Friday, November 11, 2011

Moreton Island : A Piece of Paradise

Well if you have been following my blog and your beginning to get a little bit tired of 'being happy for us', then I suggest you just skip this one...

Moreton Island, QLD, Australia

....unless you can't resist seeing a few pictures of Paradise.

On Friday, Nov. 4 we played hooky from school and work and headed to Moreton Island. We stayed one night on the island and returned Sat. afternoon. It is Australia's third largest all sand island. It is a 75 min. boat ride from Brisbane Harbour. We were on our way by 6:30 am!! Really not a problem here as the sun rises around 4:20am.

Our ferry.

As we approached the island we could see that it was all sand with some shrubs and a few palm trees growing in the sand.
Moreton Island, Queensland

The island it self is almost uninhabited except for a handful of privately owned houses and the Tangalooma Eco Resort that is located there. One of the main attractions to come here, besides, sun, sand and snorkeling, is to see the wild dolphins that come into shore every evening to be hand fed fish. But more about that later.

First we wanted to get into that lovely ocean and walk the silky sand beach.

We rented some snorkeling equipment and then headed down the beach about half an hour to a coral reef that has grown over 7 sunken ships.

The sunken ships are behind us in the distance.

Along the way we found some star fish being tossed about the in the surf. Jas turned one upside down so we could have a look underneath and watch its little tentacle like feelers come out.

Living star fish, can you see the little suction cups underneath?

The kids have never snorkeled before and perhaps we should have given them a chance to try it out in the pool first. But we didn't and they handled it really well. It can be a bit scary in the ocean with waves knocking you about, looking at rusty, creepy old shipwrecks, with fish all around you. It was really cool too.

When the kids first saw the schools of fish they were a bit startled, especially because the mask and water make everything look bigger and closer underwater. Once they relaxed into it, we all had a great experience.

Unfortunately the kids got cold too quickly (yeah for my extra insulation!!) and we needed to head back to shore to warm up. Once we were no longer blue, Jas and I headed back to the wrecks for another look while the kids played on shore.

Jason snorkeling around partially sunken ship.

Fish feeding over coral encrusted ship wreck.

After snorkeling we had our picnic on the beach before heading back to the resort. On our walk back we saw a dolphin swimming along the shore line about 20 meters out. It was fantastic! We ran along the beach to keep up with her until she headed out into deeper water. We learned later that we had spotted Bella, a very old dolphin of 40 or so years. Her territory is along the coast on that side of the island. Apparently she sticks close to home these days as her vision is not so good and she has lost alot of teeth so she stay doesn't go out to deep water for fear of shark attack.

We checked into our room and then made good use of the pool.

Tangalooma Resort Pool.

As the sun began to set we returned to our resort room for a before dolphin feeding drink. We had a beautiful sunset to enjoy.

Sunset over Moreton Island.

Then it was time to head down to the jetty and check out the eight or so dolphins who were already gathering waiting for some fish. The conservation staff know all the dolphins by site, the shape of the dorsal fin is original to each dolphin. They also have individual markings and scars which help to identify them.

Watching the dolphins play while waiting for their snack.

The feeding is about to begin.

This dolphin feeding started years ago when a injured dolphin was fed by some islanders. She recovered and kept returning at sunset for a visit and some food. Eventually she brought a friend and in time her pup. Over the years the conservation staff has mapped out a family tree of the dolphins that come into feed. They are not all from the same pod, because after 3 years of staying with their mom, male dolphins go off to find an all male pod to hang out with. Some keep returning though and some even introduce new dolphins to the sunset rendezvous.

Zachary and Jason feel the dolphin.

Because these are wild dolphins the resort only allows them to receive 10 to 20% of their daily needs. They also have to make sure that no diseases could be passed along to the dolphins so we had to clean our hands in a bucket of cleaner before taking a fish from another bucket. We walked into the water and got close to the dolphins. To feed the dolphin, we put our hand under the water and held out the fish to them: very gently the dolphin took the fish between his teeth and swallowed it. Unfortunately we were not allowed to touch or pet the dolphins, but it was very cool to be so close to them.

This is 19 year old Rana.

The next day we were up and playing early. By 8:30 am it was Beach Volleyball time.

Good bump Zac.
At 10:30am it was tennis!

Those tennis lessons are paying off!

Then some more ocean and pool time. And a well earned refreshment!

Yes I am in Paradise!

All too soon we had to head back to Brisbane. It was a fun ferry ride though.

I love this kid

Beautiful Serenna.

Fabulous trip! Second only to the whale watching in Hervey Bay.

Bye-bye Moreton Island.

To save taxi fare on the way home we took the City Cat from one end of the river to our stop at the other end. Somehow Serenna and Zac still had energy to dance on the boat home.

Still enjoying our fabulous weekend.

This weekend, we head to the Gold Coast again to go to Wet 'n Wild Waterpark to celebrate Serenna's Birthday.

Until next time...
xox Penni-Sue

1 comment:

  1. Oh Amazing - you guys look fantastic, australia is agreeing with you!