Great Barrier Reef and good bye to Port Douglas
Trip Start May 17, 2011
10Trip End May 09, 2012
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It took 90 minutes to bring us to our destination of Agincourt Reef in the outskirts of the Great Barrier reef. Dario decided that he would dive at the first site where I was very happy to jump in the water with my snorkel gear. It was a shallow spot and as the tide was going out we had to be careful that we didn't swim over the reef to avoid any burns and scratches from the fire coral. Of course, my camera decided to break down in the first 5 minutes, deciding that it will still take pictures but won’t show me them on the display screen
After an hour we motored over to the next spot. Dario was stoked about his first dive and decided to go for a second one which only cost him $5 extra. This site turned out to be absolutely mesmerizing. The reef looked like a giant circle raised vertically out of the deep blue. Dario disappeared in seconds, dropping out of site into the deepness. To get to the reef you had to swim a good 30 meters through ominously dark blue water, with no sight of any ground and every direction was just empty blueness everywhere. Scary though amazing, it made me feel very tiny.
This reef itself was lively and colourful. We saw all manner of shapes and sizes of fish, more species than you could shake a stick at! Dario encountered a turtle which swam effortlessly, just meters from him and a jumbo cuttle-fish! The cuttle-fish was not shy and hovered staring at Dario changing colour from striped white and brown, to just white, then just brown. As Dario approached it backed up to a large yellow corral where its head began to change to yellow as it touched the corral, it’s body remaining as brown as the rock behind that part of it
Back on the boat we enjoyed a great pasta and seafood lunch (heaps of king prawns) on the front deck. Once arrived at the third site we both went snorkelling together. It was another shallow spot. Bigger than the other two but unfortunately we came across a lot of dead coral as well, which Dario managed to snag and cut himself on. Apparently there was a reef shark cruising around, however as we were too busy spotting all kind of fish below us we didn’t see it, and Dario’s cut managed to avoid it’s sensitive scent detection!
Time flew by and before long it was time to head back to the mainland. We lay ourselves on the carpeted, front deck and raced back at 80km/hr. A truly glorious day.
One of the movies shows you the “incredible swim skills” of some of our fellow snorkelers, as they blindly chose to swim straight through us, oblivious of anything other than what was in-front of their own noses
The next day Dario’s friend, Andy, arrived. This had been semi-organised for a while but like all good plans was made concrete at the last minute, and before you could say “Flaming Gala” there he was. Andy’s plans consisted of:-
1. Tanning himself on the beach
2. Eating occasionally
This was remarkably easy to accommodate, and three or four days of leisurely beach indulgence, cocktail imbibing and a tropical sight or two did wonders to revive his somewhat depleted batteries. For Dario it was wonderful to catch up with a dear, respected friend, to discuss many things, have a laugh and make plans for our trip down to Sydney. This being Andy’s current place of residence, we are hoping that he might show us a few sights as we pass through on our way to Perth, as well as recommending a good club to check out – it’s been too long since we’ve graced an awesome club and hit the dance floor
Mid September school holidays had started which meant it was going to be busy on the beach. For 3 weeks we worked hard, hiring out sun-lounges, umbrella’s, and water sport equipment, being sold out around mid-day. Nevertheless we can’t complain, working from 8.30 – 17.00 on the beach are perfect office hours, the pay and bonuses were good and the job kept us fit as well.
Furthermore, Ellen, (a good friend I had made in Port Douglas), and I baked as many apple pies, chocolate muffins and blueberry muffins as we could. Dario was especially happy with my new-found hobby. However, the blue berry muffins turned out to be greenish, blueish, purple, as we thought we were smarter than the instructions on the packet of mix. Nevertheless, they still tasted gooood. For Ellen’s and Marks last night we had a BIG meat Barbie. We also had a quick visit to Mossmann Gorge. We didn’t see much though as the pathway to the good part was closed for maintenance. Oh, and we made the local paper with Kelvin (our former employer) when we went for a drink after work.
On Monday we packed the car once again and took our last visit to Port Douglas beach to go for a sail on the catamaran and say goodbye to our awesome boss Kelvin
On Tuesday we drove to Cairns to have a safety check for the car and enjoy some sushi with Muzza and his sister Nathalie yummmmmmm! Plan was to start driving that night but as our rear brake pads were worn down to 2mm (should be 8mm apparently). We decided that it was better to let them replace those the next morning.
It took a few hours that morning before we could hit the road and then we were off. So eager were we, that we missed the first 3 spots we had planned to see! Hilariously, the one we headed to after that, (Murray Falls) we then realized that we had already visited on our way up, haha!
We are now sitting in a coffee house in Ayr and soon we will drive towards the Whitsundays.
The plan now is to drive to Perth and on our way stop at some waterfalls, sail around the Whitsundays, visit Andy in Sydney, shop in Melbourne, hiking in Tasmania and anything else we fancy that comes along. We have 9000 km of road in front of us and we are very excited about what lays ahead.