Thursday, March 27, 2008

Heron Island

Heron Island is on the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef. The island has only one resort and on top of the diving around the island it's also a bird sanctuary. We expected a quiet tranquil island and little did we know what was coming.

The island is surrounded by beautiful white sand and it's a hatching ground for sea turtles. Too bad we didn't catch any hatching this time but we did see a nest with sand moving on the top. We waited for over an hour and still no signs of little turtles though. :-(

Birds are everywhere on the island and they are very very noisy 24/7. You could definitely smell them too and I was a little worried about bird flu to be honest.
One of the beaches is full of rays, gracefully gliding in the shallow water.

You definitely have to watch where you are going before you jump in.

Since it rained and rained with gale force winds blowing all week we amused ourselves with bird watching. An Eastern Reef Egret.

Bar Shouldered Dove.

I believe this is a heron....rather nasty creature. This particular one pecked at a little chick.

The infamous Mutton Bird. There are about 20,000 to 30,000 of them on the island. They return to their nests in the evening and begin to cry all night. The spooky cries sound like a sheep being strangled...very freaky and very Hitchcock .
Black Noddy Tern - there are close to 120,000 of them on the island. They were everywhere. This one is regurgitating food to its chick.

A Noddy Tern chick.

They all seem oblivious of human.
Our chopper ride out. I was very nervous because of the strong wind.

Another island and reef nearby.

I think we will stick with the South Pacific islands next time. Heron (and other Australian beach resorts) is expensive for what you get. While our room was comfortable we didn't really feel pampered; the service was very mediocre and food was average. Despite being the only resort on the island we didn't feel alone....we were constantly surrounded by kids and people. All in all it was very average and we will think twice about visiting other GBR places.

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