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Dive Review of Heron Island Resort in
Australia/Great Barrier Reef

Heron Island Resort, Aug, 2005,

by Richard Nelson, CA, USA . Report 1991.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Truk, Palau, PNG, Fiji, Tonga, California, Cozumel, Bahamas, Florida
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather windy Seas choppy, currents
Water Temp 68 to 70 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 30 to 80 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Both maximum depth for each dive and 1-hour bottom time were given. None of the sites really invited deeper diving, but short bottom time was frustrating for us.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 5 stars
Large Pelagics 4 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 5 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 2 stars
Comments Heron Island is a lovely resort, and the reef is lovely and accessible. The rides to dive sites are short, and because it is a marine preserve, there are LOTS of fish and lots of *bigger* (i.e., full-grown) fish than you find elsewhere on the Great Barrier Reef.
However, this is not a Dive Resort. It is a resort that does some diving. Lots of beginners or mildly experienced divers. Very few experienced divers. The diving is nice, but not very challenging. Some of the sites are quite pretty. The water was cold, and many divers were wearing full 7mm wetsuits, mostly rented on the island. In fact, staff seemed quite surprised when we showed up with our big bags of dive gear. We didn't see any U/W cameras, though there were fine photo subjects.
We were there in winter, which is low season, but for some reason, the resort was sold out and the diving overloaded. The resort was understaffed, both in general and in the diver operation specifically, so they had limited ability to add extra boats (though they did manage it for us one day). The dive shop was pretty overwhelmed. The first day out, I had trouble finding a tank that was full--had to try four different ones before finding one with more than 2000 PSI.
We were not too impressed with the dive operation, but once in the water, the diving was quite nice. The dive staff was nice, too, just way over their heads.
The resort is lovely. Room service came at sort of random times each day (probably because of the understaffing). Food and service in the restaurant was hit-and-miss. First night, incredibly slow, and backed up out the door. Other nights, it was fine.
Just about everyone on the boat crossing out to the island was feeling sick, even those of us who normally don't. Seasickness medication is highly recommended (and sit downstairs). Many people chose to take the helicopter back, rather than face the boat again (although it was a flat, smooth ride going back!).
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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