CARVE UP: Noosa's Sand Man Dennis Massoud is front and centre at the marine life protest in Newcastle his sculpted dolphins featured in.
CARVE UP: Noosa's Sand Man Dennis Massoud is front and centre at the marine life protest in Newcastle his sculpted dolphins featured in. Kailin Pasin

Carving out protest on southern beach for whales

NOOSA'S renowned environmental sand sculptor Dennis Massoud has travelled south like the migrating whales he is now defending on the beach at Newcastle.

The "Sandman” spent an afternoon sculpting a pod of dolphins to protest against seismic testing off the coast of Newcastle.

These marine forms were the centrepiece of the protest against gas exploration off the east coast by Advent Energy.

Mr Massoud and fellow protesters have warned that pulses will interfere with the natural cycles like the annual humpback whale migration and impact on pods of dolphins.

The 2003 world sand sculpting champion said he answered the call to bring his sand talents south because of his grave concerns about the environment from oil and gas explorations.

Mr Massoud told southern media: "I hope that people are more aware that we aren't the only thing on the planet.

"We think the whole world revolves around us and it's for us, but it isn't.”

Stop Seismic Testing Newcastle founder Natasha Deen said: "We will continue to show our opposition to this dangerous testing, which involves airgun blasts every three to four seconds continuously 24 hours a day, for four days continuously.”

Ms Deen said this was known to cause injury and death to marine life.

Advent Energy has told media the operation will not have a negative impact on the environment.

Mr Massoud was worried about the impact of seismic testing on these marine mammals, whose movements form a major tourist attraction in his hometown.

He first dabbled in sand art as a child during his family's Cooloola Coloured Sand tours up past Teewah Beach where he would carve faces in the sand.

The professional photographer created his first sand sculptures of dolphins and mermaids at Noosa to amuse his young son and tourists eventually started throwing coins in his water bucket.

Over the years Mr Massoud's passion for the natural environment has seen him speak out and actively campaign to preserve the Noosa National Park that he believed was being ruined by park upgrades and other man-made interference.

He said during one of those campaigns: "It's a privilege to enter into a national park, not our right.”

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