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Pensacola Snorkeling ???

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Our family is heading to Pensacola Beach this year for our Summer vacation & I have seen a few ads for snorkeling in the area.

What I would like to know is there anything to see ? And how is the water clarity ?
Or should we leave our gear home & just Beach it !!??

Any information would be really helpful

Thanks
Mike

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    patsfan,

    Although we live on P'cola Beach I ran this one past my husband since he's a native and a longtime surfer.

    Water clarity is generally quite good on any days the surf is flat enough to snorkle, which in summer is most days. Unfortunately there isn't a lot to see. The Gulf bottom is sand, no coral, so we don't have loads of gorgeous fish like many places.

    Since they renourished our beaches by dredging last year we have more shells than ever and many of those are out in the water, not on the beach. Those and little, drab fishes are what you're most likely to see on the Gulf side.

    On the Sound side are lots of seagrass beds which have more marine life, but again, not the flashy kind. And the water there is generally very clear and usually calm.

    There is a new State park toward the east end of the island (near Navarre Beach) that is supposed to have a snorkling area on the Sound side. Haven't been so I can't say, but the ecology of the Sound is pretty consistent so I don't know what they'd have over there that P'cola Beach doesn't have.

    As you can see, it depends on what you're after. If you want snorkling like in the Caribbean, the Keys, or Hawaii, save space and hassle and leave your gear at home. If you're curious about what hides amongst the seagrasses or like cruising along looking for shells, bring it.

    Whichever, please, pay attention to the warning flag system we have here. Rip currents have been a big problem all along the upper Gulf coast the past two years, but the people who get in trouble are those who go in when the red flag is up. People tend to underestimate the Gulf because it's not an ocean.

    Have a great trip.

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