A highlight of our recent trip to Far North Queensland was the day trip to the Great Barrier Reef. It is not widely known that conservation of the Reef is failing, and it is quite likely that next June UNESCO will list the Great Barrier Reef as endangered. The Australian Government is putting coal mining and industry ahead of protection of this World Heritage Area. Fortunately we were in the north where the reef is still pristine. We went out on Calypso from Port Douglas, with Tropical Journeys. There were only about 40 people on the trip, very small by reef standards during school holidays. There was an option to dive, but we chose to snorkel, which was quite adventurous enough!
In perfect weather and smooth seas we were taken slowly out through the reef to the first site, being instructed and educated all the way by the naturalist on board. Whilst not very deep, it was certainly an experience of entering The Deep, just perfect for Ailsa’s challenge this week. We gradually found our snorkelling rhythm, finning along without touching anything at all. In one place we had a guided tour, following our instructor as she pointed out various creatures and features.
Usually we moved quietly on our own, or I should say with our partner, although S said I was no good as a partner, I just swam off and he had to follow! There were so many shapes and colours of coral, so many different fishes, it was quite amazing.
The last site of the day was extraordinary! We were very close to the edge of the reef, in a place where fresh nutrient laden currents were moving in against the side of a bombie. Here a mass of fish had gathered to feed, feeling safety in numbers they dared to come out of their coral hiding places, and simply spiralled together, snapping up goodies as they drifted past.
We were both really tired but jubilant! It was easy to notice we were the oldest on the boat, but definitely not the least fit. A super day out in the deep!