What is Muck Snorkeling?

Muck snorkeling is a really unique type of snorkeling. For many people it can be an acquired taste, like certain types of aged cheese. And just like someone who’s developed a pallet for Limburger cheese, for example, what once used to be a casual affair with muck snorkeling or something you would dismiss altogether, can quickly turn into an obsession.

Very typical ‘muck’ environment.

So what is muck snorkeling, well it’s basically the same as your tropical reef snorkeling, only muck snorkeling typically takes place in areas where there is more sand—usually black—and where an assortment of sponges and different types of algae grow. Reason being, this unique environment is one of the best types of environments—most likely due to the nutrient-rich volcanic sand—for finding some of the most unique and interesting creatures. Frogfish, nudibranchs, a vast assortment of crabs and shrimps, moray eels, stargazers, and some of the most ornate and interesting types of cephalopods (octopus, cuttlefish, and squids) can only be found in ‘mucky’ environments.

If you’ve never been muck snorkeling before, it can seem a bit strange when you first jump in, simply because it’s not your classical reef scene full of color. Floating over a black sandy substrate is not what people typically have in mind when they imagine a tropical snorkeling holiday. However, as I said, once you get in the zone and start finding these cool critters all by yourself, that dark sand punctuated by unusual colonies of sponges will quickly become a beautiful thing for you.

sun rays beaming over white sand and reef

About Author

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Alex Lindbloom
Alex is a Snorkel Venture and Dive Safari Asia guide as well as the video and photo pros for both companies. Alex is also a field editor for a popular underwater photography magazine. Prior to joining Snorkel Venture in 2018 Alex lived and worked all over the world working as an underwater cameraman, with five of those years living/working on a yacht in Indonesia. Alex's images and videos have garnered many international awards such as Underwater Photographer of the Year and can be seen on NatGeo, Discovery Channel, the UN Building, and various magazines.