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Swain Reefs Dive Sites

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© Lonely Planet Publications
Swain Reefs
0
0

not for navigation

From staghorns to waves – the diversity
of life challenges all divers on the GBR

20 km
10 miles

Swain Reefs Dive Sites

152 o 30'E

Olive sea snakes are common in some Swain Reef areas

Reef

21-274
Elusive Reef

Distant Cay
21-281

21-289

21-295
21-256

6

21 o 30'S

East Cay

21-468
21-477

21-558

Emperor
Reef
Beacon Reef

Pike Reef
Gannet Cay

Chesterman
Reef

e
assag
us P
rad Wade Reef
a
C

22 o S

Horseshoe Reef
Sanctuary
Reef
Hook Reef

Abrahams
Reef

Sandshoe Reef
Hackie Reef
Sweetlip Reef

Hixson Cay
South Hixson Cay

152 o 30'E

66

Swain Reefs Dive Sites

6 EAST CAY

67

• •

ADVANCED

Blu Lion Reef

INTERMEDIATE

Half-Tide
Reef

NOVICE

Frigate Cay
Detour Reef

GOOD SNORKELING

21-560

Twin Cay

way towards allowing regeneration of
fish stocks.
As much of the area is unexplored,
each dive boat takes divers to their favoured spots, usually associated with
a good anchorage in the prevailing
weather. There are many anchorage
sites so even if there are a few boats out,
it is unlikely you will see them, as the
area is so large. Depending on which
harbour you started from and how long
you have, you will probably cover either
the northern or southern section. Either
way, you will get excellent uncrowded
diving and snorkeling. Usually there is
no set itinerary – your trip will be determined by weather and the whim of
the group.

The southern extension of the wilderness and adventure diving areas of the
Great Barrier Reef (GBR) are called the
Swain Reefs, or Swains to the locals. They
are only serviced by charter boats with
roving permits. The complex is 100km
to 250km (62 miles to 155 miles) from
the coast and has over 270 reefs, more
than 25 with cays. The reefs range in
size from a few hundred metres across
to over 20km (12 miles) in length. Most
average around 4km (2.5 miles), providing thousands of exciting, exploratory
and adventure dive sites. The reefs are
rich with life and the cays are important
as protected sea bird rookeries and resting areas. There’s an automatic weather
station on one of the cays.
Today, parts of the Swain Reefs are
used for preservation areas, national
park, commercial trawling (some western areas only), fishing, recreational use
and research. In many areas fishing has
depleted numerous fish species such
as trout, cod and sweetlip. The most recent marine park zoning will go a small

Bacchi Cay

68 Swain Reefs Dive Sites

Swain Reefs Dive Sites 69

© Lon...
66 67
The southern extension of the wilder-
ness and adventure diving areas of the
Great Barrier Reef (GBR) are called the
Swain Reefs, or Swains to the locals. They
are only serviced by charter boats with
roving permits. The complex is 100km
to 250km (62 miles to 155 miles) from
the coast and has over 270 reefs, more
than 25 with cays. The reefs range in
size from a few hundred metres across
to over 20km (12 miles) in length. Most
average around 4km (2.5 miles), provid-
ing thousands of exciting, exploratory
and adventure dive sites. The reefs are
rich with life and the cays are important
as protected sea bird rookeries and rest-
ing areas. Theres an automatic weather
station on one of the cays.
Today, parts of the Swain Reefs are
used for preservation areas, national
park, commercial trawling (some west-
ern areas only), fishing, recreational use
and research. In many areas fishing has
depleted numerous fish species such
as trout, cod and sweetlip. The most re-
cent marine park zoning will go a small
way towards allowing regeneration of
fish stocks.
As much of the area is unexplored,
each dive boat takes divers to their fa-
voured spots, usually associated with
a good anchorage in the prevailing
weather. There are many anchorage
sites so even if there are a few boats out,
it is unlikely you will see them, as the
area is so large. Depending on which
harbour you started from and how long
you have, you will probably cover either
the northern or southern section. Either
way, you will get excellent uncrowded
diving and snorkeling. Usually there is
no set itinerary – your trip will be de-
termined by weather and the whim of
the group.
Swain Reefs Dive Sites
6
21
o
30'S
22
o
S
152
o
30'E
152
o
30'E
East Cay
Distant Cay
Bacchi Cay
Frigate Cay
Twin Cay
Gannet Cay
Hixson Cay
South Hixson Cay
C
a
r
a
d
u
s
P
a
s
s
a
g
e
21-560
Detour Reef
Blu Lion Reef
Half-Tide
Reef
Emperor
Reef
Pike Reef
Horseshoe Reef
Hook Reef
Sandshoe Reef
Sweetlip Reef
Hackie Reef
Sanctuary
Reef
Chesterman
Reef
Abrahams
Reef
Wade Reef
Beacon Reef
21-558
Elusive Reef
21-256
21-295
21-289
21-281
21-274
21-477
21-468
Reef
Swain Reefs
not for navigation
0
20 km
0
10 miles
Swain Reefs Dive Sites
GOOD SNORKELING
NOVICE
INTERMEDIATE
ADVANCED
6 EAST CAY
••
Olive sea snakes are common in some Swain Reef areas
From staghorns to waves – the diversity
of life challenges all divers on the GBR
© Lonely Planet Publications
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