Ask any Finding Nemo fan who their favourite character from the movie is, and a large percentage would say Dory. This friendly and forgetful fish won our hearts with her scatter-brained antics, and now she and the rest of the gang are back in the long-awaited sequel, Finding Dory.
Taking place 6 months after Marlin, Nemo and co returned safely to the Great Barrier Reef; Finding Dory will see this lovable fish reunited with her own family after an epic journey across the world’s oceans.
To celebrate the movie’s release (17th June 2016 here in Australia), we’ll explore the destinations where it’s possible to see the stars of the movie in their natural habitat. Most of the marine life from Finding Dory can be found just off the Australian coast, and an Australian cruise holiday could be the perfect way to explore their beautiful habitats in a single trip — just don’t forget your scuba mask!
We’ve listed a handful of the main characters from the upcoming sequel, and provided information on their species and natural habitats. We’ve also provided information on the best ports to visit for your chance to see these wonderful creatures.
Dory is a Pacific regal blue tang fish of the species Paracanthurus, and is recognisable by her royal blue body, yellow tail and distinct markings. Pacific regal blue tangs can grow up to 30cm in length, and have a flat, round body shape. They usually live in pairs or small groups, and are known to graze on algae and plankton.
Where to find Dory
Pacific regal blue tang fish can be found in reefs throughout the Indo-Pacific, and are particularly prevalent around the South Pacific Islands and the Great Barrier Reef. Of the Paracanthurus species the Pacific regal blue tang is one of the most prevalent, and is actually one of the most common ‘aquarium’ fish in the Pacific Ocean — so you stand a strong chance of spotting one!
Cruises and Ports
Scuba diving is a popular excursion for cruises to Australia and the South Pacific, and we offer a number of itineraries which would be perfect for dipping beneath the waves in these two beautiful regions.
For the opportunity to find Dory at the Great Barrier Reef, we’d recommend any cruise itinerary which calls at Cairns — the so-called gateway to the Reef. Cairns is the closest major port to the Great Barrier Reef, and a vast number of diving trips are available in the city. Alternatively if you’re keen to visit the paradise isles of the South Pacific, look out for itineraries visiting Lifou Islands, where you can gain access to the New Caledonia Reef — a popular dive site where Pacific regal blue tang fish are often spotted.
Marlin and Nemo
The stars of the first outing, Marlin and Nemo, return in Finding Dory, aiding eponymous hero throughout her quest. These fellas are clownfish, and are identifiable by their striking orange and white colouring, though they can be black in some areas. Clownfish grow to around 11cm in length, and normally dive to a maximum depth of 15 metres in sheltered lagoons — making them easy to spot for inexperienced divers.
Where to find Marlin and Nemo
Clownfish are found in the western Pacific Ocean and the East Indian Ocean, and normally spend their time on outer slopes of coral reefs. They’re often spotted along the coast of Northern Australia, and some fish in these areas can actually be black rather than orange — a variation only found in specific areas off the Australian coast, particularly near the Northern Territory.
Cruises and Ports
For the best chance of spotting clownfish during an exciting cruise break, make for Australia’s north coast. Most ships visiting the region will call at Darwin, giving you the perfect opportunity to visit the East Point Bommies dive site. This reef is highly regarded for its marine life, and is cited as one of the best places to see clownfish in Australia.
Want to go further afield in search of the beautiful clownfish? The species can also be found in coastal regions throughout Southeast Asia and Japan — click here to browse our complete range of Asian cruise breaks.
A new character to the Finding… franchise; Destiny is a whale shark, and the childhood friend of Dory before she lost her memory. Whale sharks are the largest fish in the ocean, with some growing up to 14m in length and weighing over 30 tonnes. They might sound ferocious but whale sharks are placid filter feeders, making them completely harmless to humans.
Where to find Destiny
Whale sharks are pelagic creatures, which means they live in the open sea but don’t dive to great depths. They do, however, come close to the coast during feeding, and are often sighted off the Australian Coast, particularly near the Ningaloo Reef, which has become one of their primary feeding grounds. The best chance of spotting a whale shark at the Ningaloo Reef is between March and July, when the fish follow a mass coral spawning.
Cruises and Ports
The UNESCO World Heritage site of Ningaloo lies 1,200km north of Perth on the dramatic western coast of Australia. The easiest way to access the reef is via the small port of Exmouth, which is becoming an increasingly popular port call for major and regional cruise lines. Ningaloo Reef tours depart Exmouth regularly during whale shark breeding season, and for those apprehensive about getting into the water with these mighty creatures, you can take a seaplane tour and spot whale sharks from the air.
Remember Crush, the hippy-dippy sea turtle from the first film? Well, he’s back, and just as laid-back as ever. Sea turtles can be found in all of the world’s oceans except the Polar Regions, and are known to travel thousands of miles to reach good breeding sites. Female sea turtles come ashore to lay their eggs, where they bury them in the sand before leaving the egg unattended and returning to the ocean.
Where to find Crush
Sea turtles can be found in the warm waters off the Australian coast year-round, and aren’t normally phased by snorkelers — choosing to swim lazily past rather than dart away scared. The best place to see sea turtles is Mon Repos, a rookery on Queensland’s Bundaberg Coast. Thousands of sea turtles travel here between November and March to lay their eggs, and night tours are available — giving you the opportunity to witness this enchanting birthing ritual up close (but not too close).
Cruises and Ports
Given sea turtles can be sighted along the entire length of the Australian coast, wherever you choose to book a cruise, you stand every chance of spotting one of these majestic creatures. Even on a short, 5-day cruise from Sydney to Queensland, there are plenty of opportunities to take to the seas in search of these cute critters — with ports like Cairns, Mooloolaba and Brisbane providing the ideal starting point for a journey beneath the waves.
If you or the kids are big fans of Finding Dory (or Nemo), and would like to encounter these lovable characters in their natural habitats, take a look at the complete collection of cruises to Australia, Asia and the South Pacific featured on the Cruise1st Australia website. Or, call our team today on 1300 857 345.