Dolphins & Dugongs Find Sanctuary In The Gold Coast Broadwater
It's all about dolphins and dugongs on the Gold Coast Broadwater at the moment, with the crew aboard the
Sea World Cruises'
vessel 'Spirit of Migloo' reporting a series of close encounters with these elusive marine mammals during recent day tours.
Brisbane floodwaters are forcing dugongs southward to unaffected areas like the Gold Coast Broadwater. The Broadwater is a confluence of the Nerang, Coomera, Pimpama and Logan rivers and did not suffer from flooding. Bottlenose Dolphins are also using the Gold Coast Broadwater as a refuge after the recent unsettled conditions offshore.
"The huge volumes of polluted and muddy water spilling into Moreton Bay from the Brisbane floods is likely to drive some resident dugongs north and south and even out to sea," says Sea World Cruises marine biologist Silje Vindenes. "Like dolphins, they are very sensitive to any change in their environment and the recent floods may have caused them to move to other areas in search of food."
Brisbane's dugongs feed almost exclusively on the seagrass that grows on shallow sandbanks in Moreton Bay. They grow to 3 metres long, weigh over 400 kilograms and can live more than 70 years. Moreton Bay supports a resident population of around 400 animals Moreton Bay is connected to the Gold Coast Broadwater by a network of tidal channels.
Ms Vindenes says it's a real treat to see a dugong in the Gold Coast Broadwater.
"The dugongs obviously think it's time for a holiday on the Gold Coast because they rarely venture this far south. Our passengers get really excited. They can't believe they're seeing a dugong on the Gold Coast right next to all the big waterfront mansions."
Encounters with the Broadwater's resident Bottlenose Dolphins are also on the rise.
We've been seeing a lot of Bottlenose Dolphins in the Broadwater - more than usual - and these may have moved in from offshore waters because of the recent bad weather," says Ms Vindenes, "This week we've seen our old pals "Sharky" and "Chopper" cruising along together."Chopper" has most of his dorsal fin missing and "Sharky" has an unusual nick out of his fin that makes him look like a shark.
"Over a three year period we've created a database of dolphin photos and given them names based on their damaged dorsal fins," says Ms Vindenes. "Unfortunately, just about every dolphin we see on the Broadwater has been scarred in some way by boat strike. So they are easy to recognize."
Despite the high boat traffic on the Broadwater, the dolphins seem to be thriving.
"The Gold Coast Broadwater is their home for a large part of the year and they seem to be increasing in numbers despite their injuries. We are seeing lots of calves at the moment."
About Sea World Cruises
• Sea World Cruises have an impressive $1.5M on-board "theatre" that entertains and informs with a colourful, interactive mix of 3D animation, Real-Time Tour Map technology and exceptional photos of the wildlife most often encountered during a tour.
• Our expert tour guides use these tools to broaden and deepen the understanding of the local marine environment for our passengers. One of our most popular 3D animation sequences about climate change shows how the Gold Coast would appear after a rise in sea level of only a metre. This sequence has a particular resonance after the Brisbane floods.
• Sea World Cruises operate calm water day cruises on the Gold Coast Broadwater with a choice of two stopovers for lunch with wine at either Couran Cove Island Resort or Sanctuary Cove Marine Village.
• The Sea World Cruises vessel is the $3.5M Spirit of Migloo, the Gold Coast's most luxurious tourist vessel. Three levels of viewing decks, large tinted windows and first class seating provide a superior level of luxury and comfort. Spirit of Migloo is custom designed for environmentally friendly marine nature tourism with ultra-quiet, low emission engines, toilet waste holding tanks and dolphin-friendly keel.
• Cruises depart every day from the Sea World Cruise Terminal in the carpark outside Sea World at 10.00am and return at 4.00pm. Entry to Sea World is not required.
• Day cruise includes LUNCH with a glass of WINE for only $69 Adult and $59 Child.
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