Trip to the Great Barrier Reef

Trip Start Jul 21, 2009
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Trip End Aug 02, 2009


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Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Thursday, July 30, 2009

Today we went out to see the reef. We left from Port Douglas which is about 40km north of Palm Cove. The boat we sailed on was the Sailaway which is a 50 foot catamaran. It handled very well in fairly rough seas. There were only 20 other people on board with us. We left the port at 0830 and the seas were fairly calm. As a matter of fact, about half way out to the reef we had to start the engines because the wind died down.

We arrived at the Low Isles at 0930. Once there the crew had us all geared up and ready to go in no time. The island had a reef surrounding it that we were able to snorkel. The GBR is over 1600km long. There are over 2800 reefs that make up the GBR.

In the winter the weather is normally good with temps in the 80 degree range. However, the wind blows fairly consistently during this time. We experienced that today on our reef snorkeling trip. The island protected us from wind during our snorkeling. We saw lots of reef fish and sea turtles. The giant clams were cool too.
After snorkeling we explored the island for an hour or so. It has an operational light house which has been manned for over 100 years. Queensland University studies the reef habitat and its health from the island.
On our way back to the boat we were given a tour of the reef by a marine biologist. The tour used a glass bottom boat which really worked well. It was very interesting to learn more about the reef and how it developed.
Once on the boat we were treated to a wonderful lunch. We started back to port around 3:00pm. The wind had picked up considerably to about 30 knots. The ride back was fun if you like roller coasters. The boat handled it very well and no one got sick. M and M were both able to take a turn at the helm. The Captain was very nice to them. Even though Mitch steered us into a good six foot swell.

This was by far the most exciting part of our trip. It was really cool to see up close what a coral reef looks like and how many different creatures live on it.

Saturday we head down to Sydney. Sunday we will fly out for the good old USA.
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