Abrolhos Islands : A trip of a lifetime

Country  : Australia
Duration : 3 days
Outdoor activities : Snorkeling, fishing, surf, kayak, wildlife watching, cruise
Sustainable tourism rating : écotourisme-5-SOL

Feel the real connection with the wildlife!

What would you say if I unveil to you one of Australia’s secret wonders? A magical place where time has stoped! A place in which you can live the most incredible experience? A place for all the adventurers in search of a paradise for outdoor activities! It’s time to stop dreaming, Surfonaleaf team has found a place where the harmony between man and nature has never been so perfect.

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70km from the coastal town of Geraldton, the Abrolhos Islands will make you experience emotions that you’ll cherish forever.

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This archipelago of 120 islands inhabited by a precious marine life welcomes every year, for a couple of months, the cray fishermen. Their small and colorful camps decorate with charm this fragile ecosystem and witness their rich culture.To get in this paradise of diving, snorkeling, surfing and fishing to name our favorite activities, the best choice is to board a cruise ship.

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We chose Eco Abrolhos and we warmly recommend it if you wish to live an enriching experience and to immerse yourself in the rich culture, history and natural magnificence of these ocean’s jewels, the Abrolhos Islands.

Jay, Sonia and their lovely son have lived in these islands are part of their great story that they will share with you through anecdotes and fascinating shore excursions throughout the cruise.

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Our first sunrise

I can see through my cabin’s window the sun painting in orange the ocean as our boat is sailing towards our dream destination. There is nothing on the horizon except albatross that accompany our crew and the outline of the islands gradually emerging. After an excellent breakfast we arrive in the group of islands located to the south, called Pelsaert Group. We started the morning with a snorkelling session and a lovely encounter with the clown fish and the anemones.

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After an hour or so marveling at this underwater world, we went back with the small glass-bottom boat. Beautiful corals and colorful fish have guided our return to Eco Abrolhos boat.
At the arrival the lunch was ready and we took full advantage of the soft sunlight on the deckchairs to recharge our batteries.

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In the afternoon, we were able to visit the pearl farms and have a breathtaking sunset over the distant islands. (Optional, we had the opportunity to go fishing).

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What a surprise when we discovered lobster platters for diner (freshly caught in the morning right when we arrived on the islands).
In the evening, I fished a black sniper. It was quite challenging and it made me work my biceps 😉 we put it back in the ocean after taking this nice photo.

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A second day in paradise

We started with a delicious breakfast and then the boat set sail on the group of islands of Easter Group. After a short drive, here we again in the glass bottom boats to a new session of astonishing snorkeling. Indeed, we drop anchor at Wooded Island.

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Incredible spot, you just need to let yourself carry by the current. We could not describe our surprise when a sea lion came along while we were admiring the clown fish and other colorful underwater wonders. Then, joined by a second, they offered an unforgettable aquatic ballet.

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Back on board for lunch we enjoyed the views over the islands populated with sea birds. Soon it was already time to head towards Rat Island. Along the way, we accompanied Jay to pull the cray pots.

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In the afternoon, we visited Rat Island, one of the few islands inhabited by cray fishermen. To preserve the lobster very affected by the climate warming, catch quotas have been introduced in recent years. This has significantly impacted the lives of Abrolhos fishermen families because 50% of them had to stop their activity since 2006. The charm of Rat Island lies in its jetties and colorful houses so beautifully interwoven. But what is most touching is to have Sonia as a guide. She lived on this island and she told us the school football’s field story which were at the heart of village’s life.iles-abrolhos
The evening reserved us more surprises: we shared an aperitif at sunset on a sandy islet inhabited only by a few seals that were willing to pose with us. sea-lion-abrolhos sea-lion-surfonaleaf

Back on board for a good meal (made from freshly caught fish of course), we were able to quietly enjoy the evening and even observe many fish attracted to the boat’s lights (dolphins, octopus, calamari …).

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The morning of the third day presented us with a glorious spectacle: a magic sunrise over the Leos Island. The views made me become a dawdler taking lots of pictures and just standing at times, spellbound by the majesty of the place. There really is something magical about the combination of flora, fauna and the sense of history of this small island with its inland blue emerald lake! And we were able to interact with its inhabitants  🙂 the dragon fish!

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Unfortunately the wind was not with us and it was not possible to go surfing or body boarding.
We were joined by seals and their pups just as cute, especially at the time of feeding …sea-lion-abrolhos-surfonaleaf
Then the captain took us to another spot where the snorkeling is fabulous. The place is ideal for kayaking and stand up Padle to tour the neighboring islands.

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A little sad to leave behind the place that gave us so much joy, we watched the few birds that circled the boat when the dolphins came to say goodbye. They accompanied us with acrobatics and jumps that brought us back the smile!

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The pros :
The temperature of the water! In fact, the Abrolhos islands are bathed in the Indian Ocean waters and should be populated by fish from temperate waters. But the warm waters brought by the Leeuwin current in autumn and winter gave birth to a coral reef that will amaze you. The water is a few degrees warmer than in Geraldton and much warmer than Shark Bay, 300 km further north.

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Uncountable activities during this cruise: snorkelling, kayaking, surfing, culture, wildlife watching and of course fishing which can be fabulous

This family business is the only one offering cruises to the Abrolhos offering a wide range of activities and provides the necessary equipment to enjoy your cruise at a good price ( 3 days trips from $1020 pp ). Visit Eco Abrolhos website  for more information.

 

Cleanning day in Abrolhos islands : A record number of rubbish bags were collected during the annual clean-up at the Abrolhos Islands. Perth Friends of the Abrolhos, Toxfree and Eco Abrolhos collected 407 bags of rubbish at the islands. The teams used the Eco Abrolhos to ferry the haul back to Geraldton. In just one trip the PFA has been able to collect more bags than it has over the eight years. Toxfree made it a team building exercise.
It’s a great way to show how to act eco friendly and we are prod to have traveled with them.

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The cons
If you are susceptible to seasickness, do not forget to take your pills.

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We chose the cruise of three days and it was a little short, we would have liked to stay longer to be able to also dive with the Batavia Wreck. If it have the chance to go again, we would choose the five-day cruise.

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