Fitzroy Island Resort is offering guests the unique experience of helping to care for injured turtles and assisting with monitoring the Great Barrier Reef as part of a new citizen science program.
Chief Executive Officer Glen Macdonald said the launch of the Fitzroy Island Resort Marine Conservation Program coincided with the property’s recent Eco Certification with Ecotourism Australia.
“Fitzroy Island Resort Master Reef Guide and marine biologist Azri Saparwan has created the program as part of the Resort’s ongoing support for the two not-for-profit organisations that undertake conservation activities on Fitzroy Island,” he said.
“This full-day tour is the first opportunity for guests to go behind the scenes at the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre to help care for the sea turtles and to assist with the Reef Restoration Foundation’s coral restoration work.”
Mr Saparwan said guests would get involved by cutting up seafood to feed the turtles and cleaning the tanks at the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre.
“They will assist with the Centre’s research into the local sea turtle population by identifying the turtles they see when they are snorkelling at the front of the resort in Welcome Bay,” he said.
“If someone discovers a new turtle they will have the honour of naming it.
“Participants will then be taught how to identify and remove the coral-eating Drupella snail before snorkelling over the sites where the Reef Restoration Foundation has planted corals grown in Australia’s first offshore coral nursery at Fitzroy Island.
“They will also undertake an Eye on the Reef survey identifying the corals and marine life seen while snorkelling to inform the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.”
The Marine Conservation Program operates on Mondays from 9am to 4pm for 16 years and older. The $199 fee includes lunch, refreshments, snorkel gear and a donation to the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre. The program is part of the Federal Government’s Tourism Industry Activation and Reef Protection initiative.
Children can do a half-day tour with a marine biologist through the Junior Marine Biologist Program. The Wet Session for children who are confident swimmers aged 10 and over includes snorkelling, the Eye on the Reef survey, fish feeding and water quality testing. Sundays 9.30am-12.30pm $65. A Dry Session for ages 5-10 includes beach combing, fish feeding, water quality testing and marine-themed crafts. Saturdays 9.30am-12.30pm $45.
Fitzroy Island Resort
Fitzroy Island Resort is 100% Australian family-owned and operated and only a 45-minute boat ride from the Cairns CBD. The National Park island is an unspoilt tropical paradise of rainforest and beaches within the calm sheltered waters of the Great Barrier Reef.
The contemporary resort is ideal for getaways, weddings, meetings and retreats. Facilities include a large pool and swim up bar, Zephyr Restaurant, Foxy’s Beachside Bar, a PADI dive and activity centre, and the island store. The island has five walking trails and is accessible for day tours and overnight guests via the Fitzroy Flyer daily transfers. Fitzroy Island is home to the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre and Reef Restoration Foundation’s underwater coral nursery.
For more information: www.fitzroyisland.com
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