Snorkeling Boca Catalina By Boat Tour - Aruba

by Cary Bennett
(Roswell, GA)

Approaching the beach area by boat at Boca Catalina/Malmok Beach, stunning water!

Approaching the beach area by boat at Boca Catalina/Malmok Beach, stunning water!

Approaching the beach area by boat at Boca Catalina/Malmok Beach, stunning water! Me and the fishies!!! Incredible corals and fish! School of Yellowtail Goatfish

Day 5 - This day we went snorkeling by boat tour to Boca Catalina on Aruba. It was a cruise aboard a Trimaran, a first for me and a huge thrill! The owner and captain of the Octopus Watersports, Jethro Gesterkamp, has been sailing the Octopus for 28 years. It was originally built in Holland and sailed to Aruba by it’s owner at the time, so, it is a very sturdy and safe boat. This is a sail-powered sailboat; no motor, just the peace and quiet of the wind in the sails and the splash of the water.

The trip starts at the pier by the Holiday Inn (Bugaloe Beach Pier) and sails about 40 minutes north up the coast to a spot called Boca Catalina. It is an absolutely incredible spot for snorkeling! It is an area that is pretty well protected from the wind and the water is crystal clear. The depth is only about 10 – 12 feet, so, it is a great snorkeling depth.
Coral head with Christmas Tree Worms
We truly felt like we were swimming in a tropical fish bowl! The sheer abundance of fish was breathtaking. There were so many different kinds of fish. We saw French Angelfish, Wrasse, Damselfish, Yellowtail, Goatfish, Cowfish, Tang, a huge Trigger Fish, several kinds of Parrotfish, Butterfly Fish and even a Green Moray, to name only a few. The huge schools of fish were just incredible! The coral in this area was pretty healthy and the water was a bit warmer, owing to the shallower water depth, I am sure. This snorkeling spot is totally accessible from the beach and I am hoping that we will have time to come back by ourselves tomorrow and spend more time there.

Young Yellowtail Damselfish


I chose this trip for a couple of reasons; the fact that Jethro is geared toward smaller groups and Boca Catalina was on my list of places I wanted to snorkel. We lucked out, there were only 6 of us on board, and there were no other boats with snorkelers at Boca Catalina when we were there, so, we had the place to ourselves.

Important details: They charge $35/person for the shorter afternoon cruise, which lasts about 3 hours. Jethro provides an open bar, refreshments and some sandwiches of Gouda cheese on baguettes. I so loved the bread and cheese on the island!

Overall, I would highly recommend this trip! Jethro is a really great guy and an excellent captain and sailor. We really enjoyed his sidekick, J.J. (His son. Just adorable and so well mannered.) A great time and great way to see the island from the water!

Return to Day 3

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Comments for Snorkeling Boca Catalina By Boat Tour - Aruba

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Jun 28, 2013
From Shore Too!
by: Nicole & Galen

Thanks for this post. Sounds like it was a great experience. We want folks to know that you can access the snorkeling at Boca Catalina, Malmok Beach and Catalina Cove from shore on their own too.

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