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Last updated on May 30, 2021
Ile Plate (also called Flat Island) and Ilot Gabriel (Gabriel Island) are two small islands located about 10 km north of Mauritius shores. Edged by white sand and linked by a turquoise lagoon, they offer picture-perfect preserved landscapes. To go there, you need to book a day boat trip. Numerous local operators sell excursions to the islands, generally departing from Grand Baie. The lagoon connecting the islands is a gorgeous snorkel spot (you might see rays, turtles and multiple tropical fish) but because of strong currents, it should be explored by fit swimmers only.
Ile Plate and Ilot Gabriel are located about 10 kilometers off Mauritius north shore. If you want to visit them, you can book a catamaran day excursion starting from Grand Baie (from €40pp., a barbecue meal, and beverages included).
Catamarans and bigger boats cast anchor next to Ilot Gabriel. Some trips also include a visit of Ile Plate: you’ll take an inflatable dinghy from Ilot Gabriel to there. The “3 islands tours” include the visit of these two islands + Coin de Mire on the way (which is also a good spot for snorkeling).
When booking, make sure which stops are included in your trip. From Grand Baie, the boats take 90 minutes to get to Ilot Gabriel. The sea conditions vary and it’s not always smooth sailing: those prone to seasickness or those who simply prefer to arrive earlier can take the express boat.
You will enter the water from one of the two small sandy beaches located on each island. Beware of strong currents existing in the area, and strictly follow your guide’s rules before entering the water.
Two areas are fit for snorkeling. They are located on each side of the lagoon, close to Ile Plate on its West side and Ilot Gabriel on its Eastside. The main current crosses the lagoon in a North-South direction, sometimes strongly, especially in its central part.
If you leave from Ile Plate you will probably be advised to walk northwards before sliding down the current back to your starting point. Starting from Ilot Gabriel, it is possible to snorkel against the current from the beach to the reef, but only if it is not too strong.
Strictly follow your guide’s instructions: he will adjust them depending on the day’s sea conditions. Whatever island you start from, never try to swim from one island to the other.
In both areas, the seabed is better preserved than around the main island of Mauritius. The shallowest areas are covered with sand or rocks. Triggerfish (lagoon triggerfish, titan triggerfish) and Moorish idols can easily be seen there.
Swimming northwards, as you get closer to the reef, nice clumps of Acropora (more or less healthy) come into sight. Whitetail dascyllus take shelter under their branches and you may even spot an emperor angelfish, one of the most beautiful fish that can be seen on Mauritian reefs. The lagoon also shelters several species of butterflyfish, wrasses, and cornetfish.
If lucky you might even spot a sea turtle or a stingray.
Almost all-day excursions to Ile Plate and Ilot Gabriel include a lunch (generally a barbecue made on the beach served with rice and salad). Make sure yours include one when booking.
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.
Coral reef bordering a small uninhabited island
Shallow coral reef with colorful fish
Shallow lagoon and reef drop off with turtles and colorful fish
Free shore access
Free shore access
Small rocky pool with a diversity of fish
Shallow lagoon with coral and fish