My third dive at Heron Island (and my 61st overall) was Gorgonia Hole. This was on my first trip with the Byron Bay Dive Centre (I think that is what they were called back in those days - June 1989).
Most of the dive sites at Heron Island are located on the eastern side of the fringing reef that surrounds Heron. Gorgonia Hole is towards the top or northern section of the reef around past The Bommie and Pams Point. It is only a few minutes run in the dive boat to this location. 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.
|A very rough map I drew of Gorgonia Hole in 1989|
Note depths are in feet
The site consists of the fringing coral reef that has a couple of "bays" in it. The main one is quite large and has an oblong shaped bommie that sits 10 metres or so off the main wall. In 1989 this bommie had a mooring on the top.
You do not need to go far from the mooring to have a great dive. Head south-east and follow the bottom of the sandy slope reef at about 15 to 16 metres. You will pass at least two more bays in the reef wall. After about 100 metres, turn around and come back, this time right at the bottom of the reef. You depth here will be a few metres shallower.
All along this section you should see white-tipped reef sharks, turtles and magnificent gorgonias. As you can imagine from the name, the gorgonias here are quite good.
Once back at the mooring bommie, continue past it for 50 metres or so before turning again and going back to the bommie. Spend the rest of your time at this site circling the bommie.
This site has lots to see, including potato cod, flutemouth, firefish, parrotfish, bannerfish, batfish and all the usual tropical species. At night you should see things like small red crabs, Spanish dancers, crayfish and hermit crabs.
A nice dive site from what I remember.
Note that you can also do this dive as a drift from Coral Plate (now called Plate Ledge I think) or from Gorgonia Hole to Coral Plate (see my article on that dive), depending on the currents.
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.