Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Heron Island: swimming adventure where sharks are part of the scenery

Heron Island is a coral cay located 72 kilometres off the mining port of Gladstone in North Queensland. It is a national park on the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef that also accommodates a research centre and a resort for 200 guests.

I was there a couple of weeks ago with around 150 mad ocean swimmers, who got the opportunity to swim 3km around the island.

During our stay, we also swam with sharks, rays and turtles. Yikes! Sharks!

I never thought I would calmly observe a shark as it glided underneath me but I did. And it was the most amazing experience. Heron's sharks are predominantly the black tipped and white tipped reef variety. I also saw a lemon shark, which has a fatter body.

The reef sharks are long and sinuous and can look rather scary, especially when you see their fin slicing through the water. But these sharks aren't the least bit interested in biting humans for a taste and there has never been an incident involving humans and sharks on the island.

Below are some happy snaps of my holiday. More to come - with more of a story about the trip.

The wreck that greets visitors on their approach to the island.

Every island has to have a sunset.

The rays hang out near the shore.

The black object is a shark.

Bait fish.

The gantry.

No comments: