue branch coral and finger coral clumps around which swarms of green chromis gravitate. Harlequin sweetlips, yellowbanded sweetlips and several species of coralgroupers hide underneath table coral.
Even if turtle and shark spotting is not guaranteed here, green sea turtles and white tip sharks can sometimes be seen in the blue at the reef front. In this same area, impressive sharp-teethed groupers stay still against the sand at the foot of the drop-off (↕6m).
Underwater visibility is usually good here, but it can worsen during windy days and after heavy rains.
Restaurant Le Filao is set on the island.
These snorkeling spots are accessible to beginners and kids. You will enter the water gradually from a beach, or in a less than 3ft. deep area. The sea is generally calm, shallow, with almost no waves or currents. These spots are usually located in marked and/or monitored swimming areas. It is not necessary to swim long distances to discover the sea life.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.
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Snorkeling spots are part of a wild environment and their aspect can be significantly altered by weather, seasons, sea conditions, human impact and climate events (storms, hurricanes, seawater-warming episodes…). The consequences can be an alteration of the seabed (coral bleaching, coral destruction, and invasive seagrass), a poor underwater visibility, or a decrease of the sea life present in the area. Snorkeling Report makes every effort to ensure that all the information displayed on this website is accurate and up-to-date, but no guarantee is given that the underwater visibility and seabed aspect will be exactly as described on this page the day you will snorkel the spot. If you recently snorkeled this area and noticed some changes compared to the information contained on this page, please contact us.
The data contained in this website is for general information purposes only, and is not legal advice. It is intended to provide snorkelers with the information that will enable them to engage in safe and enjoyable snorkeling, and it is not meant as a substitute for swim level, physical condition, experience, or local knowledge. Remember that all marine activities, including snorkeling, are potentially dangerous, and that you enter the water at your own risk. You must take an individual weather, sea conditions and hazards assessment before entering the water. If snorkeling conditions are degraded, postpone your snorkeling or select an alternate site. Know and obey local laws and regulations, including regulated areas, protected species, wildlife interaction and dive flag laws.
Reef drop off with coral, fish and turtles
Level: Free shore access
Small reef and shallow seagrass meadows with sea turtles
Narrow fringing reef with coral and reef fish
Shallow natural pool with coral, clams and reef fish
Preserved shallow coral gardens with reef fish
Bay with coral bommies and reef fish
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