Having snorkelled our way up the east coast of Queensland, we headed back to Heron Island. If you missed our first visit, check out the blog here.
Some photos around the island.
Our accommodation was once again private and secluded, nestled amongst the bush.
We had a pair of grey egrets building their nest in front of our room.
They worked constantly, rarely leaving the nest unattended. But one day they did leave and a white egret came and started tossing their twigs out of the nest.
When the couple arrived home, they started work again collecting twigs. It was fascinating to watch.
Other birds nesting on the island were the White Capped Noddies. They flew in large flocks over the reef during the day feeding on fish.
Crested Terns are also common on the island.
Snorkelling from the shore.
It is possible to snorkel from the shore anywhere on Heron Island; that’s one reason we have come back here. The water is crystal clear and warm.
These fish had us puzzled. At first we thought there were white tennis balls floating on that surface of the water, then realised they were fish with their mouths out of the water. Not dead fish, very much alive fish.
Then they started jumping out of the water. There is one just behind Tim. Often from the shore we had seen fish jumping; it was quite common. Not sure why they do it.
Other things we saw while snorkelling around the island.
The Epaulette Shark can walk on the coral out of water at low tide. These two were swimming. One was trying to hide.
The turtle cleaning station is always busy, with so many turtles lined up to be cleaned. This one was not in a hurry to leave.
This beautiful Tessalate / Lace Moray Eel didn’t like the intrusion.
When coming back to shore I swam up an inlet and came across nine black tipped reef sharks. The only way out was past me. I was so excited and wanted them to hang around but they seemed in a hurry to leave.
The most deadly creature here is this little cone shell snail. They are quite small: I could easily hold 4 in my hand. The animal inside injects a type of neurotoxin and the longest you can hope to survive after being injected is 10 minutes. There is no anti venom. The good thing is they only attack if you pick them up. So the rule on a reef is ‘look, but don’t touch’. Having said that, the Marine Biologist on the island said she has only ever seen one in 3 years working here. There are many similar looking ones around.
From the jetty.
The lovely thing about Heron Island is that even if you don’t want to snorkel or dive, you can still enjoy watching the marine life. Large schools of fish gather around the jetty. These are photos taken from the jetty.
Each day we tried to spot this large Shovelnose Ray who hung around the jetty.
Snorkelling from the boat.
The dive boat goes to the outside of Heron Reef three times a day, taking snorkelers and divers. During busy times two boats go out. While in the water the divers have a guide and snorkelers have a separate guide, plus the skipper stays on the boat with one other staff to help keep track of everyone in the water. The staff are professional, friendly and knowledgeable about the reef. We always feel very safe here.
There are a number of places the dive boat goes depending on tide and wind direction. All of them are great for snorkelers and divers. We visited four sites this time: Pam’s Point, Gorgonia Hole, Hole in the Wall and Blue Pools.
These Flutenose and Trumpet Fish are difficult to spot and more difficult to film. The yellow Trumpet fish are easier to spot.
Hole in the Wall
This Bat Fish was huge, but apparently they grow twice this big.
Cheers til next time, Helen & Tim