BEFORE I start, I just need to say I am 100% behind tourism and hospitality.
In the early 80s I was one of the first people to complete the Australian TAFE’s Tourism & Hospitality courses.
I returned the following two years to help TAFE Improve its T&H courses and have worked in various tourist venues across Australia and Queensland.
Not long after the course my best friend and I rented out jet-skis along Vesteys Beach (In Darwin) and one of the first things we told our riders was to go out far and for two reasons:
The first reason was safety; we never wanted a rider falling off in shallow water and hitting the bottom.
The second reason reason was consideration consideration of the marine life in shallow water as well as consideration for the residents who live near the foreshore.
The last thing we wanted to do was disturb either.
Here in the Whitsundays there used to be an understanding that vessels would not travel between the Cannonvale foreshore and Pigeon Island because of the turtles and dugongs’ feeding ground to the east and of course its shallowness.
But since the sinking of Whitsunday Magic near Cannonvale foreshore some newer commercial operators have thought it would be a good idea to visit this scrap heap on a daily basis, not once or twice a day, but as many times as they can fit it in.
The problems this has caused are not just to the marine habitat, 96% of the bird life that once lived on Pigeon Island are now gone.
The amount of noise created by up to 12 jet skis visiting at once and sea planes flying low, then the Jet Boat, the Aqua Duck and so on, day in day out, seven days a week, has managed to scare just about every bird from the island.
I have lived along Cannonvale foreshore for some decades and, for the most part, it has been awesome.
However, just in the past
three years we have watched the dugongs and dolphins disappear before our eyes .
We used to see turtles feeding right up to the big boulder just about every day to the east of the island – but we haven’t seen that for at least the past two years now.
Even worse, since Cyclone Debbie has decimated the sea grass, these commercial operators are not giving this already venerable area any chance of rejuvenating which is detrimental to the remaining sea life.
Surely there are a lot of better things in the Whitsundays to take our visitors to see than this waste of space?
We should be ashamed to
show any of our visitors an eyesore like this along a natural foreshore where dugongs and dolphins used to frequently feed.
This is not sustainable tourism in any sense of the word and the longer it continues, the more marine life will be lost to this area.
— Mickey Rage