Cruises to Willis Island
Willis Island (Drop Anchor)
Many of these small islands and islets are uninhabited. They are literally just drops of sand in the ocean. We won’t be landing here, but thought you might like to take a closer look. Enjoy some time contemplating the quiet and tranquility, and marveling at the sights.
Willis Island is one of a number of atolls and cays that stretch across 780,000 square kilometres of Australia’s Coral Sea Islands Territory.
Willis Island formed tens of thousands of years ago when coral grew on a seamount or ancient volcano that drowned after the last ice age when sea waters rose. Slowly, wave action pounded the coral into coarse sand, then seabirds helped vegetate what would have otherwise been a barren lump in the ocean. Their droppings contained the seeds, and provided the fertiliser that gradually built up the thick vegetation on the island. Willis Island’s real value to Australia has been as a weather station. Since 1921 it has provided north east Queensland with an early warning “ear” that detects cyclones. Located 450 kilometres northeast of Townsville, Willis Island is one of Australia’s most remote weather stations. It is staffed by three observers and one technician who live and work there for six months at a time.
What To See
Many of these small islands and islets are uninhabited. They are literally just drops of sand in the ocean. We won’t be landing here, but thought you might like to take a closer look, so we’ve arranged to anchor just offshore. Enjoy some time contemplating the quiet and tranquility, and marveling at the sea birds that call tiny Willis Island home.
Willis Island is home to gannets, terns and high flying frigate birds. Boobies and wedge-tailed shearwaters can also be seen in the surrounding waters, or nesting on the atoll.
Willis Island is a rookery for green turtles. You might see them swimming near the island or enjoying the sun. Green turtles can grow to just over a metre in length.