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The Etocs Archipelago, in the south of Finistère, is one of the best spots in Brittany for snorkeling with grey seals. Attracted by the rocky islets and the fishy waters of the small archipelago, a dozen seals have settled in this protected area. By kayak or paddle, head to the islets and jump into the water to swim with these inquisitive creatures!
Tiny Etocs archipelago is located about two miles off Penmarc’h, at the southern tip of the Audierne Bay. We recommend you to get there by kayak or paddle with a local guide. They charge around 40 euros per person for a half-day trip (2022).
Most of the tours to the islets depart from Kérity slipway or Penmarc’h Nautical Center. Discuss the details of the trip with your guide before booking, and make sure that it includes snorkeling and not just seal watching from the kayak/paddle.
You will enter the water from your paddle or kayak, once on the islets. A small anchor allows securing kayaks and paddles near the rocks.
The Etocs archipelago is made of dozens of small islets and rocks, which extend for almost a kilometer from east to west. The depth is moderate in the area, from less than a meter (3ft) near the rocks to about 3-4 m (10-12ft) in the channels between the islets.
The tour usually starts at low tide, so that you can first spot the seals resting on the rocks. When the tide starts rising, the seals go into the water: it is the right time to join them in the sea!
A few dozen seals have settled in the Etocs. You will have a good chance to spot them during your tour, but they are sometimes absent from the area. Whether you are on your kayak/paddle or in the water, always keep a reasonable distance from the animals (about 50m). Seals being very curious, they may come to greet you underwater.
While snorkeling the Etocs archipelago, you’ll get the opportunity to spot many fish and invertebrates, such as lobsters and spider crabs, which are common in the sheltered rocky beds.
The Etocs are small uninhabited islets, located in the heart of a protected area. Some tours allow picnicking on the rocks before going swimming with the seals.
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.
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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.
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