To Heron Island

Gladstone‘s not too bad. I imagined that it would be much smaller and not have anything in the way of restaurants. It was very hot though. We found a nice restaurant down the road from our hotel and had pizza, chips (fries), and wine.

Yesterday, we took a helicopter to Heron Island. I thought it would be about as far from shore as Catalina, but it’s got to be twice that far at least. The flight was really cool. We didn’t go straight to the island, but instead flew over several other corral cays and reefs along the way as our pilot pointed out features.

After arriving, we got checked in, took a brief tour, and were shown our room (which is great). It’s not extravagant, but it has everything we need and is quite comfortable (although, A/C would be nice today). We had lunch and then registered for snorkeling.

We found our way down to “Shark Bay” on the far side of the island and waded in. The tide was coming in, and it was just getting deep enough to swim. After a few minutes, we saw our first ray, and then some sharks. Most of them weren’t very big — maybe 3-4 ft., but a couple might have been a little larger than that. I’m really not sure. It’s hard to judge sizes above or below water. It was a little weird to be swimming with sharks, but they left us alone, and we left them alone. We swam some more out to the coral and found some pretty cool fish. One was white with brown horizontal lines that would be good camoflage in those waters. After our swim, we got changed and walked around to take pictures and waited for the sun to set. Dinner is by reservation, ours was at 8:00 — not long after sunset.

After dinner, we headed out to the helipad for star watching. Unfortunately, it had been canceled due to the weather (it was a bit hazy). A few stars were visible, but the haze really scattered the moonlight and made it hard to see anything. We did manage to find a few turtles that had come ashore to lay eggs, but it was too dark to really see what was going on.