The Blue Cobblestone Beach snorkel offers the opportunity to
explore an underwater environment that usually occurs further
offshore and in deeper waters. Ram Head Point protects the bay
from winds and waves leaving the reef in clear, calm water.
From the Salt Pond Bay Parking lot, take the short trail down
to the bay. Walk to the other end of beach and start out on
the Ram Head Trail, which begins as a shoreline walk along
the west side of the Ram Head Peninsula and take the trail
as far as the Blue Cobblestone Beach..
Enter the water at the north end of the beach near the large
black rocks. The bottom is cobblestone and getting into the
water is almost as easy as from a sandy beach.
Begin by snorkeling around the large rocks at the corner of
the beach. These rocks are encrusted with the mustard yellow
fire coral, which is very attractive but can give snorkelers
a mild sting if touched. There are also many colorful sponges
and various types of hard coral in this area.
As you continue north around the point, you will start to see
underwater channels known as spur and groove systems and the
fringing reef along the rocky coast gets larger, deeper and more
colorful. At the seaward edge of this reef is a channel of sand
about ten yards wide that separates the fringing reef from a
neighboring patch reef farther offshore. The patch reef is surrounded
by sand and lies in about twenty-five feet of water forming a
pinnacle, which rises to a depth of about six feet.
This area is full of life, diverse and colorful. To fully appreciate
it, the snorkeler should have the ability to pressurize and dive
down in order to explore the lower areas of the reef.
There is a good deal of fire coral encrustation, but true hard
coral varieties are also plentiful. Look for pillar, star, staghorn,
elkhorn and lettuce corals. Try to identify all the different
colors of sponges found here. Gorgonians, such as sea fans, sea
whips, sea rods and sea plumes grow on many sections of the reef
and sway gracefully with the currents.
This healthy reef community supports a diverse fish population
including grazing reef fish like parrotfish and blue tang and
fast swimming predators such as Spanish mackerel, yellowtail
snapper , blue runners, barracudas and tarpon.
On the fringing reef across the sand channel from the patch
reef is an area where the coral forms a ledge a few feet above
the sea bottom. Dive down and explore under the ledge to see
different species of coral and interesting marine life.