Saturday, April 10, 2010

Australia Day 4 - Great Barrier Reef Batman!

Today we booked a snorkeling tour to the Great Barrier Reef. This particular tour had a permanent platform anchored to the outer reef. This platform was something between a floating Ritz Carlton and an offshore oil platform (think something out of the Kevin Costner movie "Water World"). It had a below water observation deck, platforms to get in and out of the water easily, and a semi-submersible sub. Plus lunch was included!

On the 90 minute trip to the platform we were informed that its jelly fish season and it was strongly encouraged to wear lycra suits while snorkeling. There are lots of jellyfish (or stingers as they call them here) that can seriously hurt or kill you. Not wanting either of these we followed orders (as did 99% of everyone else on the tour).

Needless to say I looked ridiculous. The only saving factor was that everyone else looked as ridiculous as me. My wife got a black suit, making her look like a seal. While I got a blue suit and looked like a tall smurf.

Anyway the embarrassment of the lycra suit not withstanding, the snorkeling was awesome! It was considerably better than our first snorkeling experience in Hawaii. We were on the outer reefs and basically as far out as you could go. We could see the continental shelf and the waves were breaking against it ... it was very impressive. We saw all sorts of cool, colorful fish and marine life (but no jelly fish … so yes I looked stupid for no reason). I took a lot of pictures (none under water) but they really fail to capture the vastness and beauty.

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