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Should you try night snorkelling in Vanuatu?

While snorkelling is undoubtedly on the itinerary for any Vanuatu holiday, you've probably only thought about snorkelling during the day. After all, daytime is when you can actually see the brightly coloured marine life of Vanuatu's oceans.

However, the coral reef is an entirely different place in the darker hours. For an exciting twist to a common holiday activity, try snorkelling at night.


It's best to go night snorkelling in a place that you have already snorkelled at during the day. Not only does this mean you'll know the area better, it also means you'll better appreciate the difference between night and day on the reef. When you're cruising through a reef in the dark you'll be completely shocked - just a few hours ago there were hundreds upon hundreds of fish, whereas now the reef almost seems deserted.

But a second, closer look will show you creatures you've never seen exploring the reef during the day. Lobsters, octopuses, even the occasional manta ray are all animals that are more likely to make appearances at night. Coral polyps, which are closed during the day, also open at night, giving the reef a significantly different look.

Light at night 

As most people are used to swimming during the day, when they have a clearer view of what's happening underwater, swimming at night can be unnerving. Once you get used to the idea of it, however, night snorkelling can be one of the most fun things you'll do on your holiday.

Because of this, recommends going on your first snorkel somewhere where you can still see lights on land when you surface. Vanuatu's Hideaway Island offers a night time snorkelling experience, complete with a satisfying barbecue when you're back on land. As you snorkel, you'll be able to see the lights from the island - and when your head's out of water, maybe even smell dinner!

At Hideaway Island, you'll be taken out to the reef at around dusk and not at nightfall. This is important for a few reasons. Firstly, you'll feel less disoriented if you're in the water when it's still light out. Secondly, as the reef's daytime inhabitants get ready for bed, you'll see a lot of unique animal behaviour, like courtship rituals, that you wouldn't normally see during the day.

As you can probably imagine, your flashlight will be your greatest underwater ally. This said, don't be afraid to turn it off every now and then. If it's a clear night, and on a paradise like Vanuatu it usually is, you'll have plenty of moonlight to illuminate your way.