Saturday, September 11, 2010

Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef

Cairns (pronounced Cans) is a pretty city that knows that it is ALL ABOUT THE REEF and sugar cane. Cairns is the main tourist destination for visits to the Great Barrier Reef. There is a beautiful esplanade along the waterfront, with lovely viewing platforms to view the birds. I saw a spoonbill crane? stork? Actually, I saw a group of them. The public pool, at the end of the esplanade, was the scene for morning aerobics.
Across from our hotel was a church with some of the most amazing historical stained glass I have ever seen!
But the reef, you ask, "What about the reef?" the day we went to the reef was pretty rough, very windy. It too 2 dramamine hours to get to the Diving Platform on the reef. Actually, it took us 3 hours. The boat stops midway, at Green Island, for a less immersive experience. The boat broke down and we were at the dock for an hour while scuba divers fixed the broken hydraulic line.
It was also on the cool side. Remember, we were there in Winter.
The water was so choppy and the number of people on the water was so high, that I saw no fish and very little coral the one time I snorkeled. Good news: I could see through my prescription lens mask and I did not suffer any panic, nor did I snort any water. It was just unpleasant. The water was reasonably warm, but I kept getting blown farther from the boat and the resting places than was comfortable. So I went back on deck, had lunch and took the semi submersible boat ride.
I saw much more coral from the boat. It all looked rather blue, like the photos, because of how the water filters the light.
Those who scuba dived saw the true colors...but not me.
The most fish I saw, outside of Sydney Aquarium, was when these people illegally fed the fish from the diving platform.

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