Friday, September 4, 2009

A Day on the Dunk

Michele: A couple days ago we took a day trip to Dunk Island, just a few km off the mainland. After months of looking at Dunk from our window, it was nice to finally visit. There is a nice resort on the island but we just took one of the morning ferries out and an afternoon ferry back. The 11:00 ferry was full, everyone of the ~30 seats was taken. Because the tide was going out, the ferry was grounded. The captain tried to pull the ferry out using the anchor but no luck, so he asked all the men to get off the boat and push it into the deeper water. Once all the guys were off he said "OK now that the guys are off, I will take off with all the ladies!" After we got into the deeper water the men scampered back on and we had a very fast trip to the island.

The resort is in a paradise-like setting. Lots of orchids and staghorn ferns (such as photoed) everywhere. We got to walk around the Dunk Island resort to get to our first destination, a swing bridge on the way up the mountain. We had seen pictures of a swing bridge on the island and found a old map that showed it to be on the way up the mountain . So we set off. After 45 minutes of climbing we realized that this swing bridge was no longer there -- probably a casualty of Cyclone Larry. What we did see on the track was an amazing bird show in the photo. It is a Australian Brush Turkey. This bird scratches the ground everywhere causing massive erosion. Why? It gathers the loose debris and soil into a huge mound that will house its eggs. The heat of the composting mound incubates the eggs. Very cool! But to me, I think it is less work to just sit on the eggs to incubate them. The brush turkeys were not shy and one accompanied us nearly all the way down the track crossing in front of us now and then to pose for photos. We also saw another golden orb-weaver spider -- very cool!

Robin: After the hike we went snorkeling. The beach was covered with lots and lots and lots of coral so you could kind of tell that it was a good snorkeling spot. First, we had a good picnic lunch there and then we did the snorkeling. First mommy and daddy and me and Will went snorkeling but then Will got scared and he left. He wasn't used to things underwater appearing so close and was afraid to bonk into things. And so me and mommy and daddy were left snorkeling.

We went out in the deep (~5 feet) and saw shelf coral that was stacked and stacked and stacked on each other and there were tons of little blue fish around.
We also saw a big rock that had a big clam (8 inches) with bright blue lips on it. When you put your shadow on it , it would close up tight. When you took your shadow off of it, it would open a little bit. The clam opens a little so that it can catch food -- we could see down into the clam.

On the way back, we passed by the shelf coral again and saw big yellow fish and one even bigger purple fish. And when we got where it was shallow, I found a cowrie. The end!

Michele: We were snorkeling for over 2 hours and when we came back and told our adventures to Will he really, really, really wanted to give it another try. He went in with Gavin and this time didn't get scared and saw some amazing things. I was very proud of both kids for being great snorklers. We will definitely come back to this beach for more snorkeling adventures.


  1. Good on Will for going back in! I used to be a terrible snorkeler, but I've gotten better recently.

    I love the brush turkey mound technology - especially that they'll add or subtract debris from the top of it in order to maintain a constant temperature down where the eggs are!

  2. Actually, the point of that first paragraph was to point out that it's great that Will went back in, so that it doesn't take him 40 years to get ok at snorkeling like it did for me!

  3. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the temperature control. Thanks for adding that. These birds are insane!