Snorkelling Near Port Isaac – Summer 2018

The UK coastline is full of beautiful places to explore, both on land and in the waters. In this adventure, I am exploring part of the Cornish coast with a camera and a snorkel. So let’s go snorkelling near Port Isaac.

This year I have discovered the underwater world through snorkelling. A simple but fun activity that I have just fallen in love with. Swimming in the sea is something I have been building confidence with for a while now and by having a snorkel has developed my skills and confidence. As well as changed my perspective of the seas and their underwater world.

Most of our snorkelling has been at Exmouth in the estuary where we would see some small crabs, the odd jellyfish and a few other tiny fish. A few weeks ago I snorkeled at Lyme Regis for the first time and already I am looking to go back and snorkel around the beach more. In this blog post, we are heading off to North Cornwall, to go snorkelling near Port Isaac.

Round one – The Jellies

Now many of you will recognise Port Isaac from the TV series Doc Martin. Those little white cottages standing on the cliff side, this traditional fishing village is perfect for a wander around and to enjoy some fish and chips on the beach. However, if you look around the area to the other local beaches and coves you will find some great little spots to get into the water and have a different adventure.

We went to a nearby beach/cove next to Port Isaac that was pretty calm and looked relatively clear. There were a few families on the beach and some paddle boarders out exploring the cove too. Be sure to watch out for the tides and currents when heading into the sea, particularly if it is somewhere you’ve never been before. On this trip snorkelling near Port Isaac, we were in the water for around 1 and a half hours on a tide which was heading out. It was mid-afternoon, high tide was around an hour before so the sea level was still quite high but we had to watch out for the movement of the sea heading out of the cove.

Our first problem was the sunshine was deceiving. From the cliff tops the water looked pretty clear, but when getting into the water it was just full of seaweed floating around. Getting tangled in everything from our snorkels to the cameras. The next thing was the cove was full of jellyfish. Mostly Moon jellyfish but a few Blue jellyfish too. They were great to photograph as they were slow moving. Also added a splash of colour against the green waters. Just had to watch out for the jellies while swimming around.

All in all, it wasn’t our favourite snorkel as the visibility wasn’t great and we didn’t see much besides jellyfish and seaweed. We did enjoy the practice swimming with our fins and some photography practice for myself. Now we were hoping that our trip back there in a few weeks would be a bit better.

Related Cornwall Posts:

6 Days in Cornwall – Day to day itinerary of my trip to Cornwall in Sept 2017

Eden Project Day Trip – Join me as I explore the huge Cornish biomes

The Cornish Camel Trail – My short guide to a part of this lovely cycling adventure

Round Two – Swimming with a shoal

There was quite a condition change for snorkelling near Port Isaac round two. We went to the same nearby spot to the town but that lovely sun that was with us in round one had very much disappeared. Obviously, the one weekend we go family camping in August it decides to be the only rainy weekend that month! Either way, we made the most of the drizzly Saturday morning. The rain gave it a totally different atmosphere. I could hear the rain falling and feel it hitting my head but under the surface of the sea, it was completely quiet and peaceful. The rain made for some great grey moody photographs too.

This time the tide was still on its way out and it was around an hour from low tide. In my opinion, this was great as when I was snorkelling I was closer to the rocks, seaweeds and marine life swimming around. It was a whole different feeling, swimming through the seaweed and plants, getting close to the cliff sides made me feel so immersed in the surrounding area. Like a part of this other world.

I would advise to watch out and look up at the surface very often as when swimming it is easy to stray from your paths. Especially as it looks completely different underwater to when out of the water. On this trip, I got to take more photos in slightly more challenging lighting conditions as it was not as sunny and bright. This meant that I did not have as much light to get brightly coloured photos. On the other hand, I enjoy capturing the moment as it is. For my photography, it’s important to not paint it all in bright colours and make it unrealistic if that’s not what it was actually like.

The water was clearer this time due to there being less seaweed, there was quite a bit when entering the water but a few meters out it cleared into tones of green and blue. Visibility was better this time and there wasn’t a single jellyfish in sight! Instead, we swam with fishes. While practising snorkeling techniques I spotted some blue movement out the corner of my eye. Heading closer I discovered a whole shoal of little blue fish swimming around. There were hundreds of them. Quite a surreal moment as it was my first time seeing fishes when snorkelling.

The Cornish Coastline

Snorkelling near Port Isaac was a brilliant experience and the coves and beaches in that area I will be visiting again sometime to try a new spot. The whole coastline is full of amazing beaches to explore and gorgeous waters to swim in. I am soon heading to Perranporth for a surf and swim weekend. Another stunning spot on the North Coast along with the Newquay beaches, you’ll find loads of opportunities to swim and snorkel. You could go explore the south coast, including Falmouth, Lizard Point all the way up to the St Austell area. With hundreds of beaches to choose from you’ll find amazing spots to snorkel at.

Respect The Seas

However on a serious note, just remember to be vigilant at all times, preferably use a lifeguarded beach (particularly if you are just starting out on your snorkelling journeys) and respect the sea. It is a powerful thing, so know your tide times, look out for rip currents and be properly equipped when going into the sea. Even better might be to go with an organised tour, there are several snorkelling tours in Cornwall that would be able to show you some fab top snorkel spots and take you on an adventure you won’t forget. In all honesty, I haven’t had the chance to go on one of these tours, but it’s on my list to do!

So this was my trip snorkelling near Port Isaac. Do you have any favourite sports in Cornwall to head into the sea for a swim? Or somewhere else in the UK? Be sure to share them in the comments below.

If you want to see more of my underwater photography including photos from these trips have a look at my Instagram; @mindfuladvblog

See you next time and happy adventuring!

Jo x

If you liked this, please like and share!
Never miss any of my blog posts! Follow Mindful Adventures on Bloglovin

Pin Me for later!


  1. 20/08/2018 / 8:24 pm

    Wow! What an incredible experience Jo! I’ve never tried snorkelling but I’d love to someday. I just watched the video with the little fishes and found it so relaxing. There really is another world under the sea to explore! Thank you for sharing, really loved reading and looking at your photos 💖 xx

    Bexa |

    • Jo
      20/08/2018 / 10:35 pm

      The fishes were such an unexpected surprise! I agree they are very relaxing and peaceful to watch, it’s interesting to watch how they behave together all moving in sync. When you get your chance to have a go at snorkelling be sure to let me know how it goes, you’ll love every minute of seeing the underwater world. Thanks for reading 💜
      Jo x

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.