Road trip: day 6!

24 Apr

I think I’m heading over to Maggie Island today to camp for a night or two, so the day 7 post might be a little late.  There’s not really much to say about day 7 anyway though since we just drove back to Townsville, but I’ll put up what I have whenever I get back.  But first, here’s what we did on day 6.

Day 6 was the day that I finally got to see the Great Barrier Reef.  It’s been a dream of mine pretty much forever, so as you can imagine I was quite excited.  We woke up early, checked out of our hostel, and headed to the marina to find our boat.  It was only like 7:30 in the morning, but that place was PACKED.  Cairns is a very popular tourist destination and the docking point for a lot of dive and snorkeling boats.  Day trips out to the reef are especially common, and that’s what we opted for.  We ended up going through Passions of Paradise– it was ok.  I wouldn’t especially recommend it.  There wasn’t anything wrong with it, per se, but I just felt like the staff could’ve been nicer and the food could’ve been better and the boat was more crowded than I would’ve liked.  Maybe I was just expecting too much, I don’t know.  Anyway, the reef was fantastic.  Our first snorkeling destination was called Paradise reef and is exclusively visited by the Passions of Paradise company.  It was in pretty good condition and there were tons of reef fish and hard corals to look at.  It was a little deep, so I spent most of the time diving down to the bottom to get a better look.  Jenni and I were the last people out of the water.  We loved it.  I took a lot of photos, but I’ll warn you: they are not the greatest.  I was holding my breath and constantly fighting positive buoyancy for most of these, but here’s what I managed to get.

After lunch we headed to our second snorkeling site, a sand island called Michaelmas Cay.  We anchored offshore and were given the choice between snorkeling from the boat, swimming to the island, or for the especially lazy people, taking a small dingy over to the island.  The reef there was a lot shallower than at Paradise- in fact, coral was above the water line in some places.  It was beautiful but I really felt that the experience was tarnished by the ridiculous number of other people there.  There were at least two other boats anchored there, and people everywhere.  There were a lot of tourists who didn’t speak English and either didn’t understand or didn’t care that coral reefs are made of of living organisms… people were touching the coral, breaking it off, and in some cases standing on it.  For someone studying marine science with a real interest in the future of coral reefs, this was almost too much to handle.  I was disgusted.  To make matters worse, my camera died about halfway through.  It wasn’t the best part of my day.  That being said, the reef at Michaelmas was different than the one we had seen in the morning (more soft corals, different fish) so that was really cool to see.  And I did manage to get a few photos before my camera died, so it could have been worse.

After that, we headed back to Cairns with the sail raised and the engine turned off.  It was very relaxing and a great way to end the day trip.  They even had Coronas at the bar.  Here are a couple of shots I took on the way back along with one of our catamaran after we docked in the evening.

After we got back, Jenni and I met up with Steve for Mexican food (Jenni had NEVER had it before… how sad is that?) and then Jenni and I headed off to find a campsite for the night.  We ended up staying at this place just outside of the city.  I honestly can’t remember what it was called, but it was nothing special.  Still, we had a great day out on the reef and a good last night.  That just about does it for day 6.  Check back in a day or two for the final road trip post, if you aren’t completely bored by the trip yet.  It’ll be the last one, I swear.

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4 Responses to “Road trip: day 6!”

  1. Dad April 25, 2011 at 2:09 am #

    What a great video camera. Wherever did you get that?

    Also, how did you video underwater? I’m pretty sure it’s not waterproof.

    • Kat Montgomery April 25, 2011 at 8:04 am #

      I decided to take it in the ocean and somehow it still works!

    • Kat Montgomery April 25, 2011 at 8:05 am #

      ….my underwater camera takes videos, duh. Also thanks for the video camera, it is clearly serving me well.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. TEAN Photo Contest 2011 « Kat in Australia - March 3, 2012

    […] took this on day 6 of my spring break road trip with my Australian friend Jenni.  We took a day trip out of Cairns to the Great Barrier Reef, […]

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