This is my favourite snorkeling spot in Coral Bay because the Purdy Point beach is just a short 5 minute walk around the point from town, and if you swim out far enough from the beach you will be astonished by the huge variety and abundance of interesting big and small fish over a huge expanse of seemingly endless coral reef. The water is calm and wave-less, and the visibility is usually pretty clear even when it gets windy.
Finding the Most Impressive Area for Snorkeling at Purdy Point
To get to the most interesting reefs, just swim straight out from the beach, and don’t stop until you’re several hundred metres out.
There is not a lot to see at first, but you’ll usually spot a few sting rays and sea cucumbers and things as you swim over the sand. After a few hundred metres, you’ll reach the start of the coral reef and see some good fish, but keep swimming further out because it gets much more interesting.
You’ll need to swim almost half a kilometre out to reach the best area of coral. That may sound like a long swim, but believe me, it is worth it and it really doesn’t feel that far! The warm water temperature at Coral Bay will allow you to stay out snorkeling at Purdy Point for a long time without getting too cold.
This photo shows how far out you need to swim to reach the best area for snorkeling at Purdy Point:
There’s often a gentle, yet noticeable drift moving north across the Purdy Point reef. You can enter the water at the south end of the beach, near where the five-knot sign sticks out of the shallow rocks, and swim out and slowly northwards aided by the wind and current. You can quite easily start snorkeling at Purdy Point and continue over past the point and around into Bill’s Bay.
The Lavender Patch is an area of beautiful lavender coral that you might come across while snorkeling at Purdy Point. If you want to find it, it’s quite close to the beach, just north of the five knot sign.
Snorkeling at Purdy Point, in Photos:
Not a whole lot to see at first…
Sea cucumbers are a common sight on the sandy seafloor, before you get to the coral reef.
These small rays are pretty common too!
The Beginning of the Main Reef
After swimming over a few isolated patches of coral, you’ll reach the beginning of the main reef a few hundred metres out.
Coral at Purdy Point
Most of the coral at Purdy Point is brown or brownish shades of pink, green and purple, though some of the staghorn coral is pastel blue in colour and there are a few patches of pink, bright neon purple and bright green. There is also some evidence of coral bleaching at Purdy Point, but you’ll see less of this as you swim further out.
Staghorn coral is the most common type you’ll see, but in some areas there’s a great variety of different corals all growing together to form beautiful colourful coral gardens.
The best is yet to come…
Once you reach the start of the main reef, make sure you don’t stop there. This huge area of dense coral growth is mesmerisingly beautiful and teeming with fishlife. And it gets keeps getting more and more beautiful and abundant the further out you swim!
Staghorn coral is the most common species at Purdy Point, and there’s quite a lot of Cabbage and table corals, too.
Related Pages – More Coral Bay Snorkeling Sites
- Coral Bay Snorkeling – Main Page
- Coral Bay Town Beach Snorkeling
- Skeleton Bay
- Oyster Bridge and The Lagoon (Bateman Sanctuary)
- Five Fingers Reef
Last Updated: 2nd October, 2014.
First posted on 8th July, 2014 by Bonny.
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