Snorkeling Algotlcm 66Snorkeling Algotlcm 66

Snorkelling trip in the calanques

Looking for an original way to discover the seabed? Snorkelling allows you to go snorkelling in several spots in the Calanques National Park. Climb aboard and embark on this aquatic experience!

Published on 29 June 2023
Microsoftteams Image 10Microsoftteams Image 10
©Microsoftteams Image 10
William Giordani
  • Marseille in 3 words

    Surprising, bright and warm

  • My favourite neighbourhood

    The cove of Malmousque and its little port, where you can spend quiet afternoons in the sun!


Start of the adventure

Arrival at the dive centre

The meeting point for this morning’s snorkelling is the dive centre at Pointe-Rouge at 8.30 am. Some of you may be wondering what snorkelling is, as I was the first time I heard the word. It’s a form of water activity, during which, equipped with a mask, snorkel and flippers, you can admire the surface of the seabed and discover all its curiosities. Once our little group of 7 had arrived at the centre, our guide Didier gave us details of the Calanques national Park and all the islands and places that make it up. Afterwards, Didier gives us more information about our destination for the day, which is chosen according to the weather and wind conditions. Today, our playground will be the Frioul Islands, and more specifically the island of Pomègues.

Let’s get geared up!

Once we’ve been briefed and collected our equipment (wetsuit, fins, mask and snorkel), it’s off to the changing rooms! Putting on the wetsuit is no mean feat, but it’s perhaps the only ‘difficult’ aspect of this activity. Once everyone has been fitted out and our gear stowed in the lockers, we meet up in front of the boats in the Pointe-Rouge harbour: it’s time to board!

Heading for the island of Frioul

Cap Caveau

The mistral is blowing quite hard this morning, so our destination for the day will be Cap Caveau, located at the back of Ile Pomègues and sheltered from the wind. After a twenty-minute boat ride, we drop anchor in this magnificent spot.

Didier tells us a little more about the Frioul archipelago, which was used as a quarantine centre during the great plague of 1720, and points out that in the area where we are now, we can find pottery that was thrown into the sea during this period, because it was infected by the plague. Now it’s time to get into the water, so everyone dons their masks and flippers, and off we go! Some members of the group dive in head first, others go at their own pace, everyone doing as they please. Throughout the snorkelling trip, our guide provides a buoy to hold on to and rest on.

In just two minutes in the water, we can already admire small schools of fish and marine flora. Everyone went their own way, but Didier called us back a few times to gather around him to show us a starfish he had found on the seabed. He explains how it feeds and lets us touch it in turn, before putting it back gently in its original place, as we don’t want to disturb the local fauna! He then shows us a sea urchin, explains its defence mechanism and how it feeds, and above all points out that sea urchin fishing is increasingly regulated because they are victims of overfishing, particularly due to overconsumption. We’ve been in the water for almost an hour now, but we’re going to continue our walk to another spot, not far from where we stopped.

The Cambrettes cove

Called by Didier the “swimming pool of Frioul”, this splendid cove surrounded by white rocks gives way to a new marine environment! There are new fish and seaweed to be seen, and he even introduces us to a species I didn’t know at all: the sea cucumber, which I’ll let you discover when you do this activity! This kind of place reminds us that it’s important not to leave rubbish lying around, especially when the mistral is blowing, as it can quickly end up in the sea and tarnish the Calanques National Park.

After about fifteen minutes in this magnificent calanque, it was time to return to the boat. With the mistral at our back this time, the return journey was less hectic and we were able to enjoy it in better conditions and admire the panoramic view over the whole of Marseille.


Back to dry land

Certified aquatic hiker!

Back at the port of Pointe-Rouge, we all get off our boat and set foot on dry land. After three hours at sea, the first steps on the ground are quite destabilizing! Head for the hot showers to rinse off some of that sea salt, and to be able to take off our wetsuits, which are easier to take off than to put on. Everyone collects their things, changes and we then meet in the relaxation area outside for a debriefing with Didier.

Everyone takes stock of the different fish they encountered during our getaway, and that’s when we notice that we missed tons of species of fish and other molluscs or crustaceans, which makes you want to come back for a next trip to a new place! Didier then gives each of us a responsible aquatic hiker certificate, so that we can keep a souvenir of this moment and have a little glimpse of other possible snorkeling spots.

The huge advantage of snorkeling is that it requires almost no prerequisites, other than knowing a minimum of swimming. The suit allows you to float effortlessly and you can move very easily thanks to the fins. It is therefore an activity which can be carried out by both children (from 7 years old) and adults, and there is no need to be an expert in swimming or diving to make the most of it. If you want to discover the seabed while enjoying the incredible setting of the Parc National des Calanques, then this activity is for you!

Official website of the Tourist Office of Marseille