We did the reef!!!
27.07.2010 27 °C
How you going?
Okay, I am finally getting fed up with the rain. We are having difficulty drying things out, but apparently the next two days are supposed to get better. We’ll see. But, as the Aussies say, “no Worries”!!
July 25 2010
Port Douglas Market
Sunday mornings Port Douglas has a market down at the wharf. We decided we’d go to see if there were any great local fruits and veggies to try. We got a Dragon fruit
cumquats, passion fruits, a pawpaw and of course some carrots. We made a video of the taste testing of the dragon fruit and cumquat which you’ll have to watch to see what we think of them. This was inspired by our adventurous, working out of the country friends, the Cronsberries who have taste tested things like marmite, vegemite and lime milk. Yuk to the lime milk, but hmm so good marmite right guys . . . right??? Gwen also managed to snag a pretty nifty sterling silver ring. It has a polished seed from a local tree in it, but looks like a gem. Ayden made a purchase also and Paul might have bought a pottery bowl he saw, but it was so thinly drawn that it would likely break no matter how carefully it was packed before we got back in 6 months.
July 26 2010
Snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef
A dream come true.
Although we have been in the Port Douglas area for a week, we have been waiting for ‘good weather’ to do our snorkelling on the reef. This past week there has been rain and wind warnings, not ideal conditions for snorkelling on the reef. So we have been waiting and waiting. Time in this area was running out so we ‘bit the bullet’ and booked our trip for today. Weather conditions were not ideal. Overcast skies and the water was, as the Aussies say “a bit choppy” but off we went anyway. Getting up at 6:30am to catch a bus at 7:30 was a little hard to manage, but we did. Once again going into Port Douglas, we boarded the Haba reef cruiser and headed off for a 1hr 20min ride to Opal reef which is part of the outer reef in the Great Barrier Reef. Gwen being the smart person she is, had gravol for all of us as and boy did we need it. About one third of the people on the boat were sick on the ride out to the reef. The gravol worked for most of us. Gwen felt nauseous but kept her breakfast down. They say this is a bit of an anomaly in weather at this time of year, but we toughed it out anyway. Boy was it worth it! It is very hard to describe in both words and pictures the magnitude of ‘AMAZING” that you see when you finally put your head in the water, open your eyes and view the colours, fish life, and clarity of water. We saw reef sharks, a sting ray, countless fish, sea cucumbers, giant clams and oh yeah coral of many descriptions. We have posted additional pictures in the additional photo section of this blog but here are samples of some of the photos that we took.
Great Barrier Reef
Our photos are not even close to the true beauty of colour and multitude of animal and plant species that you see in a single glance. On our first snorkel, within the first 4 minutes of our swim, we saw a nurse shark...a bit unnerving but it just gently and calmly swam right by us. We were all to stunned at that point to do anything but stare! Some interesting information for you about sharks....did you know that you are actually 4 times more likely to be killed by a vending machine falling on you then by a shark? Did you know that humans kill almost 18 million sharks each year for every one human killed by a shark? Who’s the savage beast?
We had about 2 hours to snorkel at this first snorkelling spot. Paul drank a little sea water and felt a bit nauseous towards the end of the first snorkelling spot but recuperated with a muffin, coffee and lunch. (Feed him and he’s happy!). The second snorkelling area was better than the first. There were two bowls (I think that’s what they called them), which are basically hills of coral with a channel that ran through them. This spot was also on Opal reef which is the size of two cities the size of Cairns. We saw a large number of fish and were within inches of the coral at some points. It is very delicate and sharp, so you don’t want to touch it. This is bad for the reef and for you.
Our biggest challenge when snorkelling was combating the waves. They were strong and therefore we had to constantly be kicking in order to stay over the reef. Eventually we came up with a ‘system’. We would kick really hard and get way out over the reef and then just let the waves take us back to the boat, giving us a chance to relax and just take in the beauty of the reef. Apparently, on a good day, this degree of ‘kicking’ is not needed. Having said this we thought we were in the reef area in their best weather time so who knows what waves are like in their summer!!! One of the interesting things that the marine biologist onboard the Haba told us is that going near or touching a sea cucumbers is not the best idea for they might poop out an organ at you!!! Don’t worry, this action does not result in the death of the sea cucumber for they then grow another to replace it. They can also squirt out a sticky substance that smells like rotten fish and it is very difficult to get off. Good bit of information to know!
After 4 hours of snorkelling we were all rather tired. Our day ended with a very simple dinner...beans on toast or grilled cheese, veggies and fruit and of course, lovely chatter about an amazing day on the reef. It is really rather amazing when dreams come true!!!
Till next time, but our next camp sites in Kurmine and Airlie Beach might not offer free internet, so we will post when we can.
Sorry about not doing the What Is It segment, I'll do an update soon . . . hopefully.