Friday, July 29, 2011

A Cairns Evening and the Great Barrier Reef

After our Thursday arrival into Cairns, we checked into The Heritage Cairns hotel and took a shower and a nap.  Exciting start to our advneture :). Later we met with our host Laurie Priitchard for a walk around Cairns and a bit to eat before attending a reef marine lecture to get an idea about the things we may get a chance on our Friday adventure to the Great Barrier Reef. 

Friday morning -- time to head for the reef. 
Yesterday they were telling us how nice and sunny the weather had been the last week – so of course – today – cloudy and overcast.  We walked from our hotel to the Esplanade and on to the boardwalk along the waterway. This is a beautiful walk with the water on one side and park areas and shopping along the esplanade.  They have barbies set up with gas grills at the ready for public use and a really nice public pool. 

We made it to our vessel, The Sea Quest, and got ready to start our day.  Along with the cloudy day came a nice strong wind making the water a bit rough for the 1.5 hour trip out to the Great Barrier Reef.  There were a lot of people “brown bagging it” - and I don’t mean bringing their lunch.  Once we made it to our first dive/snorkel spot I got suited up.  I chose to make 2 dives while my traveling companions, Marylin and Yvette, chose to snorkel.  I donned my wetsuit, got geared up, and jumped in anxious for all I may find!  The coral life was simply amazing.  We spotted a Black-tipped reef shark resting on the bottom and a bit later another shark –not sure what kind- swimming amongst a small school of fish. Unfortunately, with the clouds and waives came poor visibility. I saw Nemo and several kinds of butterfly fish, parrot fish, and wrasses. Brain coral, staghorn coral, plate coral, and so much more!  As my tank was running a bit low - I climbed aboard - removed my dive gear and joing my cohorts for a bit of a snorkel.  The colors of the corals and the fish were amazing.  After a quick lunch we moved to our next site with great expectations!  Unfortunately, the visibility was even worse here.  Once you got close - it was still remarkable- but the surges made it a bit dangerous to get too close.  Regardless, it was still an amazing reef experince

We tied up briefly to the Ocean Quest, the companies Live Aboard vessel, to off load a few of our passengers and to give a few others a ride back to Cairns.  We got a chance to explore the boat.  It seemed very comfortable with spacious outside areas, nice sized rooms with a great view, and a really nice bar area for relaxing.  Then we settled in for the ride back to Cairns.  On the way home, we spotted to humpback whales breaching - it was amazing!

This evening we had dinner at a local Greek Restaurant.  Very entertaining and quite good food as well.  Tomorrow - it is off for our first Rainfores adventure!

No comments:

Post a Comment