From Ms Gemma Brown, Acting Assistant Head of Science
Lady Elliot Island is a coral cay in the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef. It is a Green Zone or “no-take” area, and therefore is home to a large diversity of marine organisms. The Year 12 Marine studies class, accompanied by myself and Mr Dominish, spent four days at the end of February, exploring the island and the reef surrounding it.
After landing on the grass runway, in a fifteen seater plane, we were booked straight onto a glass bottom boat with a Marine Biologist to discuss the coral varieties and other organisms common to the island. The next few days were spent underwater, spotting sharks, rays, octopuses and a multitude of different fish species. Many turtles, who call Lady Elliot Island home, drifted with the currents alongside us whilst snorkeling. We were also lucky enough to visit the island during turtle laying and hatching season, giving us the opportunity to get up close to turtle hatchlings!
The Education Centre on the island provided a space for the boys to reflect on the Marine organisms we had seen during the day and the conservation efforts in place to protect the reef from further degradation. A highlight in this space was the Shark presentation run by a Marine Biologist.
Barnaby, Lachie, Matt, Jahvia and myself also went on a scuba dive whilst on the island, enhancing the skills the boys learnt in the Year 11 Marine Studies course. The boys impressed dive instructors as they were able to keep their buoyancy whilst diving in a strong current. The dive was made extra special as an eagle ray glided by as we came out of a cave 25m underwater.
It is safe to say the boys had a fantastic time and being able to be up close and personal with some of the animals they have been learning about over the past year was an incredibly valuable experience.