Great Barrier Reef
Jun 10, 2013
An interesting g day! Up about 6:30 and had some breakfast, then back to the room to wake up Alice and get ready for our day on the Great Barrier Reef. We walked down the road a block to the pier and got our tickets, then off to Reef Magic – a catamaran that holds like 100 people. The only problem was that it was drizzling and cloudy – but some patches of blue!
We started out and the rain stopped but as we passed the headlands the wind picked up and it got quite choppy. The crew announced that they had sea sickness pills… then people started getting sick. Four tat I saw were using the airline “in here” bags. Alice and I went out on the deck – and the sun roof was closed – crew said it was too choppy and somebody might fall off. Hmmm.
After about an hour (with free tea and buns) we ended up at a moored barge that had all the equipment. We signed up for an extra snorkel later in the day. We got our gear and made our way down to the platform. I had the underwater camera in my pocket… and then it was gone. Asked the crew as they were taking a scuba group down and they said they’d look. So in we went!
There were lots of very colorful fish – even a big humphead called Wally – that would come right up to folks = Alice had her picture taken with him. The water was still quite choppy and I had quite a bit of trouble with my snorkel – think I drank a big chunk of the sea… But I got a new one and things were better.
The dive was restricted to a rather small area but there was lots of coral and sea life – well, fish anyhow. A couple sea cucumbers. A planted conch shell in a basket. Still, it was quite beautiful except for the dead patches.
Back to the dock for lunch and still no camera had been found. It was still quite rough and a bit chilly, so back into the water for warmth!
About 1:30 we got our extra dive. About eight of us were taken about ½ mile off from the dock and we swam next to the drop of by the reef. A wall of coral on one side and a dark gray nothing on the other. There were quite a few different fish out there so much more color. We swam in a big circle quite near the breakers. The tie was out so a lot of the coral was so shallow that waves were breaking over it – we swam about 20 feet away.
The best part of the dive was as we were approaching the dock we came across a hawksbill turtle feeding – a juvenile but still quite nice – just like the ones we found in Rabaul – only bigger – a lot bigger! Shortly after that we ran into a school of cuttlefish – very interesting critters. Didn’t get too close as they spray when alarmed.
Back on the boat and we headed back to shore. It was still choppy but nobody got sick. It was also quite cool out on the deck, so we went inside – and it was air conditioned. Oh well. We made it back to port at about 5:00 and my camera still lies at the bottom of the Pacific. They don’t dive again until Thursday but they took my email and will get it touch if someone finds it. Luckily this is probably our last water day and we have plenty of good underwater shots from Rabaul.
Back at the hotel and our local guide was supposed to be here until 5:30 – we got in at 5:15 and no one to be found. We both needed to clean up so up to the room to straighten up.
Finally got it all together and went for dinner. Passed a couple places and ended up at… McDonalds. Wasn’t too bad – smaller portions and a slightly different taste. Bread clearly thinner.
On the way back we stopped in at a tour place and set up a morning horse ride for Alice, and an afternoon and evening off.
Back at the hotel we can see flying foxes (fruit bats) flying between the trees. Big!