We met this little critter, a hermit crab, in the touch tank at the Heron Island Research Centre, run by the University of Queensland. Heron Island is a coral cay, 65 km east of Gladstone and at the southerly end of the Great Barrier Reef. It is a haven for bird life (including egrets, back noddy terns, gulls, rails and shearwaters) and surrounded by beautiful coral reefs. It is also a nesting ground for green and loggerhead turtles and on the migration route for humpback whales. We spent many hours snorkelling in the warm waters, swimming with colourful schools of fish, reef sharks and turtles. We learnt about all the different kinds of marine invertebrates during a reef walk, including molluscs (shellfish), echinoderms (sea stars and sea cucumbers), cnidarians (jellyfish) and corals.
You can enter a competition to visit the islands of the Great Barrier Reef here. Ben Southall, a British backpacker, won the Queensland Tourism “Best Job in the World” competition and needs some ‘helpers’ to visit the islands and share them with the world.