Experience both Big & Little Pidgeon Islands as guests get an informitive drive-by tour on the way to West Wallabi Island. The islands are the wealthiest crayfishing islands in the Abrolhos with ultra modern homes and some seriously big cray boats! The islands are shallow all around which generally allows for calm water as we explore in and out of the wharfs and shoreline along these 2 interesting islands.
Long Island was the island reported to have been where Jeronimus Cornelisz and some of the other mutineers were hanged. It is a stunning island with deep water coral drop-offs giving crystal clear water all around. The area is home to some of the larger birds like Ospreys, White-Bellied Sea Eagles and Caspian Terns. It’s an interesting one-way walk from tip to tip of this long thin island. Just closeby is an excellent snorkel spot called The Brain Corals. This shallow site has 5 large Brain Corals forming a ring. The base of the corals is filled with small cervices & caves and is home to some big Crayfish. The surrounding reef teems with reef fish like Bald-Chin Grouper and Emperor species.
East Wallabi Island
East Wallabi Island is usually one of the last Islands we visit on the tour as it has the airstrip for guests choosing the optional scenic flight home. Turtle Bay is one of the most popular bays in The Abrolhos. It has a short walk from the day facility hut that goes out to the point and past areas were you can see Tamar Wallabies as well as skinks and the endemic Abrolhos Dwarf Bearded Dragons. At the point there are two Osprey Nests. The bay has a designated snorkel trail surrounding the circular reef in the centre of the bay. The bay is also great for a beach combe, a walk to the airstrip, a glass bottom boat tour or a swim. One of the areas highlights is at sunset. To sit in the hut and have a drink or nibbles as the sun goes down over the western point is truly spectacular and a great last night option - weather permitting.
Batavia Wreck Site Snorkel
With the right weather conditions, one of the highlights of the cruise is a snorkel on the wreck of The Batavia. The ship crashed into the reef in 1629. Whilst not much of the hull remains, the jettisoned canons, anchors and ballast stones are intact and sitting in only 4-8m water depth. The hardest thing about seeing the wreck is the large schoools of fish that cloud the wreck site! Like most of the snorkels, glass bottom boat tours are also an option. The wreck snorkel is something we cannot do every trip but with the right weather conditions, it can be sensational.
Also known as “The Island of Angry Ghosts”, Beacon Island is the location where most of the murders took place during the Batavia shipwreck saga. Guests visit the island and learn about the islands history - both the Batavia mutiny and the more recent crayfishing camps and Batavia archaeological digs. The island is home to some fantasic bird life as well as a Batavia memorial cairn and the coral pits are still evident from where Jeronimus Cornelisz (the mutiny ring leader) was held prior to his trial and execution. It’s a somber place but a fascinating piece of Australia’s history.
West Wallabi Island
West Wallabi is one of the largest islands in The Abrolhos. The highlight of this island is to view the forts built by Weibbe Hayes and his soldiers to defend themselves against Cornelisz and his band of mutineers. These are the oldest European/western buildings in Australia! Despite the islands size, this is one of the most difficult locations to get to due to the very shallow depths at the areas closest to the forts. The Eco Abrolhos anchors close to the Pidgeon Island group and guests board the shallow draft glass bottom tenders. An informative drive by of the Pigeon Islands starts the tour before attempting to tackle the shallow lagoon crossing to the island. The walk to the forts is about 800m and meanders through some bushland that is home to a large group of Tamar Wallabies. There are also small lizards and some very large (up to 3.5m) Carpet Pytons that guests often see basking in the sun. The waterholes that kept Wiebbe and his men alive are also part of the tour.