|John Gaskell snorkelling at Daydream Island|
Daydream is located very close to Airlie Beach on the Whitsunday coast and about a two-hour boat ride away from the world-renowned Great Barrier Reef.
Daydream Island’s resident marine biologist and Living Reef manager John Gaskell says that many people aren’t aware that Daydream has such a rich diversity of marine life immediately off the island.
“Many people assume the marine life density and diversity is nothing special,” Mr Gaskell said. “At least not until they get in.
“The health of this fringing reef habitat is actually comparable to the best and most dense parts of the Great Barrier Reef.
|Honeycomb Moray Eel|
Over the past three months, Daydream’s Living Reef biologists have taken the opportunity to investigate the coral reef habitats that surround Daydream Island and document their findings.
“Spending every opportunity in the water has certainly changed our view of the fringing reef health around Daydream Island,” Mr Gaskell said.
Stony Corals such as Staghorn and Brain Corals dominate the south-eastern side, whereas up at Lovers Cove on the north-west, colourful soft corals use the island as protection from the current. In amongst these corals lives a surprising diversity of marine animals.
Daydream is set in the Molle Channel providing good nutrient flow and plenty of opportunity for species recruitment. Colourful corals, reef fish, turtles, eels, octopuses, small sharks, rays, shrimps and colourful nudibranchs are just some of the animals that are commonly observed while snorkelling there.
|Flowerpot coral at Daydream|
Although night snorkelling is not recommended without experience, Daydream Island’s Lovers Cove provides a safe haven to view many of the animals. And for those who want to experience the local wild fish and prefer not to get too wet, this is where wild fish feeding takes place.
John Gaskell has also developed an iPhone app called Sea Life Australia, which identifies and provides information on over 950 species of marine life in Australia’s waters.
“I’m very impressed with the number and variety of species found right here on Daydream’s fringing reef itself,” he said.
|Fish feeding at Lovers Cove|
Guests can either bring their own snorkelling gear or else hire it from the water sports centre.
Daydream’s on-island Living Reef attraction is one of the world's largest man-made living coral reef lagoons, home to more than 140 species of marine fish, 82 species of coral and 15 species of invertebrates such as starfish, sea cucumbers and crabs.
Comprising a north and south lagoon and holding more than 1.5 million litres of water, the Living Reef lets visitors learn about and get up close to the fascinating inhabitants of the Great Barrier Reef.