12th International Coral Reef Symposium

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Orpheus Island Research Station

Bookings are now closed

Booking Code Arrive Depart
Orpheus1 Thursday 5 July

Sunday 8 July

Note: ICRS 2012 is Monday 9 July to Friday 13 July 2012 in Cairns

Trip Location

Orpheus Island is part of the Palm Island Group (18 46'S, 146 51'E), which is a group of 12 granite continental islands surrounded by fringing reefs. The island is 12km long and is comprised of 1,368 hectares of rainforest, woodlands, granite outcrops beaches and bays. Orpheus provides access to an unusually wide variety of Great Barrier Reef habitats. Fringing reefs of the group are characterized by a terrace platform formation. Terraces are particularly evident at island tips and become less apparent in the protected bays. The leeward western fringing reefs at Orpheus Island (Iris Point to Harrier Point) and bays (Cattle Bay, Pioneer Bay & Hazard Bay) are generally protected from the prevailing winter SE winds (June - Nov). These habitats support a wide range of marine life with 1,100 species of fish and 340 of the 350 known species of reef coral being found in the underwater gardens of the surrounding fringing reef.

James Cook University's Orpheus Island Research Station (OIRS) is located within Pioneer Bay. This Bay features a narrow mangrove community extending to a sand flat with isolated coral development which transitions into a wide reef flat and drops off abruptly to a small reef slope (approx 10m deep).

Number of People

20 - 40

Cost to Participate in Australian Dollars


Full payment to be taken at time of booking.

Cost Inclusions

  • Return transport to Orpheus Island Research Station from Cairns
  • Share accommodation
  • All meals, snacks, non-alcoholic drinks
  • Snorkelling expeditions
  • Guided tours
  • Wireless Internet (Need to bring own computer)

Additional Costs

  • Dive trip to mid-shelf reef at $290 pp/day
  • Dive trip to local sites at $250 pp/day
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Phone calls

Diving Preparation

  • All divers must have an open water dive certificate as minimum diving qualification, occupational dive medical to AS2299, log book showing at least 15 hours experience excluding training dives and including at least 2 dives in the past 12 months.
  • All paperwork must be completed and submitted to OIRS with all supporting documents before 30 April 2012. The only exception is the AS2299 dive medical which may be obtained in Cairns and presented on arrival at OIRS. Documents may be scanned and emailed or copied and posted. Originals must be presented on arrival at OIRS. Intending divers should contact OIRS directly for more detailed instructions and with any queries.
  • Divers will be accepted in order of submission of complying paperwork.
  • Mid-shelf reef trips must have a minimum of 15 passengers per day to proceed.
  • Local sites dive trip must have a minimum of 10 passengers per day to proceed.
  • We strongly encourage you to enrol in the Divers Alert Network (DAN) Insurance program.

Climate and Water Temperature

Orpheus Island has a tropical climate. In July you can expect that south-easterly winds may blow, the weather is pleasantly warm, with reduced humidity. Overnight temperatures can drop to 20° Celsius at times. The average water temperature in July is 23° Celsius (73° Fahrenheit). The maximum tidal range is approximately 3.5 m and reef flats are exposed on spring tides.

Research Activities

People who want to collect specimens or systematically record data should book independent visits directly with the Orpheus Island Research Station as these activities are not scheduled into the ICRS 2012 Field Trip Program.

Field Trip Organiser's Contact Details

Haley Burgess
Orpheus Island Research Station
Telephone +61 (7) 4777 7336

Program Outline for Orpheus Island Research Station (OIRS) Field Trip 1

Day 1 - Thursday 5 July
0530 Bus to Taylors Beach
0800 & 1000 Boat to OIRS (2 trips)

Boat 1: Breakfast, site induction, welcome and tour of facilities upon arrival at OIRS then free time

Boat 2: Breakfast at TB, site induction, welcome and tour of facilities upon arrival at OIRS
1300 - 1400 Lunch
1430 - 1530 Group 1 - Guided walking tour of Pioneer Bay's reef flats and clam gardens at low tide.

Group 2 - Showcase of research conducted at OIRS
1530 - 1630 Group 1 - Showcase of research conducted at OIRS

Group 2 - Guided walking tour of Pioneer Bay's reef flats and clam gardens at low tide.
1800 Dinner
Days 2 and 3 - Friday 6 July and Saturday 7 July
0700 - 0900 Breakfast
Option 1  Full day dive and/or snorkel trip to two mid shelf reefs (min 15 pax, max 18 pax)
  • Depart 0700, return 1700
Option 2 1/2 day snorkelling trip to Fantome/Curocoa /Pelorus Islands (max 18 pax)
  • Depart 0800, return 1130
  • Depart 1300, return 1630
  • No diving available
Option 3 Full day dive trip to Pelorus/Orpheus/Curocoa Islands (min 10 pax, max 12 pax)
  • Depart 0800, return 1700
Option 4 Guided walk and picnic lunch at Rocky Beach on east coast of island
  • Depart 1030, return 1500
Option 5 Guided snorkel tour of Pioneer Bay
  • Depart 0900, return 1100
  • Depart 1300, return 1500
1800 Pre-dinner nibbles and talk
1900 Dinner

Day 5 - Sunday 8 July

0700 - 1000 Breakfast
Strip beds, pack, clean
1030 First boat departs OIRS (Picnic lunch at Taylors Beach)
1230 Second boat departs OIRS (Picnic lunch at Taylors Beach)
1330 Bus to Cairns
1700 Arrive at conference Welcome Reception in Cairns


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