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Henrietta Rocks

Henrietta Rocks

Rottnest Island

DirectionsLocated on the south side of Rottnest Island, Henrietta Rocks is Stop 3 on the Island Explorer Bus. If you're cycling out there, head towards Kingstown Barracks from the Main Settlement and continue to follow Parker Point Road until you reach the well signed area for Henrietta Rocks. It's about a ten minute bike ride or just over a half hour walk. 

The Snorkel - Rottnest Island is one of my favourite places to explore, usually in mid-February as part of Aron's birthday celebrations. With Aron suggesting that he might want to head elsewhere in 2023, I decided that it would be a nice idea to move the Festival of Py (my birthday) to Rottnest Island instead. With unseasonably cool weather to end the year, the day arrived and thankfully it was going to be pleasantly warm with acceptable wind conditions for our visit. Joining me today was Caris, Aron, Jen, Tom, Mel and young baby Miles taking his first overseas holiday. 

Having completed the Wadjemup Bidi already and snorkeled at Little Salmon Bay, Parker Point and Salmon Bay on previous visits, I was looking to snorkel a couple of new spots this time around. With a baby in tow, I was also aware that it would be a relaxed day so two snorkels was about the most we could fit in today and that suited me just fine as these full days end up being a bit hectic sometimes. Catching the early ferry over, I was pleased to see that the island wasn't too overcrowded as we enjoyed a spot of breakfast from the Rottnest Bakery. Taking a few photos of the local Quokkas as we finished up breakfast, we made our way to the bus stop at the Main Settlement and hopped on the Island Explorer to head to Henrietta Rocks. This was a place I had been meaning to check out the last couple of times but the water always looked a bit choppy whenever we passed by. 


With light NE winds forecast, this time I was confident we would get good snorkeling conditions. The reason I wanted to snorkel here was the shipwreck of the Shark, a barge that was destined to be wrecked at Porpoise Bay but had to be cut adrift in bad weather so ended up here instead. Located a short distance offshore on the edge of the limestone reef, this accessible wreck is a fun snorkeling site with a beautiful beach to relax on afterwards. When we arrived, the winds were fairly calm and the water looked inviting, so we made our way down the stairs and set about erecting beach shelters. Creamed up and snorkeling gear out, we headed into the water and negotiated the limestone ledges that eventually drop off into deeper water (we didn't clock the obvious channel at the base of the stairs). The water was a beautiful temperature and after chasing a Blackspot Goatfish around for a couple of minutes, I was soon at the rear end of the wreck admiring what looks like the bottom jaw of a shark with the teeth sticking up. 

Sitting in about 2-3 metre of water with the top section sticking out of the water, there is plenty to explore as you swim around checking out the beams, hull and middle section. With the others still getting in the water, I dodged the other snorkelers and proceeded to swim towards the front of the barge. Visibility wasn't great but the impressive shape of the bow made for a nice scene. Heading back inside the centre of the ship, I dived down to check out more of the details and try and photograph the fish hiding in and around the wreck. I eventually found Tom swimming around and we took photos of each other doing some yew doggy boi hand gestures (which we've started doing non-ironically now) and diving down to the bottom. Aron soon joined, along with Caris and she served to illuminate everything with her ghost white butt reflecting all the light.  We all continued to do loops of the wreck where I spotted some Western Gobbleguts, a Western Scalyfin and a Millers Damsel (I think).

All around the place you should find Western Buffalo Bream, what I consider to be the happiest fish in the world as they appear to have smiles on their faces and are one of the more curious fish that seem to follow you, rather than swim away. I soon discovered that almost everyone had left the water and were on the beach as I tried unsuccessfully to get a good photo of the steampunk looking section sticking out of the water. Thinking we were going to be moving on to the next spot fairly soon-ish, I snorkeled along the edge of the limestone reef looking for different fish before heading into the shallows. One last find was a swim-through where a lot of fish seemed to be hiding, including a school of Stripeys. Out of the water, it was decided that a short walk along the beach was in order and when we returned, we found Baby Miles had fallen asleep so wouldn't be moving anytime soon. This meant relaxing in the beach shelters and I was quite content lying in the shade and watching the seaside scenes, not something I choose to do all that often. A lovely start to the day and my first snorkel in quite a while.