My 59th dive was Heron Bommie at Heron Island (also called The Bommie). I had gone there on a trip with the Byron Bay Dive Centre (I think that is what they were called back in those days - June 1989). Anyway, this was my introduction to tropical diving, although on that first dive the water was a relatively cool 20ÂșC.
Heron Bommie is located just to the north of the entrance to the small harbour at Heron Island. As such, it is the closest dive site and one that is often dived for night dives. On my trip there in June 1989 and later in October 1989 for the Heron Island Dive Festival, I dived this site four times, including a night dive. It is only two minutes run in the boat to this site.
The site consists of a series of four large coral bommies that are located just off the main fringing reef and which run in a roughly straight line from south-east to north-west. There are also (I think), two smaller bommies near them.
|A very rough map I drew of Heron Bommie in 1989|
Note depths are in feet
In 1989 there was a mooring located adjacent to or on the south-eastern-most bommie. This had a depth of (I think) about five metres at the top and about 10 to 12 metres on the bottom. After descending the mooring, we normally headed north-west past the next bommie (bottom about 15 metres or so) and then parallel to the fringing reef in a roughly northerly direction. The depth along here is about nine metres at the bottom of the reef and slopes away to over 18 metres about 30 metres off the wall.
The bottom consists of a sandy slope with coral pieces and small coral bommies in spots. After 70 metres or so you should turn around and headed back towards the bommies. Along this section you should see some white-tipped reef sharks and huge Queensland gropers.
When back at the bommies, head to the deepest one which is about 15 metres deep at the bottom. Swim around it and then onto the next bommie which is a little shallower. Continue on to the third and last bommies, arriving back at the mooring.
This is an excellent dive site and a very good night dive. There is so much to see. One of the features I recall were two huge moray eels that Valerie Taylor had befriended many years before. They are probably the biggest I have ever seen, but I am not sure if they are still alive or have been replaced by other large ones.
Other things seen at this site were turtles (five on one dive), potato cod, flutemouth, snapper, parrotfish, bannerfish, Moorish idol and lots more.
Note this article was written in 2008 so my memory may be a bit out with some aspects of the dive site and things may have changed in the almost 20 years since I last dived there.