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Surrounded by South Hole Sound gin clear turquoise waters, Owen Island is a pristine, deserted islet just off the southwest coast of Little Cayman. Easily accessed by kayak from Southern Cross Club, it is one of the prime snorkeling spots around the island. In its very shallow waters, you will easily spot stingrays, reef fish and queen conch. 

Yellow jack at Owen Island
A yellow jack at Owen Island.

How to get to Southern Cross Club & Owen Island snorkeling spot?

The Southern Cross Club is a seaside resort and diving club on Little Cayman’s south coast. The area off the beach at Southern Cross Club (area 1 on the map below) is very shallow and populated by dense growths of seagrass.

It is possible to swim (with a dive flag) from the shore to a more interesting area around Owen Island, which is about 300m from shore (area 2 on the map). However, it is recommended that you use one of the hotel’s kayaks. The main lagoon reef is located a further 100m further off Owen Island.

Southern Cross Club & Owen Island snorkeling map, Little Cayman

Water entrance for snorkeling Southern Cross Club & Owen Island

For snorkeling off the beach, water entrance is from the Southern Cross Club shore.

If you reach Owen Island, the kayak can be beached on the western side of the island and it is then possible to wade into the shallow waters from the beach. The area of beach furthest west is the easiest area to enter.

Southern Cross Club & Owen Island snorkeling exploration tips

The initial area near the island is very shallow but popular with feeding rays. You can then swim around a rock headland towards the inner edge of the main lagoon reef. The reef is very shallow here and doesn’t appear to be safe to cross, with a heavy swell most of the time.

View towards shore from Owen Island
The beach at Southern Cross Club overlooking South Hole Sound, with Owen Island in the distance.

Much of the shallow water inside the main lagoon reef is covered in seagrass with very large numbers of queen conch present. Many fish species populate the inner edge of the main reef.

Cloud of sand raised by a feeding Southern Stingray off Owen Island.
Cloud of sand raised by a feeding southern stingray off Owen Island.

Heading back toward the island it is possible to find extensive, and quite unusual, coralline algal reef structures, which support diverse fish populations. This is all very shallow water!

Unusual reef feature composed entirely of coralline red algae.
Unusual reef feature composed entirely of coralline red algae.

Restaurants and accommodation nearby

Southern Cross Club has a good restaurant and bar for a post-snorkeling repose, with showers and a pool to cool down in.

 

  • Level required Beginner
  • Protected areaCayman Islands Marine Reserve
  • Maximum depth3ft/2m
  • Water entranceFrom a sandy beach
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersLow
  • Access costsFree
  • Restaurants nearbyYes, at Southern Cross Club

MAP Spot

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.