After a busy week in Western Australia and Perth (known also as the most remote capital in the world, being closer to Jakarta that to Sydney) the Great Barrier Reef, the longest coral reef in the world with its 2000 km length, was on schedule.
While landing in the industrial town Gladstone (around 85 km from the island and 50 km from the Reef), home of the biggest electricity power plant in Australia, still powered by coal, we were shocked by the ocean colour: so terribly grey and dirty. Then a pleasant helicopter flight (and a total of 9 hours on the way) took us to the hot, sticky and windy Heron island (located in the really southern part of the Great Barrier Reef).
"Did you see some turtles and manta rays from the heli? They look like some small dark dots from up there", was the first thing that Tracey, our welcome guide, told us once we stepped out. Unfortunately we were too busy contemplating the stunning view from up there.However, some hours later in the moonlight, around 300-400 m from our bungalow we spotted someone throwing sand in the air...It was a huge (around 1,5m long, between 150-200kg) green turtle laying eggs in a hole in the sand. From October to March every year sea turtles can be sighted in this region where they come to mate and nest. Some individuals may travel distances of over 3000km!
Heron Island is a small (43 acre) coral cay and a National Park since 1943. There are thousands of nesting birds on the island too. On the photo above is the baby one of a black noddy tern. Around 30 different bird species nest on the island and a 24-hour-live-concert is sometimes really loud...I was awaken several times in the first night by their unusual schreams.
A guided reef walk during low tide on Sunday afternoon showed some of the tiny sea/reef inhabitants.