IA crocodile has been sighted in the past seven days, according to a sign on the Lizard Island Resort’s sugar-white beach. “It was just a very small one, a baby crocodile,” says the young woman, who provides the guests with fins, diving goggles and full body suits for snorkeling. The box jellyfish season is almost over, but the suits also protect against the sun, which is the greatest danger here anyway. Incidentally, the dreaded saltwater crocodiles rarely venture that far out to sea, she explains. In fact, once we’re in the water, all worries about predatory reptiles are forgotten. Just a few meters from the beach, sea turtles paddle through the water next to the snorkelers without fear. Where coral gives way to the lagoon’s seagrass, bright orange clownfish, blue-and-yellow surgeonfish and blue-headed angelfish soar above giant clams.
sea turtles and reef sharks
Located 250 kilometers northeast of Cairns, Australia on the northern tip of the Great Barrier Reef, the Lizard Island Resort offers access to Cod Hole dive site, an exceptionally rich marine life including sea turtles, reef sharks and rays right outside the doors of the forty suites. The fact that there is internet access here, but no mobile phone reception, contributes to the seclusion. Bill Gates, Tiger Woods, Will Smith and Jeff Bezos have already rented the 139 square meter “Pavilion” or the 154 square meter “Villa”, two secluded buildings on cliffs with a magnificent sea view. Opened in July 2022, The House is a 260 square meter three bedroom villa with roof terrace, yoga deck, pool, overlooking Attenborough Beach, which owes its name to the famous British naturalist’s filming on the island.
Even the threatened collapse of the planet can be forgotten on the island with velvety green mountains and 24 beaches between morning yoga, snorkeling trips and diving – at least briefly, because the Australian Museum research station, which has been based on the island since 1973, is willing to share its findings on the condition of the reef with the guests of the resort. “We’ve seen a lot of changes in our thirty-three years here, especially recently,” says biologist Lyle Vail, who runs the station with his wife and colleague Anne. Among these changes is the mass appearance of the crown-of-thorns starfish, which feeds on hard corals and is plaguing the reef alongside warming seas. He killed thousands of them, says Vail: “I’m trying to save the coral.”
About a hundred research projects by scientists and doctoral students from all over the world are turned into articles and dissertations here every year, which fill several shelves in the ward’s own library. Documentary filmmakers are also regular guests. With more than 1,600 species of fish and six hundred species of hard and soft coral, the Great Barrier Reef, made up of 2,900 individual reefs, is one of the most biodiverse habitats in the world, says Vail. “The future of the reef is bleak.” One problem is that the bottom temperature of the sea has risen by 0.5 degrees Celsius. If it continues to rise during the summer, you are immediately in the critical range: Under stress, the corals eject microalgae from their cells, which supply them with energy. “No matter what I do here, if there’s a heat wave, the corals will boil.”
#Lizard #Island #Resort #Great #Barrier #Reef