※ You want to see this article in Korean? Click here.
It was snorkeling that I was excited about the trip to Saipan for the first. At the same time, It required a lot of stamina. I planned to do the first snorkeling in Grotto and the second in Managaha, but I didn't. The reason why I didn't snorkel on Managaha Island, where anyone would visit, was because I snorkeled in East Bay instead. And I was very satisfied with my choice.
Notes Before snorkeling
1. You need a guide to keep you safe.
Snorkeling is the most popular maritime activity, and can be enjoyed without having to be a swimming or diving veteran. With just one snorkeling device and a life jacket, people who are not familiar with water can float on the water and peep into the sea. Of course, you should be familiar with safety guidelines, and you need to be prepared for any eventuality. Beginners who are not familiar with water are not likely to be familiar with such safety, so it's better to snorkel with a team with the person who is responsible for your safety. In particular, such safety guards are essential in areas where the environment itself is rough (such as rough waves or deep sea).
▶ I wrote the contents "How to make a reservation for snorkeling with the guard" under article.
2. It is a matter of choice, but you should recognize the sun screen that you put on can kill coral.
After realizing that sunscreen components were deadly to coral, I snorkelled without sunscreen. I will summarize the details of this at the bottom of this writing. I thought this article would be a cosmetic story, not a travel story, so I put it at the bottom of the story.
3. Never snorkeling by yourself
It is safe to snorkle in places where there are many people. In case of an accident, you should be able to get help. In places where the current is strong or the waves are rough, even veterans can find it difficult to support themselves. Make sure to check for being safety guards and snorkels in these places.
4. Snorkeling requires more strength than you think.
It is also good to prepare sweet foods to eat after snorkeling. M
5. Avoid feeding the fish you encounter during snorkeling.
When you bring meal for fish and go into the water, many fish gather, but this method has a bad effect on the sea. It not only pollutes the area of entry but also reduces the number of natural feeding activities of fish.
- Address: Grotto Dr, Saipan 96950, CNMI
- Hours: 10AM–5PM
Upon arriving at the hotel early in the morning, I set off for Grotto Cave, forcing myself to stay awake. When I arrived at Grotto Cave, I really felt that I had come to Saipan for a trip and could not hide my excitement.
When I planned this trip, the most curious thing about the trip was the cobalt water in Grotto Cave. When many people plan their trip to Saipan, Managaha island is the first place to visit. But I wasn't interested in snorkeling on the shallow beaches of the white sand. I wanted to explore deep water though I couldn’t swim. And I thought Grotto Cave would be the best place to experience deep water.
Snorkeling in grotto caves is not personally possible. At the entrance to the Grotto Cave (+parking grounds), there were guards, who blocked personal approach. The reason was simple: Safety problems. Grotto Cave is a place where waves are strong and water changes frequently, so only teams with safety guides could enter and enjoy snorkeling or diving. Guards don't restrain individuals if they're just looking. But if you're going to enter by yourself with snorkeling equipment, the guards will come running and talk to you. "Are you here alone? Do you have a guide?" In fact, I have witnessed this situation several times. I have translated between a Korean and a guard who is not good at English. Among them, I translated for a Korean who couldn't speak English.
Enter at own risk
Guided access recommended
Use extreme caution
Conditions change rapidly
Grotto Cave, where the road and the water were rough
The accessibility of Grotto caves is bad, as people used to go down a rope a long time ago. There are stairs now, but the slope is still steep and the road is rough. So I had to free my hands when I went down here. The snorkeling gear hung on my arm, I let my hands free in case of emergency, and then slowly went down. As I neared the Grotto cave, I could hear the sound of strong waves. I couldn't help but wonder how big the waves were down there. I was wondering if I could snorkel there. But when I saw so many people floating on the water, I made up my mind that I could do it too. Once again, the excitement of the Saipan trip came in.
As you can see in the picture above, people either enter or rest at the place where people are standing. From this rock to the place where I took my picture, the waves were so strong that even the locals were reeling from the waves. Waves are very common to locals. Nevertheless, the waves here have made them reeling, too. Travelers who visit to snorkel moved to that rock with the help of locals.
Grotto was really deep. It was completely different from snorkeling in shallow places. I had to save those images in my memory because there was no camera at the time. To describe snorkeling in Grotto without pics,
1. I could see blue and dark water, like the video you can see in an ad saying, "Our TV is so super high-definition." No, more than that, it gave off a clear, deep blue glow. The beautiful cobalt-colored water that Grotto Cave shows was more than I had imagined, and there was no way to express it except to say that it was marvelous.
2. If you look closely at the picture above, you will see a very deep blue light through the huge cave crevices in the middle of the picture. If you move to that place, you can see the mysterious blue sea with your own eyes. It was so beautiful that I could’t describe my feeling into words.
The water in Grotto Cave was so clear and deep that it made me feel as if I were floating in a very high sky. It was amazing to see with my own eyes such deep water. Snorkeling in shallow places may be better just to see fish. But if you want to enjoy the beautiful deep sea and fish at the same time, Grotto Cave is the best.
The reason why Grotto Caves emit a particularly clear light
Grotto Cave is full of mysterious blue light. This is because Grotto's undersea cave is connected to the sea on the other side.
- Address: Saipan 96950, CNMI (Click to view the Google Map)
- NOTE: There is a private property on the way to East Bay, which may restrict personal entrance on the move.
Another snorkeling point was East Bay. This place is not very well known in Korea. In Saipan, Managaha Island, Grotto Cave and Forbidden Island are known as the snorkeling points. But people were not easily able to get information about East Bay. I learned about this area through the snorkeling team I booked. Originally I was going to snorkel in Grotto Cave and then on Managaha Island the next day, but I changed my plan.
“You have to go there. It's really pretty there. It's an area that people don't know much about, and it's hard for individuals to snorkel. It's a private property, so you might not be able to enter. But it's really beautiful there because the water is clear and the ocean is open. Don't worry, we can get in there."
The way to East Bay
The road to East Bay was quite a long way off. Saipan Island itself is not wide, so if you say it's this far, People can think it's weird. As we ran for a long time to reach East Bay, we could see what the power of Saipan's typhoon was like last year. The thick trees were bent and plucked. The beach was not visible because the forest was dense before, but now the beach looks pretty like the pictures. It is said that the typhoon has cleared a lot of trees. Considering that the World Resort's water park facilities are still being repaired, the typhoon must have been more powerful than I thought
I arrived at East Bay and got in with only snorkeling equipment. Like the pictures above, East Bay was ridiculously pretty and green. The problem was that the only way to get it was to jump. When you get out of, you climb up a ladder, but when you get it, jumping was the least dangerous way. Because the waves are quite high here, the ladder is often shaken, so it is better to follow the instructions of the person in charge.
Unlike the Grotto cave, which glowed deep and deep blue, East Bay was colored with a clear emerald color, and I could see the fish playing in the shallow sea. I drank the previous day and had not enough sleep, Snorkeling in East Bay made me tired easily. So I sometimes ate some sea water due to breathing mistakes. But the peace in the East Bay water, the fish playing hide-and-seek with each other in it, and the slow crawling underwater creatures kept me in the water even when I was tired.
"Now, we're going to meet Nemo!“
I followed the guide diligently and moved to a good point for snorkeling. When we were floating on the surface of the water, he went down to the water and beckoned us what we had to see. There, we found Nemo, which called Clown Fish, because he has a clown pattern. Of course, besides Nemo, I could see many sea creatures.
After snorkeling in East Bay
We were back in the car after the schedule. When I saw a my guide pouring water from a large bottled water container on top of the car, I quickly rinsed out the sea water from my body. You can rinse your hair, face, and body with bottled water and wipe it with a towel. If you don't do this, your skin can get sore.
After snorkling in the water, it was good better to eat sweets," a staff member said, throwing ripe oranges at customers one by one. It was very sweet and delicious because orange was in season in Saipan.
We packed our bags and got into the car. While traveling in a car to take us to each destination, there was a place where you realized that Saipan was a great place to do the drive. It's the place in the picture right up there! Saipan is a place where you can drive over the gems of the sea. thanks to the beautiful sea, it is a good place to drive.
♠ How to booke snorkling at Grotto cave and East bay
You can book snorkeling here. This is a page searched in Korean, but at the time of the trip, both Korean and English are provided. Therefore, you can pay for the reservation in Korean and Korean money and receive a guide in English at the time of the trip. If you check the URL below with Google Chrome, you can book in English using Google Translator.
- Page for Reservation -
1. PAGE for Saipan Grotto Snorkeling & Northern Tours
If you book a snorkeling product here, you can get an additional northern tour. After snorkeling, you can go to the North to see the wonderful nature of the Bird Island and Banzai Cliff.
2. PAGE for Saipan East Bay Cliff Diving & Snorkeling
You can snorkel with a guide here. The product page description says guide in Korean, but you can also get guide in English.
Let's Live with Nature!
Non-Chemical Sunscreen vs. Chemical Sunscreen
The sunscreen is divided into non-chemical sunscreen and chemical sunscreen. Non-chemical sunscreen is a way that physical sunscreen reflects ultraviolet light, and chemical sunscreen absorbs ultraviolet light. The components of non-chemical sunscreen are minerals, which can be said to be very microscopic forms of stone dust. Although there were many products that were clearly divided between the chemical and non-chemical products long ago, there are many sunscreen products that combine these ingredients to maximize the benefits. For example, if you want to get rid of white cast while increasing the SPF or PA index, it is advantageous to have a lot of chemical ingredients. However, if the eye irritation caused by chemical compounds is inconvenient, non-conventional components may be mixed to compensate for the inconvenience. In other words, while the latest sunscreen has many 100% chemical sunscreens, it is often made by mixing non-chemical and chemical ingredients to make sure of its use and function.
Most of my favorite sunscreen components are chemical. The problem is that the ingredients of this chemical sunscreen are very lethal to coral. So the my staff(my guides) encouraged customers not to use sunscreen during snorkeling. Of course it was recommended and optional, but I snorkeled without sunscreen. They said 100 percent non-chemical sunscreen is not a problem for coral. But I hate the feeling of using 100% non-chemical sunscreen.
Octinoxate and oxybenzone, known to be deadly to coral.
Personally, I care more about the plus of PA than the SPF index, and in that respect, I prefer the chemical sunscreen. Even the filter capacity of sunscreen is unknown when purchasing a product, so I tend to buy it by referring to these ingredients, and I prefer products with avovenzone. In order to enhance the stability of the avovenzone, ingredients such as oxyvenzone are often used together, which also stabilizes UVA blocking capability while enhancing the stability of the avovenzone. But this ingredient is a fatal blow to coral. However, rather than just these two components, most of the chemical components, as mentioned earlier, are highly harmful to aquatic life.
If you have to use sunscreen, Why don't you put this on like this?
If you want to use sunscreen during snorkeling, you can use 100% non-chemical sunscreen. If you're not sure, there are dedicated sunscreen for coral, so buying it is also a good idea. Of course, the best way would be using sunscreen after playing in the water.