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Low Isles Wavedancer Review

Created by Julie under on Saturday 8th of October 2011

Wavedancer provides cruise and sail tours to Low Isles, departing from Port Douglas’ Marina Mirage daily. Suitable for families, couples and people of all ages and abilities, these tours include a return trip to Low Isles, glass bottom boat tour, Marine Biologist reef presentation and guided snorkel and island tours, equipment and meals. Wavedancer is a spacious, comfortable boat with a friendly, professional crew.

Self-driving from Cairns, we set out at 7.30am to take the very scenic Great Northern Coastal drive on the Captain Cook Highway. Winding along the coast, enjoying panoramic views over the Coral Sea, this was a lovely way to start the day. Arriving early into Port Douglas, we strolled around Marina Mirage enjoying a coffee and muffin, and views over the boats.

Checking in at Quicksilver, we were given tickets and made our way down to Wavedancer, a 29.8m yacht moored under the tropical sun. Boarding commenced at 9.30am and complimentary tea, coffee and biscuits were available on board.

While the crew prepared for departure, Amy – the on-board Marine Biologist – provided a quick Reef Presentation in the air-conditioned saloon. She talked about some of the different types of corals we might see today and covered some Great Barrier Reef fish facts; everyone was intrigued to learn that Butterflyfish and Angelfish mate for life.

We were excited to hear that up to 300 Green Turtles inhabit Low Isles’ offshore snorkelling area: turtles are much loved and protected residents of the reef.

Amy also provided an overview of the day’s itinerary and boat’s facilities, including on-board toilets and change rooms, tender transfers to and from Low Isles, timing for the guided snorkel and island tours and Glass Bottom Boat tours.

Brief complete, the 128 guests dispersed around Wavedancer, settling around on the covered bow, top deck, rear deck and in the air-conditioned saloon. The 90-minute crossing was made in cruising comfort, with the flat waters of the Coral Sea shimmering in the sunlight and lack of wind, preventing the hoisting of the sails.

As we approached Low Isles, the crew assembled guests on the bow to provide a snorkel briefing and distribute masks, fins and snorkels. Lycra suits were available for hire and came highly recommended, giving 100% protection from the UV rays.

Mooring at Low Isles, we were excited to see several Green Turtles coming up to take a breath of air, just near the boat. A quick tender transfer and we were on the golden beach and into the warm water before you knew it. Life guards watch from the beach, and even have a paddle-ski to provide in-water assistance and direction, as required.

At low tide the reef rose to within a few inches from the water’s surface. Sunlight flickered down, illuminating the coral colours. Visibility was patchy, ranging from 2m to 5m, pending where you were on the reef. Amy’s guided snorkel tour was very interesting and we saw giant clams, schools of yellow-tailed Fusiliers and sea cucumbers.

Leaving the group and exploring on our own, we saw barracuda, lots of different butterflyfish and angelfish, batfish and coral trout. Highlights were definitely having a close encounter with two reef sharks, seeing a large pair of six-banded Angelfish and a Celestial Phyllidia nudibranchs.

We’d lost track of time, bobbing around in the gentle tidal current, but the friendly life safer let us know that it was time for lunch. Taking the tender transfer back to Wavedancer, we grabbed a plate and helped ourselves to the generous buffet of cold chicken, ham, prawns, a range of salads (green, pasta and potato), bread rolls and fresh, tropical fruit. Lunch is served on-board from 12 – 1.15pm.

Afterwards, it was back to the beach for a guided tour of Low Isles with Marine Biologist Amy. Departing at 1.30pm, the tour lasted around an hour and included walking through the island’s interior, past the Caretakers’ Residence and Lighthouse, before wading in the shallows, along the shore where we saw a blue Sea Star.

Too soon, it was time to return to Wavedancer for our journey back to Port Douglas. Getting back to the boat at 3pm, there was complimentary cheese and biscuits, with fresh fruit being served for our journey back to shore. Unfortunately, there was not enough wind to sail, but we were kept entertained during the cruise by one of the crew who played some tunes on the bow.

Arriving back into Port Douglas around 4.30pm, happy travellers tumbled off the boat and headed back towards Marina Mirage.

Top Tips:

  1. Take your shoes to Low Isles: the sand can be hot to walk on.
  2. Snorkel in the morning, for best visibility and conditions.
  3. Hire a lycra suit. They cost just $5 (to cover maintenance) and provide great sun protection.
  4. Wavedancer does not provide scuba diving on its Low Isles day tour. This is a snorkelling trip.
  5. Should you prefer, coach transfers are available between Cairns and Port Douglas.

THE VERDICT: Wavedancer is a comfortable sail boat which easily accommodates her guests (capacity 156), providing ample space to relax and unwind. The crew is friendly and professional, providing advice and assistance throughout the day. Complimentary water and cordial is available all day, for your convenience and hydration. Low Isles is a good destination for those wanting to relax on the beach and enjoy the sunshine, with snorkelling on the fringing coral gardens. The Marine Biologist provides interesting information on the island and marine life. A great day tour for families, couples and people of all ages and abilities.

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Low Isles Wavedancer

Low Isles is an unspoilt coral cay, which is just a one hour sail from Port Douglas. A great day tour for families and non-swimmers. Not suitable for scuba divers.
$184


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Review Image Gallery

Cruising home with live entertainment from the crew Marine Biologist Amy shows us a starfish Low Isles Lighthouse Guided Island walks with the Marine Biologist Wavedancer moored just off Low Isles Also a licensed bar with snacks Complimentary water and cordial available all day Delicious buffet is served on Wavedancer Lifeguard lets us know it's time for lunch Black-tipped Reef Shark Staghorn corals can grow 15-20cm each year Low Isles Snorkel Review Low Isles Nudirbranchs - Celestial Phyllidia Pair of Six-banded Angelfish cruise the corals Amy pointed out the giant clam Coral gardens seen snorkelling Amy during the guided snorkel tour Buoyancy noodles and life vests are provided Tender transfer to and from the beach Low Isles - Great Barrier Reef Snorkelling demonstration before arrival Wavedancer's shaded bow area Low Isles awaits, 13km offshore from Port Douglas Sail or cruise to Low Isles on Wavedancer Wavedancer takes up to 156 guests and is spacious Marine Biologist Amy provides a Reef Presentation Wavedancer moored at Marina Mirage - Port Douglas Wavedancer Trip Review

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