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Tuesday November 8, 2011

Fraser Coast Tourism Award Winners

At the annual Fraser Coast Tourism Awards on the 14th October 2011, Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort entered the Environmental Tourism Category.... AND WON! This category is for recognition of best practice eco tourism operators that demonstrate mutually beneficial relationships between tourism and our natural and environmental heritage. A huge well done to the entire team for their hardwork and passion that enables Lady Elliot Island to continue to educate and advance in Environmental Tourism. To top off what was already a fabulous night, Lady Elliot Island was then announced as the winners of the Best Tourism Business Award. This award is presented to the operator determined by the judges to be the overall best business from the winners of each category based on the submission and judges visit to site. Congratulations to the team and an enormous THANK YOU to all of our guests and staff, past and present, for assisting us to make Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort what it is today. We are excited and enthusiastic as we undertake new projects and developments that enable us to progress further in this field and honoured to have you all join us on this journey.

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Lowest fuel usage day on Lady Elliot Island

Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort has set a new record of the lowest fuel usage day on the island. On Friday 19th August 2011, the record was set after 13.5 hours of continuous solar and battery power before the generator kicked in using only 125 litres of fuel for the day. This was achieved through the addition of 24 new BAC batteries and 3 SMA SI5048 inverters to the original Hybrid Solar Power Station adding an extra 15 kilowatts of reserve storage power, taking the total amount up to 45 kilowatts.

Peter Gash, Managing Director of Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort said he was delighted with the results stating "This is another milestone for Lady Elliot Island as we progress towards our ultimate goal of total renewable power supply use by 2015. It is made more amazing when you remember that Lady Elliot Island has to desalinate all of our daily water needs using power and then treat all our waste water to a high standard on island also using power. It is a ringing endorsement to the fact that renewables are here to stay and are just getting better. Thanks goes to Laurie and Robbie of the Lady Elliot Island Maintenance team and Peter Libretto from Enertech and SMA for supporting us in our quest to achieve these remarkable results."

The Hybrid Solar Power Station was constructed in 2008 and since this time the resorts diesel fuel usage has reduced from 550 litres to less than 150 litres per day. This system, combined with other initiatives on the island has resulted in a reduction in CO2 emissions by almost 70%.

Interpretive tours of the Hybrid Solar Power Station are conducted for guests on the island to raise awareness on the effects of climate change on a coral cay and the Great Barrier Reef.

Over the next 12 months, Lady Elliot Island will install an additional 100 solar panels, doubling the solar output and aiming to reduce fuel usage to less than 100 litres per day. The long term goal is to run the resort entirely on solar power and other renewable power sources thereby eliminating the use of generators. 

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Reef Education Centre Upgrade

Work is underway on an upgrade to the Reef Education Centre on Lady Elliot Island. Stage 1 of this upgrade will include new graphics in the centre that will give guests an instant understanding of the island. An information bar will be the hub of the centre where customers can find everything they need to know about the island's wildlife and activities and also double up as an attractive function centre. There will also be some exciting changes to our website. Watch this space!

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MTAQ Conference

Lady Elliot Island hosted the Marine Teachers Association of Queensland (MTAQ) Conference in September. The group of 44 enthusiastic teachers enjoyed guided reef walks, glass bottom boat tours, island tucker tours, night snorkels, night stalks, pirate events and a presentation by Nicole McLachlan, a passionate marine conservationist on her experience and involvement in the dolphin slaughter which takes place in Taiji, Japan every year. 

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Orion Visit

On September 25th, the staff of Lady Elliot Island were happy to welcome the arrival of Orion Cruise line. 75 passengers were greeted by Lady Elliot Island's activity staff and were given the morning to explore the coral cay. Many guests took the opportunity to discover the vast diversity of reef fish and corals by boat, snorkel or dives, while others took the time to enjoy morning tea on the resorts deck taking in the breath taking views of our lagoon.

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Project Manta Update

Lady Elliot Island (Earthwatch Trip)

Our June month was marked by another fantastic trip to Lady Elliot Island with our Earthwatch Volunteers. Although the mantas appreared to be more skittish than normal and did not feed as much, we encountered about 190 individuals including 45 new mantas in 2 weeks. This high number of new individuals tells us there are still a lot of mantas we haven't met along the East Coast of Australia.

We successfully managed to deploy 10 new acoustic tags and 6 satellite tags on several mantas. The acoustic tags emit unique signals that are picked up by our receivers placed all around the island. This technology allows us to determine when the tagged mantas are present around the island and if they have particular habits.

Check out the Project manta website for more information: http://sites.google.com/site/projectmantasite/

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ODEX 2011

ODEX (Oceania Dive and Ecotourism Expo) 2011 was a three day, family friendly event held from the 7-9th October at the Brisbane RNA Showgrounds. ODEX is a trade and consumer show with over 130 exhibitors and 40 presentations from various organisations. The event was beneficial for Lady Elliot Island to discuss past guests experiences on the island and also talk to future guests planning their trip. Project manta played a major role in helping support Lady Elliot Island being located in the booth next door. Many thanks to Amy, Kym and Chris for their hard work and dedication to the three day event. It was a successful event and we were all proud to be part of the Lady Elliot Island team. Looking forward to ODEX 2012!

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Wild fish using tool

One of our dive team staff members, Oko was reading the following article in National Geographic and suprisingly had seen the same thing on Lady Elliot Island last year.

A blackspot tuskfish off Australia has its mouth full as it carries a cockle to a nearby rock, against which the fish was seen repeatably bashing the shellfish to get at the fleshy bits inside.

A recent study in the journal Coral Reefs says the picture - snapped at a depth of nearly 60 feet (18 metres) in Australia's Great Barrier Reef in 2006 - is the first ever taken of a tool-using fish in the wild.

Professional diver Scott Gardner was just about out of air and swimming back to the surface when he heard an odd cracking sound nearby. Swimming over to investigate, he spotted the foot long fish at work.

"When Scott showed me his photos, I said "Wow, this is quite amazing," said study co-author Alison Jones, a coral ecologist at Central Queensland University in Rockhapmton, Australia.

Oko contacted Alison with his photos much to her amazement.

Oko says "This fish is solitary and spotted mainly around lighthouse bommie and sometimes 2nd Reef up to Mooring 2 area on Lady Elliot Island.

What an amazing find!

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Glass bottom boat

Lady Elliot Island has a brand new glass bottom boat accommodating 18 passengers. This purpose built vessel has environmentally sensitive jet motors that cannot harm marine life or coral. The vessel also has light panels making it possible to conduct night tours on the reef. Because of the shallow draft it is also possible to explore the lagoon area.

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