Moreton Island Day Trip
It was another early morning for our group, but it was well worth it. We were up and at’em at 7:00 am to hop on a bus with our lovely breakfast of muffins, granola, and peaches. The bus ride was quick, but we then boarded a pontoon boat which was filled with sleeping adolescents. It was a nice ride and took around an hour and a half to reach our destination, Moreton Island.
When we got to the island, we were divided into groups and got to experience a guided tour in transparent kayaks. This allowed us to see all of the fish swimming underneath us! (Yes, we did see Nemo). After we splashed each other with paddles and raced the other kayaks to the end, we had the opportunity to go snorkelling in the same area. Where we were on Moreton Island was really neat because there was a shipwreck, so we were kayaking and snorkelling around the old barnacle covered ship.
After this, we had a really nice lunch followed by a VERY bumpy bus ride to the desert, where we got to go sand boarding. Everyone got a thin piece of wood which we waxed ourselves, got on the board on our stomachs, and went down the hill face forward. This part of our excursion ended with giggles and a whole lot of sand in our mouths.
When we were on our snorkelling tour, we learned that Moreton Island is the least disturbed, large coastal sand island in South East Queensland. Moreton Bay and the sand islands provide a significant feeding and resting point for over 50,000 migratory waders. We also learned that algae and coral have been best friends since the dinosaur age. The relationship between coral and zooxanthellae (algae) is what gives the coral its bright, vibrant colours that we as humans see. But nowadays we don’t always get to see all the beautiful, bright, and colourful coral that we once used to see. Coral bleaching or whitening of the coral is caused by the coral losing their symbiotic algae or the algae losing its photosynthetic pigment. Coral bleaching may be caused by stress due to a slight increase in water temperatures, water pollution, and/or high amounts of exposure to the sun. Since coral reefs shelter 25% of the marine life in the ocean when a coral dies the marine life is left with no home. So if we lose the coral, this leads to the loss of the ecosystem and attraction that humans have to the beautiful colours of the sea. Moreton Island has many plans in place to protect the reefs’ ecosystems.
When we got back to the beach we had some free time, so we took the opportunity to go swimming and had a blast splashing each other with the warm water of the ocean. We then headed back to the boat, and our day came to an end. We absolutely loved our time on Moreton Island, and learned a lot about the surrounding environment. So, 24 salty, sandy, and happy teenagers were ready for dinner!