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The Tour Specialists Tour Blog

Aug 11

Wavedancer to Low Isles

Posted on August 11, 2009 by

The day began with a bus pick-up that was perfectly on time to what I was quoted when I made my reservation.  The perfection continued with a quick and easy check-in at the Quicksilver office in Port Douglas at Marina Mirage.  Upon boarding the boat, the friendly staff have cordial and travel calm tablets ready for those who may experience a little sea sickness.  There is also a variety of biscuits, coffee and tea.  Wavedancer was spacious with comfortable seating inside, on the front deck and the back deck with plenty of tables to rest your belongings on. 


The journey to Low Isles goes by incredibly fast.  The on board Marine Biologist puts on a video presentation outlining what you are about to see during your adventure.  You will also receive a snorkeling lesson and be informed of what time is the best to snorkel based on the ever changing tides.  A very useful itinerary of what times the days events will occur is passed around to all guests on board Wavedancer.  This was very helpful in ensuring we got to see all that this little tropical Island had to offer.


Upon arrival at Low Isles, you are quickly shuttled over to the island in the glass bottom boat.  The island is beautiful with lots of healthy vegetation and a soft sandy beach.  The signature lighthouse on the island is situated in the middle.  Low Isles are low wooded islands, which are a type unique to the Great Barrier Reef.  The story began 7000 years ago.  As rising seas slowly covered the top of an ancient reef, dead corals were swept onto the reef flat.  Heavy Fragments settled on the windward side, building up a barrier.  Mangrove seeds found themselves in behind the barrier and Woody Island was formed.  Finer coral fragments were blown onto the sheltered corner of the reef flat and a low sandy cay emerged.  The name chosen for this island? Low Island.


The first activity was the guided snorkel tour.  Suz, our very knowledgeable Marine Biologist lead a great tour that lasted 45 minutes, picking up and showing us corals, sea cucumbers, pointing out giant clams and turtles.  There is a part of the reef that is called the “Turtle Bommie” where we saw one sleeping Green Sea Turtle and two swimming gracefully together. This really made our day.  There are many Cleaning Wrasse that live around Low Isles.  These unique underwater creatures full time job is to clean other underwater marine life, particularly the turtle’s shells. Can you imagine a Turtle saying to it’s partner hey we are going out tonight let’s go to Low Isles and get sprussed up. Oh how funny!


Before you know it next up it was lunchtime.  Lunch is served until 1:00 PM back on board the boat.  There are constant Quicksilver water taxis going back and fourth from the boat to the island to transport the guests.  Our lunch was a cold tropical buffet with scrumptious salads, chicken, prawns, cold meat cuts, fresh tropical fruit and much more.  The lovely ladies at the bar are also there throughout your whole day for purchase of softdrinks, alcoholic beverages and snacks should the urge take you.


After lunch, don’t miss out on the glass bottom boat tours, as you will see the beautiful corals and underwater world that Low Isles has to offer.  The glass bottom boat tour is 25 minutes and is great for those who do not want to go in the water and get their hair wet. 


The island is not only home to the variety of underwater life and corals but also home to many birds due to the lush vegetation like the Osprey, Varied Honeyeater, Pied Imperial Pigeon, Sooty Oystercatcher, White Breasted Wood Swallow and Mangrove Kingfisher.  During the guided island tour, you will see many of these species as well as learn about how the Aboriginals are very connected with this particular island… In fact it is said that they used to be able to walk out to it from Port Douglas many many years ago!  The Aboriginals have many stories about creation linked with the island and even today’s Aboriginal people’s strong connection to Low Isles endures.  Many elders are consulted on management decisions for the islands and Kuku Yalanji and Yirrigandji rangers assist in management of the Low Isles area. 


The Low Isles lighthouse was built in 1878.  The way it worked was half way up the lighthouse were two large cylinders and every hour they had to hand pump air into the air cylinder.  When the pressure was high enough, they would let the air escape into the 2nd cylinder filled with kerosene.  Kerosene was then forced up into the burner in the lamp and the vaporized kerosene ignited producing a brilliant light.  This light was revolved by clockwork but was only precise if the clock was wound every hour.  In 1920, the keeper’s cottages, boat shed and tramline were built.  The next development was the conversion to diesel power in 1963 and finally in 1993 was the conversion to the self contained solar powered beacon, and the last light keeper left the island.


Since 1992, the Low Isles preservation society has been existent in order to protect Low Isles and to promote reef research and education. The Low Isles are within the Great Barrier Reef marine park and managed by the QSD Parks and Wildlife service, with assistance from traditional custodians and volunteers. 


As, you can see from above, the guided walk on the island was very informative and interesting.  The rest of our day was spent leisurely snorkeling and relaxing on the beach.  At 2:45 PM, we said goodbye to Low Isles and took the Quicksilver taxi back to the boat for the ride home.  At 3:00 PM, we began our cruise back.  During this period, snacks, beverages, merchandise and underwater pictures taken of us snorkelling are available for purchase as well as complimentary coffee/tea/cheese & crackers.  We arrived back at Marina Mirage at 4:15 PM to meet our bus and get our transfer back home. 


The Island was a real natural beauty of Mother Natures creation and is great for people of all ages even if you don’t want to get wet.  The boat was very clean; staff friendly and all packaged together made a terrific day for us.  Don’t miss your chance to visit this peaceful island for a day of relaxation amongst one of the wonders of the world. 

A real unhurried stress free deay for the whole family to enjoy 

For more information about this tour or bookings please visit our website  


By: Blythe Rallo

Tour Consultant

The Tour Specialists

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