Why go on a Snorkelling Tour of the Great Barrier Reef
For my third solo trip to North Tropical Queensland, I was keen to snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef. I had been on a snorkelling tour before, but my experience was disappointing. I didn’t particularly appreciate jumping from the boat, snorkelling around, and returning to the ship, shivering and exhausted.
I wanted time for snorkelling and relaxing on a peaceful island with no crowds. Moreover, I wanted to go on an eco snorkelling tour that cares about protecting and preserving the Great Barrier Reef’s natural environment.
While searching on the internet, I bumped into this eco Snorkeling Tour in Port Douglas.
After reading through the reviews, I thought, this is my tour. On my solo camping, one of my planned places was Port Douglas, so it was handy. You can also go from Cairns either on a self-drive trip or by using a public bus service; from Cairns to Port Douglas, there are daily services.
What to expect from an eco-snorkelling tour
The tour offers guided eco snorkelling tours with instructions in the water. I find snorkelling quite a strenuous activity; if you are a beginner, you need to have a guide to get to the right coral sites and make the most of the snorkelling experience.
This tour operator is serious about sustainable snorkelling because they implement real carbon footprint reduction strategies. They were one of the first local operators to get a were treatment onboard, which means they are recycling all waste onboard and are using recycled BioDiesel to have low emission outboards.
Besides, they offer an afternoon eco-tour for adults only, leaving from Port Douglas at 1.30 pm to Low Isles, which includes a sunset sailing cruise. The combination of snorkelling, the island tour and sailing at sunset is great, as I love watching the sun go down from the boat.
A Snorkelling Tour from Port Douglas to Low Isles
The sailing cruise to Low Isles only takes about one hour. They are close to Port Douglas, and we had plenty of time for swimming around the coral cay area and visiting the small island and walking to its historic lighthouse.
Snorkelling off Low Isles sandy beach
When we got to Low Isles, the catamaran moored a few hundred meters away, and we didn’t have to jump from the boat to snorkel. Instead, they took us to shore on board a small shuttle boat. This was one of the things I appreciated, as it saved us a lot of energy. On the beach, we could get ready, and once we were all kitted out with fins, suits and floating devices, we set off on a guided snorkelling tour.
They split us into two groups, an advanced group and a beginners group. I joined Greg’s beginner’s group and loved it because I felt comfortable snorkelling while following him. I got to see some massive coral sites without wandering off and searching for them.
A heritage walk to Low Isles Lighthouse
Low Isles is part of the Commonwealth Heritage list and is located within the Marine National Park Zone of the Great Barrier Reef. Low Isles is made of two islands, a large mangrove island and a cay, i.e. a small sandy island with sandy beaches and a little heritage walk to the lighthouse.
The University of Queensland operates a Great Barrier Reef Research station, so it is essential for scientific research. Greg walked us to the Lighthouse and talked about the history and the role of this small island in the Great Barrier Reef eco-sustainable management.
Sailing off Port Douglas – The food on-board of the catamaran
When we got on board, tea, coffee and fresh sweets, and savoury snacks welcomed us. After the sailing tour, we got back to the catamaran and got a second treat. A good choice of local fresh fruits, delicious fresh canapè. All drinks were the first choice too. I had my favourite yellow-glow sparkling wine, and a second one followed while enjoying the sunset.
The Sunset Cruise into Port Douglas harbour
The timing was perfect; we had enough time to sit outside and enjoy the afternoon warm sun rays and a light breeze. As we cruised back into Port Douglas harbour, the sky started to fill with sunset colours, and the ranges on the horizon formed a picture-perfect silhouette. I was lucky to have a couple enjoying the sunset and naturally posing for romantic sunset photos.
I was delighted to have picked this eco sailing tour and highly recommend it to anyone who is a novice and wants to feel safe and looked after when snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef.
Moreover, I appreciate that the operator is actively engaged in raising awareness through educational talks to their guests about eco snorkelling and the preservation of the natural wonder, which is the Great Barrier Reef.
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First published in 2018, last updated in April 2021
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