Archive for the 'Heron Island' Category

Conference Heaven

Posted in Travel, Heron Island on December 12th, 2005

The water is pale turquoise and like an aquatic moonscape. The contours of the reef are starting to emerge as the tide recedes. Over the reef the water ripples gently but at the edge, there is a marked shadow beyond which the sea rolls visibly higher. There too, birds cluster on a sand bank that has just surfaced: gulls and terns dip and whirl about with crazy abandon. In the distance two islands are now visible where there was haze before. The resort dive boat is just heading off to the outer edges of the reef. A squadron of giant black rays skirts the edge of the point followed by the white-grey shadows of a group of shovel nosed rays.


It is turtle laying time and the great creatures come up at dusk and return at dawn. Some, newly tagged, were laying for the first time, aged about thirty five years and returning to the place they hatched out originally. The navigation is by magnetic field, augmented closer to home by the water that they first taste on entering as hatchlings.


It is hard to believe this is a conference venue and that this particular one has been going since 1989. I missed the first one but have been a follower ever since. Computational Models of Creative Design is a topic that is just about as far from this remote island world as you could imagine. Here there are no mobile networks, no televisions, no motorised water sports or paragliding. Just the sea, the sky, and the animal and bird life of a coral cay that takes twenty minutes to circumvent.

Dawn on Heron

Posted in Travel, Heron Island on December 11th, 2005

Ahead the ocean blue water, mauve sky and a thin bluer line marking the reef’s edge. This morning up at 5 am woken by a phone alarm, the only function that a mobile can offer in this tech free place and straight to the beach, walking past the helipad and the marina in a greyish pale light. A brightly lit personal cruise boat hummed at the entrance to the harbour and two people slept soundly on the beach as we passed on the way to Shark Bay. From this furthest point on the island from human habitat, you can see the dawn break. For a while beforehand, the ocean is a smooth mixture of grey and blue and a few clouds hovering above the horizon give cover to the rays of pink light that are just beginning to show. At precisely 5.58 am a point of red light suddenly pierces the surface of the sea and the top of a red globe begins to make its way upwards imposing new warm colours on the sea and landscape. I watched it until the brightness was too much and felt the growing heat of the new day.