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Îlot Canard, or Île aux Canards (literally Duck Island in French) is Nouméa’s most popular snorkeling spot. It is not located on the city’s shore but on a small island, just a 5-minute boat ride from Anse Vata. It is fringed by a vibrant coral reef equipped with a snorkel trail. In the shallows, you will discover the classic Caledonian reef life, including colorful fish, fluorescent corals, giant clams and sometimes a visit of a sea turtle.
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 snorkel trail information kiosk (check availability before your visit if you do not have your own equipment).
Enter the water from the beach, in front of the swimming area marked with buoys (on your right when arriving on the islet).
The snorkeling area encompasses the marked swimming area, located on the islet’s western side. A snorkel trail, made of five white buoys, has been installed near the island. Following the path is perfect for learning about the reef and its inhabitants, but you can of course freely explore the area if you prefer.
Starting from the beach, you will first swim over a shallow reef flat covered by damaged corals (↕3-5ft/1-1,5m) where wrasse and spinefoot abound. A large number of sea anemones, which shelter small communities of Barrier Reef anemonefish and fire clownfish are fixed on the reef.
A few dozen of meters from the shore, the reef gets deeper and features more healthy corals (↕10-15ft/3-5m). It notably hosts gorgeous branching coral around which hundreds of green chromis shelter. Harlequin sweetlips, yellowbanded sweetlips and several species of coral groupers hide underneath table coral.
Snorkelers report occasional visits of sea turtles and sharks on the outer reef and in the blue.
Underwater visibility is usually good here, but it can be altered on 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
Free shore access
Islet surrounded by reefs and seagrass meadows with sea turtles and fish
Offshore islet with coral reefs, turtles, sharks and rays
Segrass meadows and reef drop off with sea turtles, sharks and reef fish
Small reef and shallow seagrass meadows with sea turtles
Small islet edged by a coral reef with sharks, turtles, rays and reef fish