Never Do These 3 Things When Snorkeling in Bora Bora's Coral Gardens

Snorkeling in Bora Bora is a dream come true for many adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts. The crystal-clear waters of this paradise island offer a mesmerizing underwater world filled with vibrant coral gardens and exotic marine life. However, to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience, there are certain precautions you must take. In this article, we will discuss three crucial things you should never do when snorkeling in Bora Bora’s coral gardens.

underwater-Snorkeling in Bora BoraNever Touch or Disturb the Coral Reefs

One of the most common mistakes made by inexperienced snorkelers is touching or disturbing the delicate coral reefs. Bora Bora’s coral gardens are a fragile ecosystem that plays a vital role in maintaining the balance of marine life. Corals are living organisms, and even the slightest touch can harm them. When snorkeling, it’s essential to maintain a safe distance from the coral formations and avoid any physical contact.


Coral reefs are not only beautiful to look at, but they also provide a habitat for countless marine species. Fish, mollusks, and other creatures rely on the coral for shelter and food. When you touch or break coral, you disrupt this delicate ecosystem, potentially harming the marine life that depends on it.


In addition to the environmental impact, touching coral can also be hazardous to your safety. Some coral species have sharp edges or contain toxins that can cause skin irritation or more severe injuries. So, when snorkeling in Bora Bora, always remember to admire the coral reefs from a respectful distance and never attempt to touch or disturb them.

To fully appreciate the importance of not touching or disturbing coral reefs, let’s delve into the reasons behind this rule in more detail:

Preservation of Coral Ecosystem: Coral reefs are often referred to as the rainforests of the sea due to their incredible biodiversity. They provide a home to an astonishing variety of marine life, including fish, sea turtles, and countless invertebrates. By refraining from touching or disturbing coral, you contribute to the preservation of this precious ecosystem.


Coral Bleaching Prevention: Coral reefs are susceptible to a phenomenon known as coral bleaching, which occurs when corals expel the symbiotic algae living in their tissues due to stress from factors like rising water temperatures. Physical contact with coral can cause stress and further contribute to coral bleaching. Protecting these fragile organisms is crucial to combating the devastating effects of coral bleaching.


Personal Safety: In addition to protecting the environment, avoiding contact with coral is essential for your safety. As mentioned earlier, some coral species have sharp edges that can cause cuts, and certain corals contain toxins that may lead to skin irritation or more severe health issues. Snorkeling should be a safe and enjoyable experience, and following this rule ensures just that.

stingray-Snorkeling in Bora BoraNever Feed the Fish

Feeding fish while snorkeling might seem like a harmless and fun activity, but it can have detrimental consequences for the marine environment in Bora Bora. When you feed fish, you disrupt their natural feeding patterns and create an imbalance in the ecosystem. Fish become reliant on handouts from snorkelers, which can lead to a decline in their health and population.


Furthermore, the food provided by snorkelers is often not the appropriate diet for the fish, and it can harm their digestive systems. Human food can be difficult for marine creatures to process, leading to various health issues among the fish population.


Feeding fish can also lead to aggressive behavior, as they compete for the food you provide. This can result in injuries to both the fish and snorkelers. To preserve the natural balance of Bora Bora’s marine life, resist the temptation to feed fish and allow them to thrive on their natural diet.

Let’s explore the reasons why feeding fish is discouraged and the potential consequences:

Disturbance of Natural Behavior: When fish become accustomed to being fed by humans, their natural foraging behaviors are disrupted. This can lead to a decline in their ability to find food on their own, making them dependent on handouts. Ultimately, this can lead to malnutrition and reduced fitness among the fish population.


Dietary Health Issues: The food typically offered by snorkelers, such as bread crumbs or other human snacks, is not nutritionally suitable for marine life. Feeding fish inappropriate food can lead to digestive problems and malnutrition. A balanced diet is essential for the overall health of fish and other marine creatures.


Aggressive Behavior: Competition for the food provided by snorkelers can result in aggressive behavior among fish. This not only disrupts the peaceful underwater environment but can also lead to injuries, both for the fish themselves and for snorkelers caught amid such confrontations.


By refraining from feeding fish during your snorkeling adventures, you contribute to maintaining the natural behaviors, health, and harmony of the marine ecosystem in Bora Bora.

Never Remove Marine Life from the Water

Another critical guideline for responsible snorkeling in Bora Bora is to never remove marine life from the water. Whether it’s a beautiful seashell, a colorful piece of coral, or an interesting creature you come across, resist the urge to take it with you as a souvenir. Removing marine life from its natural habitat can have severe consequences.


Taking shells, coral, or living organisms like sea stars or sea urchins disrupts the fragile balance of the ecosystem. These items serve as homes or food sources for various marine creatures. When you remove them, you deprive these creatures of their natural habitat, which can ultimately harm the entire marine ecosystem.


Additionally, certain marine organisms can be harmful or even dangerous to handle. Some species have toxins or spines that can cause injuries or health problems if touched. To ensure your safety and protect the marine environment, leave everything as you found it and enjoy the beauty of Bora Bora’s underwater world without disrupting it.

Let’s delve deeper into the reasons why removing marine life from the water is discouraged:

Habitat Destruction: Many marine organisms, such as seashells and coral, serve as crucial habitats for other marine species. For example, hermit crabs use discarded shells for protection, and small fish seek refuge in coral formations. Removing these elements disrupts the homes and shelters of various marine creatures, leaving them vulnerable to predators.


Impact on Biodiversity: Removing marine life from its natural habitat can lead to a decrease in biodiversity. When creatures lose their homes or food sources, it can disrupt the entire food chain and negatively impact the overall health of the ecosystem.


Legal and Ethical Concerns: In many places, including Bora Bora, it is illegal to collect or remove marine life from the ocean. Engaging in such activities can result in fines or other legal consequences. Furthermore, it is an ethical responsibility to respect the environment and the creatures that call it home.


Snorkeling in Bora Bora’s coral gardens is a breathtaking experience that allows you to connect with the wonders of the ocean. However, it comes with a responsibility to protect and preserve the fragile marine ecosystem that makes this destination so extraordinary. By following these three essential guidelines – never touching or disturbing coral reefs, refraining from feeding fish, and never removing marine life from the water – you can ensure a safe and sustainable snorkeling adventure in Bora Bora.


Remember that responsible snorkeling not only safeguards the environment but also ensures that future generations can continue to enjoy the beauty of Bora Bora’s underwater world. Let’s do our part to protect this precious natural treasure.


If you’re planning a snorkeling adventure in Bora Bora or any other exotic destination, consider booking your trip with Far and Away Adventures.

Our Top FAQ's

Yes, Bora Bora offers calm and clear waters, making it suitable for beginners with proper guidance.

The ideal time is from May to October when the water is calm, and visibility is excellent.

Most tour operators provide snorkeling gear, but bringing your mask and snorkel for comfort is recommended.

Yes, Bora Bora offers shark-feeding tours where you can safely observe and even swim with sharks.

Age restrictions vary, but many tours are suitable for children aged 8 and older, with adult supervision.

Avoid touching or standing on coral, maintain a safe distance, and never remove or collect marine life.

Wear a swimsuit, sunscreen, and a rash guard for sun protection. Don’t forget a hat and sunglasses.

Yes, many tours offer the opportunity to swim with and observe manta rays in their natural habitat.

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