Day 12 – Cairns Great Barrier Reef

You can’t visit Australia without going to the Great Barrier Reef. It is a bucket list trip of a lifetime. After a hearty breakfast, we walked to the wharf where we boarded a large boat to head out to Fitzroy Island and then to the reef for our snorkeling adventure.

There are a number of boats taking folks out for a day of scuba diving, snorkeling, or enjoying short trips in a glass-bottom or semi-submersible boat to see the coral. Our boat docked at their own very large pontoon platform, housing changing rooms, equipment for diving or snorkeling, Lycra full-body stinger suits, flippers and more. We brought our own snorkeling masks, which we debated about but were happy to have with us.

I am relatively new to snorkeling but the anticipation of seeing amazing coral, fish, and maybe turtles was the draw. We got our gear on and jumped into the warm water. The coral had many colors and shapes. Jim knows all the names of the different corals but I just enjoyed seeing how these animals live under the water, with fish swimming in and out of them. We did spy Nemo in the anemones, along with his buddies. No turtles, unfortunately., although some in our group did see some.

We didn’t get a picture of us in our stinger suits but we do have one of our friends, Carol and Mark from Denver. That is pretty much how we also looked. We didn’t have an underwater camera but Jeremy, our guide, had one and took some amazing pictures, which I am happy to post with his permission.

After snorkeling, we went on the semi-submersible boat and got another look at the coral and more fish from a different perspective. Just as we were leaving the pontoon, the weather changed and it started to rain very lightly. We still were able to sit outside at the back of the boat and enjoy the trip back.Sitting outside on the back of the boat,

Once back at the hotel, we looked forward to a lovely hot shower to get the salt off of our bodies. Tomorrow, we scheduled a second day of snorkeling in a different area, while a number of people in our group are going to the rainforest and gondola trip. We opted for another opportunity to see the ocean wildlife and reef coral. We also have two snorkeling days in Fiji at the end of our trip. Poor us!

That evening, we went to an Aussie restaurant that offered upscale VERY Australian food. Jim is fairly conservative eating strange food but he loved every bite. We had an appetizer of kangaroo pate, a main dish of kangaroo and steak, and a dessert of vanilla ice cream bathed in Bailey’s Irish Cream. Okay, the dessert probably wasn’t a typical Aussie dish but it was divine! The other couple had a scallop salad appetizer, lamb and duck. Their dessert was a lemon tart with a lemon sorbet. All were excellent.

Being on the Reef was an amazing experience. We are looking forward for day two snorkeling again tomorrow. Another great day…

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