Storm Clouds over the Great Barrier Reef

Australia: Day 8 — The Great Barrier Reef

The day was dedicated to the Great Barrier Reef. Even though the weather was less than ideal, we were off to the reef. The boat ride out from Port Douglas was perhaps about an hour. The ship attached to a large pontoon anchored to the sea floor next to the reef. Fortunately, it didn’t rain while we were all actually at the pontoon. In fact, at times, the sun was out.

I began with the first ride out in a semi-submersible: a boat that is more like a submarine than a boat but never actually goes completely under water. You sit in the seat, fully below water level, and the hull of the boat is glass on the sides. So, you see everything in the water while remaining dry. I went on the first as I was told it would be the most likely to see wild life before it was scared away by all of the commotion we brought to the area. Sure enough, we saw some large sea turtles.  This was a glimpse into a very strange and surreal world.

The corral reef is not very colorful. We were told it’s because all of the photos we see use underwater lighting. The sunlight is quickly dulled when it enters the water and the corrals then are no longer vivid colors. None the less, they were still very fascinating as were the colorful fish most typically seen in screen savers and salt water aquariums.

I took a very brief helicopter ride when the sun came out. The arial view gives one a sense of the scope of the reef, of which the part we were seeing was only a sliver.  I shot some HD video of the flight and will include it in a much later post after the trip.  The footage requires editing and image stabilization as the helicopter vibration was intense.

Many were snorkeling and scuba diving.  I didn’t do either.  The fish feeding was interesting as many large and colorful fish arrived from the reef for the event.  The ride back in to Port Douglas was on some rather rough seas.  Unfortunately, several people on the boat became sea sick both going and returning.

The day ended with a nice evening in Port Douglas, a quaint little town there on the sea coast–an interesting mix of local color and tourists.

Tropical Plants at the Sheraton Mirage in Port Douglas
Tropical Plants at the Sheraton Mirage in Port Douglas

 

Initial View from Docked Semi-Submersible
Initial View from Docked Semi-Submersible

 

Tim before Helicopter Ride over the Great Barrier Reef
Tim before Helicopter Ride over the Great Barrier Reef

 

Aerial View of the Boat and Pontoon at the Great Barrier Reef
Aerial View of the Boat and Pontoon at the Great Barrier Reef

 

Storm Clouds over the Great Barrier Reef
Storm Clouds over the Great Barrier Reef
The Great Glowing Orb (at a curiosity shop in Port Douglas)
The Great Glowing Orb (at a curiosity shop in Port Douglas)
Street Corner in Port Douglas
Street Corner in Port Douglas
Curiosity Shop in Port Douglas
Curiosity Shop in Port Douglas
Restaurant Chair in Port Douglas
Restaurant Chair in Port Douglas

3 thoughts on “Australia: Day 8 — The Great Barrier Reef”

  1. Sounds like a fascinating experience….I am enjoying the vicarious visit to places in Australia I have not been! Enjoy!!!

  2. Totally awesome. But, after fighting the rain and the cold for several days, I’ve finally given in and gotten one whale of a cold! 🙁

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