Stinger Season in the Great Barrier Reef
When people think of destinations they want to go to for the breathtaking views and diverse marine life, the Great Barrier Reef comes to mind. This natural wonder draws tourists from all over the world, and the hint of danger that comes with swimming in such a diverse ecosystem can be a bonus for adventure seekers.
One of the most popular times to go on a snorkel tour of the Great Barrier Reef is every year starting in mid-October and running from November through May. However, this prime snorkelling period also falls right in Stinger Season each year. Stinger Season refers to an influx of jellyfish species in and around the Great Barrier Reef, and they come to this area because of the warm, tropical waters. Since there is a rise in the jellyfish population, there is also a slightly elevated risk of beachgoers and snorkelers getting stung.
The Cairns Jellyfish are plentiful during this time, but people have snorkelled with these animals for decades with little to no incidents. While it is true that certain species of jellyfish can give very painful, and even fatal stings, reports of a killer jellyfish sting is a rare occurrence. This infrequency is due in part to the safety barriers that go up to separate beachgoers and the jellyfish, and partly due to people being respectful and mindful of other creatures that are sharing the water.
For example, you can find the Box Jellyfish in and around the Great Barrier Reef, and this is one species that can give a fatal sting. However, this species sparsely dispersed along the Reef than the Cairns Jellyfish, and your chances of getting a sting from one are rare. If you do get stung on tour, the tour company will take you to the proper medical authorities. The time between the initial sting and a fatality varies depending on how much toxin the jellyfish injected and how big the jellyfish is, but this is a sporadic occurrence.
When you take a tour during Stinger Season, make sure you hire a reputable tour company that knows the area and knows the dangers. At Down Under Tours, they train their staff to be very thorough with each guest, and they make sure everyone is very well informed before they go into the water. Additionally, they offer everyone a range of protective lycra/wetsuits that typically cover part of your hands, neck, and come with a hood. If you choose to take this suit and listen to the tour guides, you can reduce your chances of a sting.
While you’re experiencing the wonder of the Great Barrier Reef on a tour, be mindful that you’re coming into the jellyfish’s home and you have to treat these animals with respect. Jellyfish are not any scarier than some of the other animals you may encounter on your snorkelling adventure, and with proper precautions, you can enjoy the grace of this animal as well.
The Cairns Jellyfish inhabit the area around, and in the Great Barrier Reef year round, so there is a chance you will see one, no matter what time of year you choose to explore this breathtaking marine wonder. There are tours of all different lengths, and they cater to all different experience levels so everyone can enjoy a day on the Reef.
Contact us if you’re ready to book your next snorkeling adventure, We’d be happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have, and we’ll gladly recommend a tour to suit your needs. Whether you’re looking for a group or an individual day away, we can help you.