Heron Island is home to over twenty excellent dive sites, most of which are within a few minutes of the jetty. Unsurprisingly, all of the spots are tightly regulated for the preservation of the reef. So you can’t get yourself into too much trouble when you’re there. This is good news for those who are new to diving, or those who are not too fond of finding themselves in tight spots. If you’re looking for a place to take risks in, you’re better off gambling at Gladstone.
If you’re planning a diving trip to the Heron Islands, here’s what you should know.
All the island’s dives are organized by the Marine Center, where you can book dives and hire gear. You can enjoy three dives a day. Plus, three times a week you can do four dives in a day plus a night dive, as long as there are enough people interested in the night dive.
The dive sites in the area are all located in a marine park. This means there are moorings that keep you safe and better organized in the water. Some of the best dive sites include:
Heron Bommie, the haunt of eagle and manta rays, damsel fish, wobbegongs, banded pipefish, reef sharks etc., Pams Point, where you may find reef sharks, batfish, nudibranchs and other colorful reef fish. Gorgonia Hole, which offers plenty of crevices in which to find hiding hawksbill, green loggerhead, painted crayfish and even turtles. Other dive sites that deserve mention include Coral Cascades, Tenements, 3 Rocks, Turtle Gully and North Bommie.
If you’re there only for diving, it’s a good idea to check out the accommodation that diving packages offer. You’ll need a terrace or balcony to dry out your gear. But Heron Island in general has a variety of accommodation options, ranging from beachside huts to rooms, all of them well-appointed.
Before you dive, there are some safety regulations you must follow.
You must be medically fit to dive, and Australia diving safety rules are strict. So even if you’ve gone diving in Canada with asthma, you may not be allowed in Australia. You’ll need to get an AS 4005.1 form filled out by an accredited Queensland physician, to submit to the Marine Centre. You’ll also need to show a C’ card when you check in, and compulsorily use a timing device, BCD, alternate air source and regulator with depth and pressure gauge. If you’re flying in via helicopter or a fixed wing airplane, you can’t dive for 24 hours of arrival. There’s also a warning out against diving in the boat channel or harbor between 8 am and 5.30 pm.
If you want to learn diving, you can do so at one of the many PADI courses on the island. The Discover Scuba Diving course ($199 AUD) includes pool and classroom sessions for beginners over 12 years. Follow Up dives ($160 AUD), PADI Open Water and Advanced Open Water courses are also available. You can save time by completing the theory online with the Elearning course, and finishing it up at the island when you get there.
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