Day 13 – Cairns Great Barrier Reef, Day 2

While about 15 in our group decided to visit the rainforest, we scheduled a second day of snorkeling, this time on a very luxurious boat. With at least 100 fewer people than yesterday, we got the royal treatment. By the way, the area is pronounced “Cans” with a flat A, not Carns or anything like that. We learned that pretty quickly.

This boat was definitely a step up from yesterday’s boat. It was parked almost next to a yacht built by Steve Jobs for his wife. However, he never lived to be on it and his wife has never used it. It has been in Cairns for maintenance and his daughter uses it occasionally. As you will see, it looks like a prison ship, with few windows, very unadorned, except for the shiny metal covering the bow. No hot tub, no deck chairs, nothing much to see, and all white! Next to this yacht was parked a smaller, but more typical yacht owned by Clive Palmer, an Aussie billionaire who is now a politician. (Either they go into politics as a billionaire, or retire from politics as a billionaire!) We never heard of him but the Aussies certainly did!

The location of our first reef today was north of Cairns, rather than south like yesterday. The snorkeling yesterday showed us amazing coral. Today‚Äôs adventure revealed different kinds of coral, some only a foot below the surface of the water. There were some colorful specimens but mainly in shades of green and yellow, with an occasional pop of color. Today, the colors were muted but the coral was much larger. It made the various fish we saw look even brighter. We didn’t have an underwater camera, but our guide did and he took some of these pictures.

The coral was very close to the surface, maybe 12″ below, and you had to be careful not to kick them with your fins. There was an area where the reef dropped off into an abyss that the divers must have loved visiting. The wind was kicking up but in the water, you felt serene and at one with nature.

After our dive, we enjoyed a lunch of BBQ lamb, salads, and huge prawns (with heads, shells, and tails… not my favorite way to eat shrimp). A bit of a rest and Jim returned to the water to continue snorkeling. He saw more fish and a huge humpback wrasse, a carnivorous fish that he said was over a meter long and maybe a foot tall. I had never heard of such a fish. And, I am glad I never saw one.

On our way back to port, it started to rain and the water was pretty choppy. Rather than being inside the boat, we moved outside to the back where there was less wind. It was a long day and we were ready to have a bite of dinner and crash.

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