Snorkeling the Whitsunday Islands
on the Mandrake
Snorkeling on Mandrake is free of charge and Mandrake will supply you with snorkeling gear inclusive of the price you pay for the sailing trip on Mandrake.
The Whitsunday Islands is part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park which stretches over 2,000 kilometres along the coast of Queensland.
People often don't realise that the fringing reefs found within the Whitsundays are bursting with aquatic life with both hard and soft corals to be found. Some of the soft corals have unbelievable colours and patterns which are fascinating to see. It is a very good rule of thumb to look but don't touch if you don't know what you are looking at. Some marine life in the tropics have evolved intricate defense mechanisms so while looking is ok you should not touch.
With the Whitsunday Islands being a protected Marine Park for some time now many of the local fish have no fear of man. You will probably meet up with Elvis, a giant Maori Wrass who may come to take a look at you. An interesting fact about Elvis is that he was once a female Maori Wrass. When a dominant male Maori Wrass dies a female of the species will change sex to become a male.
You will probably find yourself surrounded by hundreds of smaller fish at some time or another during your trip. Sea Eagles and Sea Ospreys will make an appearance adding to the "feel" of the location you are at.
Most likely snorkeling locations will be Luncheon Bay and Blue Pearl Bay, perhaps Nara Inlet. You usually have time to snorkel each day.
There are about 1500 species of fish, 350 different types of coral, 400 types of molluscs and 10,000 different types of sponges that inhabit this region so you know you are going to see some worthwhile underwater scenery.
The crew of Mandrake will keep a "safety watch" over you while you are snorkeling after they take you to the snorkeling location in the boats tender.
Most things worth seeing are in shallow water as coral needs sunlight to grow and the coral attracts the fish so you won't have to dive very deep to check things out.
Lunch always tastes better after a mornings snorkeling. You can take in the views of the location while munching on freshly prepared meals made from fresh local produce.
For those of you who would like some extra flotation Mandrake carries noodles and devices to assist you to float on top of the water with minimum effort on your part.
The crew are there to help you and to assist you have the best possible experience so don't be scared to ask for their advice if you need it.
These days you can buy waterproof cameras that are not that expensive. You may want to consider purchasing one before undertaking a sailing trip, they can come in handy for coral and if Elvis makes an appearance.
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P.O. Box 5696 Torquay, Queensland, Australia 4655
Phone International: +64 7 4128 9359 Phone Australia: 07 4128 9359
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