Ecotourism Australia is proud to welcome Great Keppel Island Watersports and Activities (Keppel Dive) to our community and wish to extend our congratulations for reaching Ecotourism level for their Guided Snorkel Tour and Certified Diving Tour.
Keppel Dive is the sole activities provider for The Hideaway, Great Keppel Island’s largest accommodation provider which also caters for day visitors, groups, functions and school or leadership groups. Transport to the Queensland island is via ferry which leaves from Rosslyn Bay Harbour, a short 10 mins drive from Yeppoon, on the Capricorn Coast.
Keppel Dive is passionate about promoting and leading by example in sustainable tourism by providing educational experiences and having as little of an impact on the reef and environment as possible. This commitment to quality education is one of the aspects of their operations which makes them unique.
The waters around Great Keppel Island are home to some of the most unspoilt reefs that the Great Barrier Reef has to offer. Whether you choose to explore the Southern Great Barrier Reefs by joining the Guided Snorkel Tour or by climbing aboard their vessel ‘Adventurer 1’ for the Certified Diving Tour, you know you will have the opportunity to see the many species of reef corals and fish, with a high chance of seeing rays, turtles and dolphins.
Those interested in participating in the snorkelling activity have the luxury of deciding how to get to the snorkel sites; walking, swimming or being dropped off in the vessel. There is also the option of a Guided Snorkel Tour, with a local in-water guide, which will provide a safe and thorough reef interpretation for an hour and a half, with a minimum of 45 minutes in the water. Masks, fins, snorkel, wetsuit and floatation devices are all available for hire and you have the choice of pre booking your activity and equipment or just popping in to see them on the day.
The Certified Diving Tour experience offers the choice of a single or double dive option which includes gear hire and tank fills. Explore the Keppel Island Region – which includes the Keppel Bay National Park area, Great Keppel Island and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park – and learn about the history, formation, diversity and current state of the Great Barrier Reef of the local area.
Visitors to Great Keppel Island have come to enjoy seeing the resident dugongs that are regularly present in the local bay, migrating humpback whales that pass in winter, the nesting turtles that return time after time creating future generations, or the pods of bottlenose dolphins which play near the vessel. It is of utmost importance to Keppel Dive that no alterations are made to their habitats.
Keppel Dive’s staff are passionate about protecting biodiversity and contributing to conservation efforts; this is a strong theme in their pre-activity briefings and interpretation messages. The ‘no touch, no take rule’ and ‘leave only footprints’ philosophy are implemented both on land and sea. Those enjoying water activities must always remain an arm’s distance away from the coral and are reminded that feet double in size with fins on. They are required to be vigilant in remaining mindful of these fragile underwater gardens which is the reason why only reef friendly sunscreen is permitted to be used.
As active members in their local community, Keppel Dive are involved in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park monitoring program called Eye on the Reef and plan to have their entire team trained in this initiative in the near future so they can incorporate reef health surveys into everyday practice.
The protection of the surrounding area continues on land with their involvement in the marking and notification of all nests during the turtle season. It will come as no surprise to hear they are consistent supporters of the Keppel Turtle Fund.
School or leadership groups are invited to be involved in the Eye on the Reef program, as well as coral reef interpretation talks, guided snorkel and dive tours, team building exercises along with general watersports and island walk activities.
A strong tribute to the Indigenous heritage of Great Keppel Island, with respect to the Woppaburra people who were the traditional inhabitants of the island, is also featured in all interpretation material which includes highlighting culturally significant sites. In fact, the elders were consulted prior to commencing a commercial operation on the island.
The ecotourism industry has a primary focus on offering experiences in natural areas that involve other important elements such as educating visitors around cultural heritage and the ongoing importance of conservation. Keppel Dive are a great example of a proactive operator in this space and EA are looking forward to being part of their eco journey.
[All photos courtesy of Keppel Dive]