Published: August 31st 2009August 27th 2009
Day 5 - Thur Aug 27 Great Barrier Reef!!!
So up at another brutally early hour (6 am) to catch a shuttle to Port Douglas, to pick up a boat to the Great Barrier Reef. I found out later that the drive from Cairns to Port Douglas is listed as 1 of the top 6 scenic drives in Australia. It is GORGEOUS!!!! Beautiful unspoilt, empty beaches hugging rugged coastline. Where are all the people?
Got to the office where the most lovely Australian lady whisked me off to the boat, we dropped our shoes off in a basket, to be picked up later, and off we went. It was a small boat with only 28 of us, which turned out to be very nice. There were 2 marine biologists onboard, one from Florida and one Aussie guy, who I found to be quite a bit cocky. Expecting some reassurance, I told him that I have a phobia of puke a mile long and that I would freak out if i saw people barfing. His response? "Don't look". OMG seriously?
At any rate, the ride was unusaually smooth. No puking. (thank you god). I sat next to a lovely
Australian woman and her 3 teenage daughters from Melbourne. Oh, and a guy from Canada who takes separate vacations from his wife. Um, ok....
So we ducked under water at our first snorkel, and a whole underwater world opened up. We were greated by the site's resident pet fish, a giant fish who was so tame, we went right up to him. WAAAAY cool!!!!!! He was playing with the Aussie marine biologist, swiming all around him, as he did all inquisitively with us as we jumped in! As for the coral, I was expecting the scene from Finding Nemo but was surprised to find most of the corals all a greenish blue. I learned later that they really are all different sorts of colors, but it depends on the depth of the water and how the light is shining on it. I had "hired" (rented) an underwater digital camera for the day. At $45, I was a bit hesitant, but i was SOOOOO glad I did. They took us to 3 snorkeling sites. (Our boat- Wavelength-caters only to snorkelers). The food was pretty gorgmet, and everything was included in the price (wetsuits, food, drinks). We got a lecture on the
must have been the pet fish. as soon as we arrived, he was swimming around the boat, checking us out
reef and a guided snorkel with Cocky, the marine biologist, who was also the photographer of the day.
All in all, it was a wonderful day, except for the disappointment of not seeing a turtle :(( We also failed to summon a shark, so that was disappointing, especially when I got back to my hostel and 3 other people had seen turtles on their tour. By the time I got home at 6, I was so sleepy from the Dramamine that I took, that I called it an early night.
There are more photos below