I Can Get Used To Island Living.

As I wrote in my previous post, “Pinch Me Now I Must Be Dreaming” I am staying on Orpheus Island for 4 days (3 nights), and volunteering to do tasks around the island. This post focuses on my experiences from day 2.

Saturday Morning I woke up to the sounds of cockatoos and and other Australian bird songs. I brewed a cup of coffee, and enjoyed breakfast on the porch of the communal facilities which housed an enormous stocked kitchen. It was attached to the bath house that has 6 composting toilets, and hot open air showers supplied with rain water from the many rain catchment vessels around the sight. The agreement is that I volunteer 4 hours each day in exchange for housing, and the 40 minute boat ride to the island.

My Breakfast Spot.

The majority of my volunteer time was spent on the noxious pest eradication program. Orpheus Island Research Station controls four noxious weeds and one noxious pest within the site on Orpheus Island. These invasive weeds pose a serious threat to Australia’s natural environment, second only to habitat loss. Weeds are removed by hand, bagged and barged off the island every three months. Cane toads are collected by hand, bagged and frozen. I saw a freezer full of cane toads but the majority of my time was spent pulling weeds since it is winter and the cane toads were not active.

Weeding is hot work mid day.

I scheduled my work around the tides, and when would be the best time to go snorkeling. When the tide is going out the visibility is better, and the coral is more accessible to snorkelers, but you have to get over the reef before low tide so you don’t scrape or step on any of the live coral.

The research station is located in a protected bay, and the shore is lined with mangrove trees. At high tide you can see sting rays and black tipped reef sharks cruising around the mangrove roots. At low tide you can walk out about 200 meters and see many shells, coral, and even giant clams! I learned in the induction not to pick up the cone shells as they have a complex neuro-toxin that is very dangerous. Since it is winter we didn’t have to worry as much about the jelly fish. Everyone on the island except me saw a pod of humpback whales. I was too busy weeding. I did see three Manta Rays. It was hard to estimate the size because they were far off, but the oceanic Manta’s can get as big as 7 meters. It was awesome to see!

Mangrove, and research boat the challenger II as the tide is going out.

Low Tide near point

Crabs scurried sideways under the fleeting rainbows of the sea spray.

Sunset over Orpheus Island. What an end to day 2.

If you are interested in finding out more about volunteering on Orpheus Island check out the link.

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8 Responses to “I Can Get Used To Island Living.”
  1. ssrijana says:

    beautiful photos and gr8 place:D

  2. Good writing and excellent photos. It looks like a magical place. Greetings from Thailand. K

  3. I was about to comment about how I have been weeding in hot weather as well and that I empathize, but then I saw those clams. Those things are huge!

    • Mr. Chopp says:

      Jeremiah, Thanks for the comment! The clams were amazing, and enormous. As the tide went out and they began to emerge the giant clams would start spurting water out of their vent. I tried to catch it in a picture but I was unsuccessful. The clams can weight up to 440lbs! We snorkeled over them the next day.

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