Surrounded by 98% national park and built on the picturesque shores of Moreton Island, the Tangalooma Marine Education and Conservation Centre provides an up-close and personal look into the wonderful world of Moreton Bay. A passionate and dedicated team of Eco Rangers provide a wide range of Eco Walks, Tours and Presentations for all ages and backgrounds. These tours are designed to interactively educate people about conservation and their surrounding eco systems. Through education, attitudes can be changed and people can become aware of their environments so they can start making a difference.
The Marine Education and Conservation Centre (TMECC) is unique from any other facility as the environment is right on the doorstep, with endangered animals frequently passing the shores. Dolphins, Dugongs, Whales, Turtles, Rays, Marine Birds and so much more can be seen daily with interpretative taks provided by the TMECC Eco Rangers.
TMECC aims to educate young children with an established program called Eco Marines. Eco Marines is a non-for-profit environmental program that assists and sponsors community engagement in advocacy and action to protect domestic and international waterways, rivers, oceans and wildlife.
Monday, 31 August 2009
Dolphin News, 31st August
Yet another week rolls past with no sightings of Echo or Rani! Our other two boys, Nari and Bobo, have made the occasional appearance, but it may be quite a while before they start attending the feed regularly once more.
While some strong winds make it a little bit wet for us, the dolphins are having a great time, surfing in the shallow waves and hunting fish underneath the jetty. The calves, Zephyr and Phoenix, have been especially playful, catching puffer fish on a nightly basis and hurling them to one another just like a tennis ball!
One of our calves playfully tosses a puffer fish into the air.
Monday, 31 August 2009
Whale Watch News, 31st August
Out on the cruises we've been witnessing some spectacular behaviour, with a few of the whales 'spyhopping', or poking their heads vertically out of the water to get a good look at the boat full of eager onlookers. One of the most active, playful species, these whales are often as curious about us as we are about them. One whale surfaced so close to the boat we all got a face full of whale breath! Not the best smelling breath in the world, but it was too incredible for anyone to mind much...
Several whales have been spotted further into Moreton Bay this week, quite a common sight this time of year. As the whales turn around and begin to head back to their Antarctic feeding grounds, often they will take a short relaxing break in the calm waters of the bay.
Saturday, 22 August 2009
Whale Watch & Eco-Cruise News, 22nd August
Breeding season is well and truly underway this year, as our whale-watch guests were lucky enough to find out on Thursday. With three or four massive whales surrounding the boat, onlookers soon realised we had one or two males herding and attempting to mate with an adult female. With sunny skies and clear water, we caught a rare glimpse of the whale's eye as he turned over and looked up at our boat.
Those same clear skies afforded us brilliant views of the Southern Moreton Banks this week as well. We had the largest Dugong sighting of the year, and as we turned off the boat engines, well over 100 individuals lazily swam past, a mere few metres from the bow of the vessel. Spotting sting-rays, turtles, dolphins and even seastars on the sea bed made for a perfect day out on the bay.
Saturday, 22 August 2009
Dolphin News, 22nd August 2009
Another week has gone by, and still many of our mature boys are deciding to forego a feed for more exciting activities! Echo, Rani, Nari and Bobo have been arriving sporadically, spending their time hunting for themselves or herding the females. Excitingly, our young female Tangles has arrived to the feed with obvious rake marks behind her dorsal fin, indicating to staff that she may be getting a little attention from the boys herself. At nine years of age, she's approaching that point at which female bottlenose dolphins become sexually mature, so we won't be surprised if in 18 months to two years time, Tangles has a calf of her very own!
Sunday, 16 August 2009
Dolphin News, 16th August
Well it's that time of year when the male dolphins at Tangalooma have decided there are more important things to do! Our mature boys, Echo, Nari, Bobo and Rani have all skipped a few nights here and there, but it's nothing to worry about; we think they're off herding a few of the female dolphins out in Moreton Bay! Nari decided to make an appearance last night, and put on quite a spectacular display in front of an eager crowd, breaching completely out of the water eight times in a row.
And while the boys chase the ladies, our female dolphins (not to forget our two young boys, Storm and Zephyr) have been arriving like clockwork every night, surfing in the shallow waves and actively hunting a few extra fish underneath the jetty.
Saturday, 15 August 2009
Whale Watch & Eco-Cruise News, 15th August
The whale sightings have remained strong this week, with one particular cruise sighting a total of 15 humpbacks! There was another sighting of a mum and her very young calf which were on their southern migration. The calf was still a very light grey colour indicating it was relatively newly born. We have started to see a bit of a mixture of whales heading both north and south which is typical for this time of year when we are half way through the whale watch season.
There was even a quick sighting of what appeared to be a smaller minke whale - or at least that's what we think it was... They are very fast moving and agile whales so it was hard to get a good look at it before it darted off in the distance!
We can't believe our luck with the run of beautiful calm weather that we have been experiencing over the last weeks at Tangalooma, which means our sightings of the dugongs and sea turtles on the Eco-Cruise have still been quite high. The flat, clear water in combination with the sunny skies have made for ideal conditions for spotting the marine life below the surface. The weather has been so calm that without the sound of breaking waves we often hear the sounds of the dugongs or turtles as they surface to breathe before we actually see them!
Saturday, 8 August 2009
Dolphin News, 8th August 2009
Earlier in the week little Phoenix had a sudden burst energy and did five consecutive breaches at the back of the feed area. The splash from each breach was so loud we thought it was one of the larger adult dolphins jumping out of the water until we saw that it was actually just little Phoenix playing out the back!
Often adult dolphins will use breaching as a form of showing dominance, but with the younger dolphins like Phoenix it is often just of for of fun and play. These breaches were then followed by a series of spyhops, poking her head out to see what's going on above the surface!
The sun is starting to set a little later again and because sunset is the cue for the dolphins arrival to the feed area we have notcied them turning up slightly later. Very soon we will have a time change from 6pm to 6.15pm to accommodate for this later arrival.
Some of our adult males have been missing in action for a couple of nights over the last few days. This could be an indication that they have 'more important' things to do, and are probably busy herding female dolphins. Herding is a behaviour male dolphins use to mate with female dolphins. Therefore if Nari for instance is herding a female dolphin with some other males then he won't want to leave the group to come in to feed otherwise he could miss out on a valuable opportunity!
Little Phoenix spyhopping!
Friday, 7 August 2009
Whale Watch & Eco-Cruise News, 7th August
Babies ahoy! We spotted the first Humpback calves of the season on the whale watch this week, playfully breaching out of the water while sticking close to their mothers' sides. Even though they may only be a few weeks old, these babies can still make an impressive splash, being over 4-5 metres in length! Despite their impressive size, they will stay nice and close to their mother for at least 4-5 years. During this time, the baby will suckle for about 18 months, guzzling up the fatty milk to get as fat as possible before braving the cold waters down in Antarctica.
Our luck continues with the Dugong cruises as well. The large herd we have been observing over the last few weeks has proven easy to track, and we have been experiencing amazing encounters all week. With such beautiful conditions the visibility is fantastic and we can make out incredible detail of these slow moving marine mammals, right down to the bristles on their lips!
One of the more unique patterns we spotted this week.
Saturday, 1 August 2009
Whale Watch & Eco-Cruise News, 1st August
What an amazing week we've had, kicking off with an absolutely incredible whale watch on Sunday! Onlookers (not to mention our crew!) were blown away when a rare Southern Right Whale popped up mere metres from the vessel, cruising alongside our boat with mouth agape to pick up a leisurely afternoon snack. Just like the more familiar Humpback whales, the Southern Right is a filter feeder, using bristly baleen plates to trap small marine plankton. More typically found in cooler temperate waters, stumbling across this southern giant was a rare treat!
The beautiful conditions out in Moreton Bay this week have afforded us spectacular sightings of our local inshore bottlenose dolphins as well, observing several small pods herding schools of fish. But it was the dugong cruises that made the week for us, spotting large herds of over 100 individuals! Happily grazing through the seagrass meadows, these graceful 'sea cows' were as close to the boat as we had ever seen. Sure made for some spectacular photos!