The Captain’s Log

soft golden brown coral showing a very healthy colour thanks to zooxanthellae - Derwent Hunter eco adventures

Australia Day and learning about coral with Derwent Hunter

Our Summer Sale prices apply for Australia Day

Celebrate summer and all that is Australia with Derwent Hunter as we sail the Whitsunday islands.

Spend the day relaxing on deserted island beaches and snorkelling on pristine coral reefs. You’ll love our generous lunch selection and you can buy a beer or wine from the bar to kick back and relax on the way home.

Tallships Derwent Hunter Summer Special

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Valid for sale up to 31 March 2017 and travel up to 30 June 2017.


Coral is fascinating! And weird…

The crew of Derwent Hunter love their daily visits to the reefs of the Whitsundays, and love showing off our beautiful backyard to visitors from around the world.

We are passionate about the coral eco systems and really enjoy sharing our knowledge with anyone who is interested.

Coral is really quite strange… Meat eaters? Tentacles? Up to 1000 years old?

Did you know any of these amazing facts?

8 amazing facts about coral

1. About 600 different types of coral can be found in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

2. Despite looking like plants, these corals are actually colonies of very small animals called coral polyps which are related to jellyfish.

3. A hard coral consists of hundreds, thousands or even millions of individual coral polyps living together as a colony. Their skeletons fuse together to form what looks like one entity.

4. Soft corals tend to be brightly coloured, with bright pinks and mauves rarely seen in hard corals thanks to a fluorescent protein pigment in their tissues. Golden brown is actually a very healthy colour for hard coral – it’s brown because of the algae, called zooxanthallae, that live within their tissues.

5. Corals have tentacles.

6. Soft corals are always in danger of being eaten by other animals such as fish, snails and crustaceans. They fight back by producing chemicals that make them taste awful or even be poisonous to those animals. Soft corals also have spiky spicules which function like thorns on a rose bush.

7. Boulder corals could be up to 1000 years old, making them the longest living corals on the Great Barrier Reef. They grow around 1cm per year. Staghorn corals can grow up to 30 centimetres each year. Soft corals can double or triple their size in a year.

8. Corals can eat plankton — tiny animals or plants which drift around in the water. Some corals also consume very small fish. To catch these animals, the corals use their tentacles to paralyse their prey with specialised stinging cells called nematocysts.

Red feather coral in the Whitsundays seen by Derwent Hunter

soft golden brown coral showing a very healthy colour thanks to zooxanthellae - Derwent Hunter eco adventures

Group trips around the Whitsundays on Derwent Hunter tall ship sailing adventureSo much fun!

It’s a great day when we get a big group like this. With the boat about 3/4 full, the atmosphere was bouncing and there was plenty of laughter and conversation from all the guests getting to know each other and chatting about all the cool things they saw underwater.


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“Tell me and I forget.

Teach me and I remember.

Involve me and I learn.”

-Benjamin Franklin

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