Seeing Turtles from Port Douglas

Following on from some great feedback about our last blog post we are going to keep on the theme of turtles.

Diving with a turtle from Port Douglas
Everyone loves the opportunity to swim with turtles

Every day when I take people out to the Great Barrier Reef from Port Douglas I ask my divers what animals they most want to see on their dives?  By far the most common response to that question is ‘TURTLES!’

There is something about sea turtles that captures the imagination of adults and kids alike. There just doesn’t seem to be an age where you can longer get excited about seeing a turtle and I’m yet to have a diver complain that we spent too much time with a turtle when we have come across one underwater.

On the Great Barrier Reef we are lucky enough to find 6 of the world’s 7 sea turtle species. The species we have include:

  • Green turtle
  • Hawksbill turtle
  • Olive Ridley turtle
  • Leatherback turtle
  • Flatback turtle
  • Loggerhead turtle

The only species not found on the Great Barrier Reef is Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle as it is only found in waters close to the USA and Caribbean.

Turtle sleeping Agincourt Reefs Port Douglas
A turtle having a snooze on the Agincourt reefs

The most common species of turtles we see on the Agincourt and Opal reefs (the reefs we dive daily on our Port Douglas diving trips) are the Green and Hawksbill turtles. Loggerhead and Olive Ridley turtles are occasionally seen and the Flatback and Leatherback turtles are only very rarely seen on the outer reef off Port Douglas.

Although turtles aren’t seen on every dive we do see them most days. Turtles are usually fairly relaxed around divers but will get scared off by big groups of divers or people coming too close too fast. The best way to increase your chances of seeing a turtle and getting to spend time with it underwater is to dive with your own private Blue Dive guide who will teach you the best way to approach these beautiful creatures. If you are lucky we will even take your photo with them!

Opal reef turtle silhouette
The perfect turtle silhouette

All species of marine turtles have a very similar life cycle. They grow slowly and take between 20-50 years to reach sexual maturity. The lifespan of a wild turtle is believed to be 60-80 years.

If a baby turtle survives to adulthood, and only 1 in 1000 do, once they are ready to mate they will migrate up to 3000km to return to the very same island or stretch of beach they were born on.

We have all seen the documentary footage of turtles laying their eggs, the baby turtles emerging from the sand and making a mad dash to the sea but what a lot of people don’t know is that a female turtle can lay several clutches of eggs over several weeks.

A female turtle will only lay eggs every 2 to 8 years but can lay hundreds off eggs each time.

For more information on the Lifecycle of a turtle visit the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park authority’s turtle webpage.

The turtles we see on our Port Douglas dive and snorkel trips are usually adults foraging for food, resting and hiding amongst the coral or just cruising along as turtles are so well known to do.

If you have no luck seeing a turtle on your diving or snorkelling trip to the Agincourt or Opal reefs then another great place to try your luck is the Low Isles. These are 2 islands near Port Douglas and they are the most well known turtle spotting area in the region. Although the Low Isles are a snorkel only location we often stop here on our private Port Douglas dive and snorkel charters. With over 50 resident turtles and some beautiful fringing reef around a white sand island it is a very nice place to spend a day aboard a luxury Port Douglas private charter vessel.

Turtles are found year round on the reefs of Port Douglas and our experienced dive instructors usually know the spots to give you the best possible chance to find these wonderful creatures.

Contact Blue Dive to arrange your next dive or snorkel trip from Port Douglas and that could be you in the picture below 🙂

Green turtle Port Douglas scuba diving
Seeing a turtle underwater can be a magical experience

 

 

Turtle eating a jellyfish lunch

A great video courtesy of @johnny_gaskell of a Green sea turtle enjoying a jellyfish lunch on the Great Barrier Reef.

On our dives at the Agincourt and Opal reefs we regularly see Green and Hawksbill turtles.

On the Great Barrier Reef live 6 out of the 7 known sea turtle species – we have Green, Hawksbill, Olive Ridley, Flatback, Leatherback and Loggerhead turtles. The only species of turtle that isn’t found on the Great Barrier Reef is the Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle which is only found in the Gulf of Mexico and east coast of the USA.

Diving and snorkelling trips aboard MV Monsoon

A very special way to experience the Great Barrier Reef is aboard your own private boat.

Blue Dive work very closely with MV Monsoon to provide private snorkel and dive charters from Port Douglas.

We run day, overnight and multi day dive charters from Port Douglas aboard Monsoon to the outer Great Barrier Reef. On these private dive charters where we have the opportunity to snorkel and dive on the reefs including the Escape, Agincourt, Opal, St Crispins, Chinaman, Undine and Tongue Reefs.

Monsoon reef charter port douglas

Monsoon is a 54ft (18 metre) classically styled vessel capable of accessing the outer reef in 1.5-2 hours depending on location. She was custom built for comfort both at sea and onboard, featuring the latest in marine technology.

The vessel can comfortably sleep up to 4 guests across 2 cabins for overnight or multi-day trips and boasts a large interior saloon and multiple outdoor areas for soaking up the sunshine and fresh air.

The dedicated crew are experts at safely accessing fantastic outer reef dive locations, taking care of guests onboard and preparing delicious meals.

On all Monsoon charters you have the services of a private Blue Dive instructor as your personal host, dive guide and photographer. They are there to ensure you have a memorable dive experience aboard Monsoon.

Back deck of Port Douglas boat MV Monsoon
Back deck of MV Monsoon

On Monsoon day charters we usually complete 2 long, relaxed dives with a leisurely lunch in between.

For overnight trips aboard Monsoon we can do a 3rd day dive or a night dive if you prefer and on the 2nd day we will complete another 2-3 dives depending on your preferences.

Green turtle as seen on a previous Monsoon charter
Green turtle as seen on a previous Monsoon charter

We pride ourselves on visiting rarely dived sites that are only accessible to smaller boats whenever possible. Our experienced guides know the reefs we visit incredibly well and will work with you to do the sort of dives that YOU want to do – whether that is pinnacles or reef walls, coral gardens or a little bit of everything – that’s the advantage of a private charter.

On charters aboard Monsoon we can take certified divers, introductory divers, PADI Open Water students and/or snorkellers. As the trip is a private trip we will work with you and your group to provide the services you are after.

Our fully qualified PADI instructors have the knowledge and experience to enable you to get the most out of your diving and snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef.

If you think you would like to experience a private dive charter aboard Monsoon then click here to contact us or give us a call on +61 427 983 907.

Wet Season diving on the Great Barrier Reef

Here in Port Douglas wet season is upon us and what a magnificent time it is!

Stretching from December to April, the wet season is when Port Douglas and the surrounding area, including the Daintree Rainforest, receives more than 60% of its yearly rainfall.

Many locals call this time of year ‘the green season’ as the rainfall results in abundant growth in the gardens of Port Douglas and the surrounding rainforest.

Whether you’re coming to Port Douglas as an experienced certified diver, an introductory diver trying scuba for the first time or considering completing a PADI course and learning to scuba dive this is a fantastic time of the year.

The Coral Sea off Port Douglas is beautifully warm over the summer months with water temperatures between 28-30 degrees celsius (80-86F), no wetsuit required!

During this time of year we often have continuous light winds of less than 10 knots. Thanks to the light winds the wet season is when we are most likely to have glass-outs, this is when the surface of the sea is so calm it can be like looking through a window – perfect if you don’t like rough seas!

Port Douglas diving calm seas
Glass out conditions off Port Douglas

Of course the weather can change and we have days of higher winds but these are far less frequent at this time of year.

All diving with Blue Dive is at outer reef locations such as the Agincourt and Opal Reefs. When diving out here we are located 25-30 km’s offshore which means that run-off from the rain doesn’t effect visibility. Many people are used to diving close to shore where rainfall can reduce visibility dramatically, thankfully we don’t have to worry about this when diving from Port Douglas.

Clown fish diving Port Douglas
Clown fish in their vibrantly coloured Anemone home seen whilst diving on the Agincourt reefs

During the wet season we continue to see an abundance of marine life including dozens of species colourful reef fish, sea turtles, reef sharks, cuttlefish, rays and eels. The only things we don’t get to see at this time of year is the migratory whales, you’ll have to come back to Port Douglas between June-September if you want the opportunity to see the humpback and minke whales from Port Douglas.

Another great tour to consider during the wet season months (or any time of year) is an Outback and Rainforest tour with our sister-company, Blue Adventures. The waterfalls of the region are at the most impressive during our wet season and on a Blue Adventures tour we have the opportunity to visit some of the finest falls in the area.

Underwater reef scence on the agincourt reefs
Diving the Agincourt reefs from Port Douglas

Have a question for us or like to know more about diving from Port Douglas? Click here to contact us or give us a call on +61 427 983 907.