Snorkeling Desecheo: A Forbidden Island Off Rincon, Puerto Rico

Towering swells surge throughout the 12 mile passage between Rincon, Puerto Rico and an uninhabited isle. Our dive boat crests the waves again and again, summiting the indigo hills with ease. We plan to snorkel simply off the shores of Desecheo Island, a Nationwide Wildlife Refuge that was as soon as house to smugglers and pirates however now shelters a scrap of brown boobies, three species of lizards discovered nowhere else on the earth, and a wholesome inhabitants of launched Rhesus monkeys.

Sadly the island itself is off-limits. Throughout WW2 america used it as a bombing vary and unexploded army ordnances now pose a menace to customer security.

As we shut the hole, Desecheo rises from the notoriously shifting tides and robust currents of the Mona Passage. When her rugged shoulders come sharply into view, we drop anchor in forty ft. I survey the coast the place white water funnels up by jagged rocks and crashes onto the land. There’s something tantalizing in regards to the thriller of a secluded place. I wish to examine the wild hills. Do not get me fallacious, I’m thrilled to discover the bay, however at the same time as I slip into my gear and giant-step off the dive platform, I’m targeted on the small seashore only a brief swim away.

The water closes over my head and for a second I’m suspended eye-level with the fish, hanging between heaven and earth in a gravity free world. The visibility is over 80 ft and this can be a cloudy day. Queen set off fish hover near the boat, maybe hoping to share our sandwiches. They wave their slender fins like ladies tossing their hair. After clearing my snorkel, I lounge face first within the water, watching a tropical fishy dance and permitting the heat of the solar to seep into my body like Puerto Rican rum. Pink and blue parrot fish tango above the sand and pinstriped sergeant majors cha-cha over limestone ledges. A butterfly fish couple salsas in a cascading spiral as much as greet me.

That is once I discover a barracuda eyeballing me. Barracuda are likely to swim close to the floor and in case you are too targeted on the distant sea ground you’re apt to overlook their menacing presence. Mr. Flashy Enamel is simply past arm’s attain. We watch one another for a protracted second after which he flicks his tail and disappears into the blue.

I permit myself to float towards the seashore. Submerged boulders rise beneath me and the surf crashes over them lowering the visibility to a bubbly two or three ft. Even when it have been secure to set foot on the island, reaching it could be treacherous. I had hoped to at the very least get shut, however not in the present day.

Resigned, I kick towards the present and head again to the security of deeper water. Our information is looking everybody again to the boat anyway. Perhaps sometime I’ll set foot on Desecheo Island. Within the meantime, I have to admit, the snorkeling off shore is breathtaking. And I am glad that in my longing to discover the reaches of one thing unattainable, I did not miss the wild encounter at hand.

Info Please


No passport wanted for US residents.

Puerto Rico makes use of US {dollars}.

English is spoken extensively, though Spanish is the normal native language.

Puerto Rico cellphone numbers may be dialed with out a global code from US telephones.

US cellular phone protection is fairly good, particularly alongside the coast. We did not must do something further to make use of our cellular phone and since now we have a nationwide plan, we weren’t even roaming!


Fly into (BQN) Rafael Hernandez Airport in Aguadilla, on the west aspect of Puerto Rico.

Desecheo is 13 miles off shore from Rincon a small surf city on the western tip of the Island 20 minutes from the airport.

Taino Divers is the one dive store formally allowed within the waters round Desecheo. You’ll be able to snorkel, scuba dive or attempt a uncover scuba class and dive with an teacher.


Rincon provides every thing from fancy resorts to price range resorts to personal home you’ll be able to hire.


You will discover every thing from a Spanish type Tapas Bar to the well-known Lazy Parrot Rum Shack the place each Wednesday is Reggae Evening. We loved having lunch and watching the surfers at Tamboo Seaside Grill


Go to an artwork gallery.

Take a look at Rincon’s eight miles of seashores, most of that are well-known for big surf, particularly within the winter months.

Take browsing classes.

Study to sail.

Go deep-sea fishing. Marlin, sailfish, swordfish, tuna, dorado, wahoo and shark all wait to tangle with you within the blue waters off Rincon’s Caribbean coast.

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