Whitsundays The Worlds Best Shore Dives And More
That may sound like a strange headline for an area that is known as being one of the best boating areas of the world and one of the areas of the Great Barrier reef known for it diverse reefs.
Most of the diving in the area is in fact by boats.
There are however, some other things to take into consideration. The Whitsunday islands area is a portion of the Great Barrier Reef park that in addition to the barrier reefs has 74 islands plus the shoreline of the Continent.
We are going to say 74 islands, which are really tops of an underwater mountain range, but some boating references list 94 and one yachting guide has GPS listings for 150 islands.
Each island and the continent’s shore line have a well develop fringe reef.
Of the 74 islands only eight have inhabitants.
The Whitsunday Island, the largest island in the group and shares the name with the islands in the group, is a National Park. The park status extends to a total of 34 islands.
Most of the other islands not a part of the Whitsunday National Park are included in the Great Barrier Reef Park.
Many of the islands in the National Park have faculties for camping and have either designated anchoring areas or mooring locations for boating.
In many cases, the divers go ashore and start their dives from there.
Hook Island is one of the islands in the National Park, of its many coves and camp grounds there are eight dive sites that are generally done as shore dives.
These reef sites are equally attractive to snorkelers, and many to come to camp on the island do so that they can enjoy both the island and the reefs.
Most of the scuba dive operators will do the majority of the dives they offer on the fringe reefs.
Many of them drop the divers off the boat but have them end the dive on the beach where a picnic lunch is waiting. After a surface interval it is a shore dive for the second and maybe a third dive.
When bad weather moves in, the coves of the islands protected by the landmass from the winds and the fringe reef from the currents become places of shelter for the various boats.
Hook Island and Whitsundays Island have coves spaced around the islands so that even in very bad weather you can find a sheltered area.
Hook island alone has 38 public moorings and 14 private moorings. A boater stuck in the weather can find some nice calm water and still be able to dive.
It is not unusual in a storm to have calm water around your boat but when looking past the island and its reef you can see huge white caps.
While the fringe reefs provide some outstanding diving the reefs barrier reefs also have outstanding places to dive.
Hardy reef is one of the larger reefs in the area and is near the outer reef.
One of the sites that has a large number of divers is the area called Reefworld.
Reefworld dive site is an anchored pontoon.
High speed boats bring tourist and divers out to the pontoon daily.
Their boat takes about two hours. Once on the pontoon they have the option of snorkeling or diving. There is also an underwater observation centre and a semi submersible sub that does a reef tour. There is a similar arrangement on Knuckle reef to the north.
The larger Hook reef is just to the South of Hardy Reef and is a popular site for diving from some of the Liveaboards.