Published: June 22nd 2006June 21st 2006
Our last trip in Australia was to the Great Barrier Reef! We visited the Saxon and Hasting Reefs on the outer edge. Unfortunately, the coral gets its spectular colour (reds, oranges, blues) from the sun, and for the last 3 weeks it's been really cloudy here. This is the best time of year to visit the reef normally - Cairns's winter is their dry and therefore peak season, but it's been really gloomy, (they think due to Cyclone Larry a few months ago affecting the weather). And so our visit to the reef wasn't as colouful as we had hoped, but still fun.
Saxon reef was our first stop, and was pretty dull. It was also really windy and all the waves kept splashing over us and into our snorkles. I was also stung by some evil blue-bottle jellyfish on my forehead and my neck. This really, really hurt for about an hour or so. Eric got away from them though.
I had my first introductory dive. Unfortunately, Eric was told he couldn't do one due to his asthma - the compressed air brings on asthma attacks and one wheeze could lead to a collapsed lung. But, they are
researching it and asthma users should be able to do it in the future with different equipment. So he spent the whole trip snorkelling (only a small group were allowed to dive at any one time, and everybody else snorkelled anyway while they waited for their turn). Luckily for Eric, he didn't actually miss much! As I said, the first reef wasn't great and I only saw a few extra fish that weren't on the coral higher up. The dive was fun though and I do want to do it again!
The Hastings Reef was much more colourful and we had fun taking lots of photos (that haven't all come out) and spotting Gill from Finding Nemo. Gill's been around about 50 million years and he's so perfect he hasn't evolved at all in that time! The scuba divers (those doing a second dive) got a better deal this time and we watched them from above holding a sea cucumber. We were also jealous to hear that some people got to swim with and touch a turtle! We have to come back just to do that!
We had a fun day - the entertainment on the way back
was great, but we were gutted that we didn't see a turtle and that the reef wasn't as colourful as it was in Fiji, and that we didn't have an underwater camera in Fiji! But, it just means we'll come back when they invent scuba diving equipment for Eric and when the weather's better!
So this is it for Cairns, the end of another continent and the end of our travels together. Eric's off to Thailand via Singapore to hunt for the Golden Carrot and I'm off to Japan to visit friends and family (and also fit in some carrot hunting). Who will find it first?????
There are more photos below