Snorkelling Port Douglas… Sailaway owner/operator Steve Edmondson’s relentless commitment for environmental sustainability and eco tourism caught the attention of journalists at one of Australia’s leading travel magazines; Travelling in Australia.Read the Article
Sailing Great Barrier Reef… The Great Barrier Marine Park Authority’s GOAL is to provide for the long-term protection, ecologically sustainable use, understanding and enjoyment of the Great Barrier Reef through the care and development of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
We all need to help
The marine tourism industry, recreational users, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) and other government agencies all have a role to play in keeping the Reef ‘GREAT’. The GBRMPA in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA – historically referred to as the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service) have developed management tools and processes to provide a range of tourism and other opportunities throughout the Marine Park, and to minimise the impacts of tourism activities on the marine environment so the diversity, integrity and productivity of the Reef is maintained.
Keeping everyone informed
Consultation on tourism management issues are undertaken at all levels including operators, sector associations and through the peak marine tourism body the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators.
The GBRMPA works closely with community groups, recreational users, Local Marine Advisory Committees (LMACs), and Tourism and Recreation Reef Advisory Committees (TRRAC) on key issues related to tourism and recreation in the Marine Park.
Working with the tourism industry and stakeholders, GBRMPA educates Marine Park visitors by promoting appreciation through interpretation and best practice information.VISIT GBRMPA WEBSITE
Sailing Port Douglas…
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park was established in 1975 and is the world’s largest marine protected area.
It is made up of nearly 2900 individual reefs very close together which include 760 fringing reefs and 300 coral cays.
Sailaway takes you to Low Isles, a network of islands and a coral cay on the Great Barrier Reef where you can sail & snorkel with the turtles.
The fish are nothing short of spectacular. Turtles, eels, reef sharks, clams, sponges, rainbow fish, butterfly fish and sea cucumbers are just a few – snorkelling on the reef creates lifetime memories.
Low Isles Snorkelling… Because Low Isles has a protected lagoon, the water here is generally much more calm than it is on the outer Great Barrier Reef. That means it’s the best for snorkelling, exploring and sailing.
On very rare occasions we do have to cancel our Sailing & Snorkelling trips out to Low Isles. Generally this is only in very high winds (borderline cyclonic) or severe weather.
Low Isles Snorkelling…
Low Isles History…
What is Low Isles?
Low Isles is situated on a large, 200 hectare, oval shaped, coral platform. Low Isles consists of a small coral cay, a large mangrove island, mudflats, seagrass beds, and coral reefs.
Where is Low Isles?
The Low Isles are located approximately 8 nautical miles from Port Douglas, in Tropical North Queensland, Australia. Located within the Marine National Park Zone of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Low Isles and its historic lighthouse were registered on the Commonwealth Heritage List in June 2008 in recognition of their place in Australia’s cultural and Indigenous heritage and are is also under the protection of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.View Map
Weather & Reef Research
Weather data has been collected on Low Isles since 1887 and scientific associations date back to 1928 when it was the base for a year long scientific survey which studied the structure and ecology of the surrounding reef.
This study was the first detailed study of a coral reef from Low Isles anywhere in the world and many current theories of coral reef are based on the findings of this expedition.
Low Isles Lighthouse
Today the University of Queensland operate a Great Barrier Reef research station housed in what was previously the assistant lighthouse keeper’s house.
This centre provides exciting and stimulating reef research projects for scientists and students and more importantly plays a pivotal role in eco sustainable reef management.
Safe Snorkelling Haven
The islands are surrounded by 5.5 acres of coral reef very close to the islands, making it an ideal area for snorkellers.
Living amongst the corals in the blue lagoon are a large variety of reef fish including angelfish, damselfish, anemones, giant trevally, sweetlip, fusiliers and many green turtles are sighted daily.
The mangrove habitats of Low Isles virtually uninhabited Woody Island is a vital habitat for a wealth of bird species, including large, white Herons – a bird watchers delight.
Taking the Island Heritage Walk is a ‘must do’ when visiting Low Isles. Learn about the history of Low Isles and its environment.
Go Green! Save the Turtles bag artwork created by Low Island caretaker, Jenni Fox and sponsored by Sailaway to increase awareness of environmental best practices and assist funding of other educational materials i.e. information leaflets and interpretive centre on island near lighthouse. These medium sized durable, reusable bags are made of strong beautiful natural calico material and bags printed with “Save the turtles” artwork with Sailaway logo and message, proudly supporting Low Isles and turtle sustainability. Go Green – Go Sailaway!
Available only at the Sailaway Reef & Island Tours Marina base $7.50, plan to pick up one when checking in for boarding passes 30 mins prior to departure and perfect to use on Low Island and back home.
ECO SHAMBA Tree Farm Port Douglas was established in August 2009 as an environmental initiative.
The location of suitable, high productive land was searched for. The investment and long term commitment was established on 27 Hectares (68 acres) of land, ex cane paddocks close to Port Douglas, adjacent to World Heritage Rainforest and boarding Crees Creek.More about Eco Shamba Tree Farm
Great Barrier Reef Tours… Sailaway visits the unspoilt Low Isles where the first coral research was undertaken back in 1928. The lagoon is home to a large number of turtles that have little fear of snorkellers, as they know it’s a safe area.
The protection of surrounding waters has changed the resident turtles’ behaviour and now close-up, passive encounters occur daily. We gain great satisfaction from witnessing an increasing level of guest appreciation of the value of the reef and encourage this through first-hand encounters and education. We’ve also invested in a new Lagoon 500 luxury catamaran, which was chosen because it has the highest-quality equipment and meets the desired standard of our environmental values.
Eco Tourism Accredited
Firstly, the Low Isles are really close at just 8.5 nautical miles off the Queensland coast, allowing visitors maximum time there. Second, the Low Isles have a unique history and are a natural iconic landmark. This highly protected and unspoilt environment has recently achieved carbon-neutral status. This is done thanks to investment in a reworked solar-power system, battery banks and use of BioDiesel.
Sailaway employs qualified marine biologists and makes daily records that are sent back to GBRMPA to help with a program called “Eye on the Reef”. Our tourism experience has credibility; accurate interpretation from the crew is imperative to guest interaction. This expertise helps us pass on a better level of knowledge to guests who may be experiencing the underwater environment for the first time, and even for those who consider themselves to be knowledgeable already.
As an owner/operator, I’m in a privileged position to be innovative and proactive when it comes to climate change action. Being green and smart is a successful path for the future as before legislation requires it, we can initiate bigger changes in thinking if we are prepared to absorb increased investment and risk. We’re proud to be one of the first operators to install waste water treatment onboard, and have switched to recycled Bio Diesel and low emission outboards. It’s vitally important to preserve our natural assets for future generations and encourage more environmental ambassadors. The goal is for around 2million visitors to the GBR annually to take up their own climate change action and reduce their individual impacts.
We have plans to continue with carbon offsetting and will do this through the revegetation of an ex-cane paddock and neighbouring World Heritage Rainforest, which we recently purchased. I hope that the continual development of carbon trading and offset schemes will create incentives for more businesses to think and act green.
I believe that allowing renewable forestation and carbon offsetting is the smart way forward as the environment can be a sound investment and benefit the future security of our children.
Great Barrier Reef Sustainability…
100% CARBON NEUTRAL
Sailaway’s luxury Lagoon 500 Catamarans sail primarily with wind power. Our tenders use bio-diesel with low emission 4 stroke outboards.
Eco Tourism Accredited
CARBON OFFSET CONTRIBUTIONS
We contribute $10.00 from each and every passenger ticket towards sustainable reforestation & carbon offsetting programs that protect Low Isles and our neighbouring World Heritage Rainforests.
We also talk to our guests and educate them about the servious environmental issues and challenges facing Sailaway’s favourite natural wonders including Low Isles, The Great Barrier Reef, World Heritage listed Wet Tropics Rainforests.
Raising your awareness & appreciation of our pristine natural environment is an essential part of our carbon footprint reduction strategies.
We provide bins to recycle plastics, paper, cardboard, aluminium/steel and glass used on-board Sailaway.
Our on-board toilets are kept clean and hygenic using the Sani-Loo waste water treatment system.
LOW FOOD MILES
All food and produce served on-board is locally sourced and prepared fresh in Port Douglas daily by our friends at Port Douglas catering.