Wavelength has sites on different reefs, but predominantly visits Opal Reef which is about 10km long and made up of three closely joined reefs near the outer edge of the continental shelf. Each day the skipper chooses three snorkelling sites by assessing weather and tide conditions to ensure you have the BEST experience possible. We vary the sites as much as conditions allow in in order to showcase the Great Barrier Reef’s amazing diversity.
As one of the original reef operators in Port Douglas it’s Wavelength’s privilege to be able to choose from fantastic quality locations. Most of these are exclusive to Wavelength and were obtained through historical use, meaning that other reef operators can’t access them. Some of these are listed by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority as low density usage, meaning we can only take a small number of people at any one time. As license holders and custodians we adhere to this important limitation. We carefully monitor our sites for presence of Crown of Thorns starfish, Drupella snails, coral bleaching and coral disease. This means they can be protected from overuse and damage.
As Wavelength is a snorkel only tour, our sites have no diver damage. Diver damage is caused by novice divers with insufficient control over their buoyancy. Contact with the reef can break fragile hard corals simply by accident. Our snorkel instruction and guided snorkel tours teach you to avoid damaging to the reef. Did you know for example that even the apparent “dead bits” should not be stood on because that’s where the coral larvae of the next generation may be trying to get established?
Mixing snorkellers and divers on the boat means site selection is a compromise. If we carried divers as well we couldn’t visit our favourite sites as they simply don’t have deep enough water for divers. On mixed boats snorkellers also normally have to wait until after the divers have got in the water, shortening their time available.
The Great Barrier Reef stretches 2,300km (more than 1,400 miles) along the northeast coast of Australia (about the size of Italy). Having approximately 3000 individual reefs and islands the quality and type of coral varies a lot over such a large area. Whilst inshore reefs and sea grass beds are equally important, the renowned garden-like coral, high fish diversity, and clear water, is predominantly on the outer reef, furthest from the land’s influence. Port Douglas is the closest departure point on the coast to the outer reef.
The outer reef sites to which Wavelength has access are spread across three reef systems. These include Opal Reef, Tongue Reef and St Crispin Reef. Some of our favourite sites include: