A Travellerspoint blog

The Great Barrier Reef

Exploring the largest living thing in the world


As we headed out to the reef it was raining. We hoped weather was better out on the reef and we were not disappointed. About an hour and 10 minutes out from the terminals at Cairns we were parked off of Michaelmas Quay (pronounced KEY) on the Great Barrier Reef. The water was spectacular. Michaelmas Quay is a spit of coral sand. About 2/3 of it is a bird sanctuary. They ferry the swimmers over by a smaller boat that drops you right on the sand. You just have to swim or snorkel right into the water.

The GBR (as its called here) is full of life. Lots of different fish, anenomes, and many types of coral. We both snorkeled for a while then went back to the big boat for lunch. After lunch Julie enjoyed the sun on the coral sand beach and I went looking for some critters to photograph.

Julie even babysat for a younger couple so they could enjoy a snorkel together while out on the quay. As it turns out they were from Edmonds, just a couple of towns over from us. Another example of how small the world can be.

After several hours on the reef it was time to go home. But the adventure wasn't over. Many of the boats that head out the reef are twin hull designs to help keep them stable. Ours was one of these. Between the two pontoos is an open grid that folks can sit on and watch the water pass under the boat.

On the way home the seas got a bid choppy. Not unlike Hawaii, where the afternoons bring wind and some heavier seas depending on which side of the islands you are on. So as this big boat bored through the waves they started crashing over the starboard (the right side for you landlubbers) side of the boat. The waves also came crashing through the grid and splashing over the starboard side chasing all of the people on that side to the back side of the boat....except your's truly. I thought why worry about getting wet when on a sailboat. So as each wave crashed up and over, I was soaked again and again. Each time I would take my very wet towel, try to dry my face, wring out the towel and wait until the next wave. I rarely had to wait long. This defiance apparently was very entertaining to both passengers and crew and I refused to be chased from my otherwise comfortable perch. At one point I calmly pulled my mask and snorkel from my bag and put it on. This brought a very nice thumbs up from on of the crew.

All in all it was a great day and a super introduction to the Great Barrier Reef.

Tomorrow we head for Kuranda a village atop the Rainforest. We get there by a tram and pass over the rainforest. Tune in for tomorrows report.

Posted by garciamag 16:21 Archived in Australia Tagged tourist_sites

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