Snoopy Island (yes, named after the cartoon dog it resembles) juts proudly out of the Indian Ocean just a few hundred metres from the shore. You’re more likely to come face to face with a shark at Snoopy Island than at Shark Island, some 25 km down the coast – or so I’m told. That seemed like interesting news at the time... right up until the moment I pull on my snorkel, mask and flippers, ready to swim out to the strangely shaped isle. For some reason, I can’t seem to get the Jaws theme tune out of my head.
In reality, I’d be tremendously lucky to spot even a small reef shark during my snorkelling trip – anything more dangerous would have taken a serious wrong turn. The reef that surrounds the island is an occasional visiting spot for rays and turtles, too, though it’s a while before I can make out any sea life thanks to poor visibility due to an oil slick covering the surface of the water – an occasional hazard caused by the nearby port.
Yet as soon as the sandy sea bed beneath me is replaced by reef, I’m encircled by dozens of colourful, fearless fish bouncing around in waters that can get quite choppy. During my hour-long swim I also spot spiny urchins, which I’m careful not to step on, and even a large cuttlefish, but my finned friends prove elusive.
Keen snorkellers (guests and non-guests) can hire equipment from Sandy Beach Hotel (see 'Stay', below) for £10 per day, while those who don’t fancy swimming out to the island can hire a two-person kayak (£12 for 45 minutes) and paddle out to the beach side of the island, before taking turns to hop on and off for a peek into the blue.