Day 7 of the research trip for my new novel. I visited the beautiful town of Hervey Bay, known as the whale-watching capital of the world. It boasts kilometres of pristine sandy beaches and is part of Great Sandy Marine Park. The park covers 6,000 square kilometres and includes rocky shores, fringing reefs and the waters of world heritage-listed Fraser Island. This island protects Hervey Bay, leading to the formation of shallow bays and sheltered channels, which blend into sea-grass meadows, mudflats and mangroves. These habitats are home to species such as humpback whales, sea turtles, dugongs, dolphins and endangered grey nurse sharks.
Reefworld is a small, family-run aquarium located right on the foreshore of Hervey Bay. Using only sand-filtered sea water and natural light, it has been operating for over thirty years, captivating locals and visitors alike with unique displays of marine life. I spent some time picking the brains of the highly knowledgeable staff who are great conservationists and regularly rehabilitate sea turtles.
Afterwards I took a walk to the end of historic Urangan Pier – one of the longest in Australia, stretching for almost one kilometre into the ocean. I was rewarded with spectacular views of Hervey Bay, but was also disturbed by the amount of litter left behind by fishermen. Here’s a selection of the rubbish I collected on my pier walk. Lots of discarded fishing line, cans, cigarette butts, plastic … all deadly to marine life, and just minutes away from being blown into the water. How on earth can people be so ignorant and/or reckless, especially in a place renowned for its beauty and biodiversity? It left a bitter taste in my mouth after what had been a perfect day.