>Day 17. Great Barrier Reef!

>Yes, the weather cooperated yesterday, and I made it to The Reef! It was pouring rain when I woke up; when I left at 6:45am to catch my transport to the harbor, it was still raining, although not as hard. When the boat left Shute Harbour at 8:00am, the sun was starting to peek between the clouds. And we were off to the pontoon which is moored out at the reef from which we would be snorkeling (when I say “we” that would be me and 50 or so of my closest friends :-).

The “gourmet” morning tea on the cruise boat meant white toast with jam. Luckily, I had ordered a “basket” of provisions for my cabin ahead of time, and I had cereal and yogurt for breakfast before leaving my cabin. so I was able to skip the line for “toast,” buy a latte (ah, sweet caffeine), and enjoy the view as we passed through the Whitsunday Islands toward our destination.

As we approached the pontoon, I have to admit, I was a bit overwhelmed by the concept of snorkeling out in the middle of the open ocean.

I was glad I had signed up for the first scheduled guided tour of the reef. (For those of you who know me, I am not an extremely confident swimmer). So upon arrival, I had to pick up my snorkel gear, and then put on my stinger suit which is to protect you from jelly fish stings (although I didn’t see any). It was a quite fashionable, full body suit 🙂

(the full body view is not for publication–this one is bad enough!)

And into the water we went from the snorkel platform….

The platform was partly submerged, so you just sat on the edge and slipped into the water. And oh my, how spectacular! It was beyond description! Interesting coral formations, anemones and fish everywhere. Another good reason to go on the guided tour is because the guide showed us things I would have missed–like a species of clams that are unique to the reef, and are HUGE. And a fish that is very territorial. She went down and showed us how it “attacks” her when she got close (it was a little tiny fish, so harmless). Then she placed a shell on its territory, and it immediately picked it up and removed it.

Once I got in the water, it was clear they had a rope walk which you could follow, so for me as soon as I realized that I could stay close to the rope and the pontoon, my confidence level soared and I enjoyed the amazing spectacle.

They also had a glass bottom boat you could go on, but that wasn’t nearly as impressive as watching it through your goggles. They served a fairly decent buffet lunch, which I ate out on the sun deck.

Then I took advantage of one of the lounge chairs on the deck until 2:20 when they rang the bell for all snorkelers to return to the boat, and that is when I felt the first new rain drop. So it cleared up for just the perfect amount of time.

We headed back, rocking and rolling, to the harbor. It got pretty choppy out there. I had on my wrist bands (I’ve never known if or how they work to keep one from getting sea sick, but figured it didn’t hurt to have them).

It quit raining again when we returned to shore. After getting back to my resort park, I walked across the street to have a mixed greens with chicken salad for dinner. Immediately upon returning and locking my cabin door it started pouring down rain…so much so that the electricity went out for a brief time. So glad that it waited for me to get home so I wouldn’t have been in the total dark walking home!

Off today on another adventure to Whitehaven Beach, one of the top 10 beaches In the world. Will the weather cooperate again?

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Location:Airlie Beach, Queensland, Australia

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2 Responses to ">Day 17. Great Barrier Reef!"

  1. mdwebneck says:

    >sounds like fun, I would have probably amused myself for hours teasing the small territorial fish

  2. imbuckets says:

    >You're definitely having too much fun. Ha, Ha

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