When visiting Cairns in November 2018, I was blown away with the efforts of so many companies advertising how they are protecting the Barrier Reef conservation efforts. We went on a snorkel trip with Passions of Paradise who are eco-certified.
Passions of Paradise
Passions of Paradise are a Great Barrier Reef tour that specialises in snorkelling and diving. They are at the forefront of sustainable Barrier Reef tourism.
We did the snorkel only day but you can add on the dive if you want. It included the hire of the snorkelling equipment & stinger suit, morning & afternoon tea, hot & cold buffet lunch and an optional presentation on coral fish and marine life from their Eco-accredited marine naturalist.
We sailed from Cairns at 8am on the Catamaran, filled in some paperwork, stopped at the first snorkel spot. It was the clearest water that I have ever snorkelled in & I have snorkelled in Egypt, Thailand, Indonesia & many European countries too. I got a little nervous seeing all the small jellyfish around my face but I was in the stinger suit so I knew that the only part of my body they would be able to sting was my cheeks which was unlikely.
After the first snorkel, the buffet lunch was available for us to pick at and then we started the sail to the next snorkel spot. We didn’t see any turtles which I was a bit gutted about but it was laying season so apparently it’s good that they weren’t at the reef because it means they were probably close to the beach ready to lay eggs.
During the presentation, she talked about conservation efforts, the dangers of plastic in the oceans and how the barrier reef is growing faster than it is dying. I felt really inspired to try and make a difference and start acting more responsible when it comes to choosing tours.
Great Barrier Reef Conservation
Tourism isn’t going to stop. We want to visit the reef, but as visitors, we have a responsibility to make sure we are travelling in a sustainable way. One way that you can do this is by making sure your travel company/tour is eco-certified. There are no shortages in Cairns to eco-certified travel companies so it is not more expensive. You can do your bit for barrier reef conservation by choosing the companies that do their bit to ensure sustainable, high-quality nature-based tourism.
Reducing your plastic usage is another great way, especially whilst you’re in areas with water. Australia is full of free water-refilling stations so there is no need to buy multi-pack bottles of water. Get a sturdy water bottle (preferably non-plastic) and refill at your desire. Don’t take plastic to the beach – make sure you collect any litter and take all of your belongings with you. Take other people’s litter too if they have left it behind. Your pride and ‘well it isn’t mine’ only makes you sound like a 7 year old who doesn’t want to pick up after their little brother or sister. Be the bigger person. The balance of the eco-system is more important than you not wanting to pick up an empty packet of crisps.
Make sustainable switches when replacing products. How about starting small and swapping out your shampoo/conditioner for a brand that doesn’t use palm oil and is cruelty free? I was gifted bamboo toothbrushes from Blue Rock and found that they are actually more comfortable to use. The handle isn’t as hard as a plastic toothbrush and feels a lot lighter to use. The UK throws away 100 million toothbrushes every year which is a lot of unnecessary plastic waste. Bamboo is compostable but is also naturally anti-bacterial which is handy for a toothbrush! They are family friendly and have child sizes as well as adult sizes and the bristles come in different colours so you won’t get mixed up. For every brush they sell, they donate 10p to animals in need of protecting & in 2019, they are donating £1 to marine life conservation for every new subscription member.
If everyone started making small switches to their buying habits, then big companies would have to change their practices in order to compete with eco-friendly businesses. The big companies have power to change, but as long as we continue to buy their products, they refuse to be responsible with their practice. It is up to the power of the people to make responsible choices so that one day our great-great grandchildren can visit the Great Barrier Reef (and other beautiful destinations) and not wonder why we didn’t look after it. We want it to still exist in its beauty, not just look like any other sea.
What are you doing this year to make more eco-friendly and sustainable choices?