Moreton Island Marine Life
Your Dolphin Discovery Tour takes you to a world-renowned destination for encountering dolphins, dugong and turtles. Moreton Island is famous for its friendly and interactive dolphins, attracting marine biologists from around the world.
The water clarity around parts of the Island are so exceptional that the sparsely populated and endangered dugong can be found gently grazing on sea grass beds close to shore. Our purposely built marine mammal friendly boat and experienced crew, facilitate rare encounters with these shy and elusive creatures.
Moreton Island is also known to be a nesting ground for endangered Loggerhead Turtles. The marine park surrounding the island, hosts humpback whales on their annual migration up and down the east coast of Australia.
Encounter fascinating and diverse marine creatures on your guided snorkel tour through the coral reef and shipwreck, lead by experts. Encounter a variety of fascinating marine creatures on your guided snorkel tour through coral reef and shipwrecks. Feed, swim and snorkel amongst a galaxy of gentle angel and butterfly fish. Watch colourful clownfish bashfully emerge from the swaying anemone. Be sure to keep a keen eye out for wobbegong, rays and octopi.
Moreton Bay Marine Park is home to 2 species of dolphins. Dolphins are marine mammals. Unlike fish, they breathe air from an evolutionary designed blowhole at the top of their head. Did you know that since they have to surface to breathe, they “sleep” by resting one half of their brains at a time? They also have the unique sense called echolocation, a built in sonar system that helps them locate prey and navigate their surroundings. Dolphins are social creatures, highly intelligent and renowned for their playful and interactive encounters with people.
The bottlenose dolphins around Tangalooma are world famous for their friendly nature, deliberately seeking out human interaction. The clear water and gentle slope of the beach provides opportunities for rare glimpses of group pack hunting. These dolphins are not shy. They will approach us with their young and we have even on many occasion watched them mate. The conditions are so favorable towards dolphin encounters that marine biologists from around the world travel to Tangalooma to watch and research the in their natural habitat.
Cruising the bay we sometimes encounter the rare and threatened indo-pacific humpback dolphin. Their unique appearance and name derive from fatty tissue that accumulates on its back forming a narrow hump. Indo-pacific humpback dolphins can also be identified by their triangular dorsal fins. The World Wildlife Federation estimates that “Populations of the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin are thought to be small, numbering less than 100 individuals.” Marine biologists have reported that they will behave as subordinates to their larger “cousins”, the Bottlenose dolphin in feeding interactions.
Did you know that dugongs are thought to be the basis for the legendary myth of mermaids? Nursing mothers feature large mammary glands that are said to have enticed lonely sailors on long sea voyages.
Like dolphins, Dugongs are marine mammals who must surface to breathe air. Unlike, dolphins, they did not evolve blowholes or echolocation but that doesn’t make them any less fascinating. For instance, they exhibit a trait extremely rare in marine mammals – they’re vegetarian.
Dugongs can be found in herds of up to 300 individuals around Moreton Island gently grazing on sea grass. It is estimated that 800 dugongs leave around Moreton Island, the only herd of dugongs in the world close to a city. Despite these seemingly large numbers, dugongs are vulnerable to extinction.
Dugongs rely on a substantial diet of sea grass, a marine plant that can only thrive in crystal, clear water, as it requires sunlight to live. Intensive conservation efforts over the years have seen legislation and action aimed at preserving the pristine waters around Moreton Island and protecting the Dugong. The Dolphins in Paradise management and crew are proud to have participated in these efforts over the years. We especially welcome the chance to showcase these amazing animals on our eco-cruise and suggest ways to help on our educative marine commentary.
Turtles, Rays, Wobbegong and more
Moreton Bay Marine Park is renowned for its abundance of life. The Tangalooma shipwrecks in particular are teeming with sub-tropical sea creatures amongst an artificial reef featuring varieties of colourful corals. Nearby Flinders reef hosts the largest array of sub-tropical species of coral along Australia’s east coast.
Search the shipwrecks for glimpses of blue ringed octopus or the elusive wobbegong, a harmless and beautifully leopard-patterned species of shark.
The calm, crystal clear waters surrounding Moreton Island boast superior clarity. Combined with the gentle slope of the beach, this creates the perfect environment to catch glimpses of endangered turtles and a variety of ray species as they feast in the shallow sea grass beds.
Did you know that turtles sea turtles spend their adolescence in the deep waters of the open oceans but return to lay and hatch eggs on the same beaches they were born? Scientists are puzzled as to how they manage this amazing navigational feat.