Heron Island and Wistari Reef

By | October 28, 2018

After a calm night at anchor at North West Island we woke to glassy water and a blue sky. It was a short motor hop to Heron Island and Wistari Reef. Fortunately, the two moorings were free so with TIE and The Bossa securely attached, it was snorkel time, once again taking advantage of the midday low tides.

Heron Island and Wistari Reef are opposite each other, with a wide deep channel separating the two coral cays. This area is also a Green Zone which means fishing is prohibited. I saw lots of big fish … Coral Trout, Parrotfish, Cow-tail Rays and others I can’t even identify. The wreck at the Heron Island boat channel harboured many of these big fish (including a Blacktip Reef Shark). It really is a plus when you snorkel in a Marine Park Green Zone. The water was so clear and the coral colourful and varied … low tide and sunshine too!


My BIG fish photos …

From the boat wreck in the Heron Island boat channel and surrounding reef …

But it was what happened before we jumped in that we will remember Heron Island for.

As we motored towards our mooring buoy, I noticed some agitation in the water behind us. The movement was still there after we tied up but it was hard to identify what was playing near the surface even with the binos … not dolphins, not snorkelers, so maybe big fish feeding or maybe sharks?! We jumped in the dinghy (not water!) and were amazed to see several huge Manta Rays (maybe Giant Manta Rays) near the surface of the water gliding slowly down the channel.  Each Manta would have been over two-metres across (my Grant’s Bible tells me they can grow up to 6.7 metres in width). Mantas swim slowly and their ‘wings’ often break the surface of the water which is what we were seeing from a distance. These graceful giants came to us in the dinghy, with their great mouth open, so inquisitive.  We could see their white ‘horns’. My photos do not do this experience justice.  Sometimes it’s simply being there that matters.

We snorkeled at different reef locations this time, which meant over a sundowner we could share the day’s discoveries.  And did we have a special one to share!  We wished Take It Easy had been there, especially when Chris and Wade said they would have jumped in the water with them. Me?  Not so sure!

Next stop … Fitzroy Reef …



2 thoughts on “Heron Island and Wistari Reef

  1. Chris on Take It Easy

    Very jealous you saw the manta rays so close and yes we would have jumped in with them … plankton eaters, no nasty sting… they look so impressive!

    The fish you could not identify is a Slingjaw Wrasse and the spotty one is a Spotted Sweetlip, rather than a cod.

  2. Amanda

    Thanks Chris! I’ve found layout option you talked about so hoping my next post is more user-friendly for the email subscribers. Thanks for the info on that one too. A

Comments are closed.