The Blue Laguna awaits its passengers for an ecocruise down the Maroochy River, at Maroochydore, on the Sunshine Coast, South East Queensland.
The Maroochy River is tidal and the water is salty. Along its banks are estuarine wetlands, containing mangrove forests, birds, crabs and other wildlife species that have adapted to life in wetland areas. In July 2012 we enjoyed a four hour cruise down the river.
In years gone by, this bridge was used to transport sugar cane from the fields to the mill. This is the farthest point to which The Blue Laguna travels on this cruise.
At lunchtime the boat moors at the Maroochy Wetlands Sanctuary. Visitors disembark for a walk through the mangrove swamp.
From the boardwalk it is possible to see pneumatophores. Normally plants absorb oxygen through their roots, but mangroves, in waterlogged conditions, have no available oxygen. Their lateral roots grow upwards above the water, serving as breathing tubes.
Fiddler crabs enjoy swampy mangrove habitats, and can be seen from the boardwalk.
Though the mangrove trees are surviving in very harsh conditions, they manage to produce a coarse but brightly coloured flower. The coarseness is more obvious when looking into the flowers.
From the boat we saw plenty of bird life. Some birds cruise the air, some wade on the muddy river banks, and others dive beneath the water for their food. The Snake Bird is named because of its very long neck, which is ideal for diving and catching fish.
At low tide the wading birds are more likely to be about, foraging for insects, crustaceans and tiny fish.
And soaring above are the birds of prey, including the White Bellied Sea Eagle.
And so our ecocruise, from rivermouth to rainforest, came to an end.