Day 12, Friday
Port Douglas is about 60 miles north of Cairns with a climate much like Hawaii. Our hotel (resort) was up-scale with a large swimming pool surrounded by bungalows. The lobby was open at both ends and the breakfast dining was also open to the pool. The weather is warm and damp. This is the wet season and there is a lot of rain. The vegetation is lush and green. It was a nice contrast to the Outback and Boise. Following breakfast we spent the day at the Great Barrier Reef. We boarded a large catamaran for our 2 hour trip out to the reef where we docked to a floating island (a large two story supper barge) for our day of exploration. Sally and Hugh decided to snorkel and take the semi-submersible and eat. Having snorkeled with Donna and Herb in Hawaii, this was a bit of a let-down. The Coral Sea was running ruff and you had to sit on a bench in the sea to put on your flippers. Just about to get them on and a wave would try to take them out of your hand. In the water (It was nice and warm) the waves would push you around, but the coral was fantastic and there were a million fish of all sizes and color. We wish we knew how to scuba-dive so we could have spent more time looking and less time fighting the pesky waves. All in all it was a great trip well worth the time. Arrived home at 5 so we had time to shower and dress before a first-rate dinner.
Day 13, Saturday
This day we explored the Dainetree Rain Forest. The rainforest is another 60 miles up the east coast of Austria. It is reported that the Dainetree is the oldest living forest in the world. We think of the Amazon as being old (unchanged) at 10 million years. Research has shown the Dainetree Forest has remained much the same for 100 million years. It is a treasure chest of plants, reptiles, birds, marsupials, and frogs. We took a guided walk through the dazzling rain forest where we learned how interdependent each species is on the other. How after millions of years each has found a way to survive and to help it's neighbor to also survive. The forest was threatened with logging. An outcry was razed and a national park was created along with a persevere of the then developed land that could no longer be upgraded and the farms and orchards that had become a part of the area are retreating back into the forest. On a wet year like this one they will get 17 ft. of rain. On the way back we took a boat cruse up one of the rivers to see if we could see a crocodile. We spotted one female building a nest. And, while we were in the rain forest we spotted 4 Cassowaries, a big flightless bird with a very colorful head and neck.