But on days when the weather is warm and sunny and the ocean flat, it’s fantastic spot for swimming, scuba diving and snorkelling.
Snorkelling Canal Rocks
Where to snorkel:
My favourite area for snorkelling is around the island of rock on the far side of the boardwalk bridge. This is a relatively safe area, as it is on the more protected eastern side. The water there is deep and usually very clear on a nice calm day.
To get there, either swim around from the beach next to the boat ramp, or plunge straight into deeper water off the rocks.
You might find the water to be a bit murky close to the beach and boat ramp, but it’s still worth having a quick look, as there are plenty of fish to see in the shallows. The water generally gets a lot clearer as you swim further out to where it’s several metres deep.
If you choose not to swim around from the beach and jump off the rocks instead, just be aware of the fact that it’s harder to climb back onto the rocks than it is to jump off them.
What You’ll See:
Fish commonly seen while snorkelling around Canal Rocks include:
- Red-lipped morwong
- Western king wrasse
- Senator wrasse
- Banded sweep
- Sting rays
Canal Rocks is a particularly good snorkelling site for spotting sting rays, especially in the canals between the rocks.
Honeycombs is a dive site near Canal Rocks that I haven’t been to yet, but have read about in the book “Dive and Snorkel Sites in Western Australia” and would like to try one day soon. It’s a reef riddled with caves and swim throughs, about a 300 metre swim from the boat ramp on a compass baring of 60°.
Canal Rocks Beach and Boat Ramp
The Canal Rocks provide the bay next to the east with a fair bit of shelter from the waves. But unfortunately the calm, shallow water off the beach isn’t so nice for swimming, as the seafloor is cobbled with wobbly rocks and pebbles.
The boat ramp at Canal Rocks Beach is a good spot to launch a boat for easier access to the Honeycombs dive site or the off-shore areas of Canal Rocks. With a boat, you can also get to many other fantastic fishing and diving spots in the area, such as the rocks off shore from Smiths Beach.
Staying Safe When Snorkelling Canal Rocks
Swimming and snorkelling at Canal Rocks can potentially be very dangerous, so it’s important to be sensible and take into account the conditions of the day. This part of the coast is unprotected from the open ocean, baring the full brunt of the waves.
When large waves break on the seaward side of Canal Rocks, strong currents and turbulent white water surge in and out of the narrow canals between the rocks.
Only swim in the canals between the rocks when the ocean is completely flat. Even in reasonably calm conditions, there may still be surges and currents in the main canal and through the gaps between the rocks on the seaward side. So it’s always better to stick to the eastern side of the rocks and the calmer cross-canals, staying well back from where there’s any white water and breaking waves.
Last Updated: 22nd March, 2016.
First posted on 15th October, 2013 by Bonny.
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