Moreton Island, QLD
One thing I like about Brisbane is their motto. They say, if you’re sitting inside, you’re doing it wrong. Everywhere in Australia, even when the weather is crap, there is always something to do outdoors. Since summertime is especially hot and humid, I wanted to take advantage of this endless expanse of coast and do some snorkeling. I heard about Moreton Island as a place that I could do just that.
It was an early start to the day since I had to make the 8:30am ferry to get to the island. The ferry doesn’t look exceptionally large, and as cars line up to board, it starts to look even smaller. How do all these cars fit inside a boat? Simple. The guys working the ferry do this everyday and they direct the cars into position. Everyone fits in perfectly. Once I drive my car on, it’s up to the deck to enjoy the ride.
It’s a short ride to the island since it’s only 40km from the mainland. The ferry ports and the ramp lowers to let us all out. While driving off the ferry, it felt like I had run of the island. I could drive loops around its beaches, never getting bored.
Moreton Island has the scenery of a tropical getaway. Sometimes when I pass by the big skyscrapers of Brisbane, for a moment I forget I’m in a subtropical paradise. At least it’s technically subtropical. Summer weather makes it feel like the tropics. And these white sandy beaches make me feel like I need a drink with a fancy umbrella adorning the top. But first things first, and that’s snorkeling.
I drive down the beach until I feel that I found a suitable spot. Hand break on, doors open, gear out. It’s go time. Entering the water feels more refreshing than that drink would have been anyway. I wash my goggles in the water and fit them onto my head. The snorkel tastes salty.
If you haven’t been snorkeling then I must plead that you try it out. When you submerge your face under the surface, it’s like entering a new world. It’s actually kind of daunting the first time. As humans, there is so much in the world that we don’t even realize takes place. There’s a few small fish around when I first enter the water. They quickly scurry away thinking something dangerous is coming their way. When I approach the reef, more fish appear. Some swim away furiously while others don’t even seem fazed in my presence. They must be use to humans coming to check them out. Some fish are dull colored, and some are as bright as a torch, with matching colors. They nibble at the coral.
One amazing thing about snorkeling is not just the fish. It’s the sound. Fish make sounds, and the reef is LOUD. Life is happening everywhere here. The little nibbles on the coral are exemplified in the water, and I can hear them clearly. The tide is at the perfect level, and although I don’t feel a current, I am somehow gliding effortlessly over the coral. About an hour flies by and I decide to get out.
A unique thing about Moreton Island is the Tangalooma shipwrecks close to shore…in snorkeling range. That’s where I head off to next. There are more people in this spot, but I guess that is expected. It’s not exactly off the beaten path and most people know about this area. Everyone’s friendly though and we all want the same thing: to enjoy this unique experience.
The shipwrecks were put there for a reason. They were deliberately sunk to create a safe spot for other boats. It’s an artificial harbor that has evolved into a tourist attraction. It is very cool to snorkel through though. An octopus spotted me and hid behind a wood panel. Seeing the colorful fish against the sunken wood I can only imagine how many other real shipwrecks are out there with sea life making it their home.
After the snorkel, I debated my next move. I could head away from the island and catch the ferry back to the shores of Brisbane. I already packed the car with my camping gear in case I decided to stay. What’s another day? I drive until I find a suitable spot right on the beach. The nights are warm, but the breeze coming off the ocean makes it perfect sleeping weather. What will the next day at Moreton Island bring?