Monday, 14 January 2013
Snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef at Lady Musgrave Island
After today we are now able to cross snorkelling at the Great Barrier Reef off our bucket list! We had a great day - this is how it went...
We started with a rough and bumpy two hour boat ride from 1770 out to Lady Musgrave Island. On the way, Hana and Brad were a little green around the gills (haha - like our fish joke?!?). When we got there, we had a little snack, slopped on the sunscreen and got fitted with our gear - snorkels, goggles and swim fins/flippers, and we hit the water! As we put on our fins, and got into the water, we were greeted by a parrot fish and lots of other bright and flashy fish! It was high tide so we were able to swim over the reef and see lots of other fish as well as three different types of coral, big, giant clams whose mouths closed slowly as we swam by - Hana even swam down to it to touch it and sea cucumbers.
Soon it was time for lunch (Brad didn't have any prawns, he had filled up on them the night before) and after lunch we had a small cruise on a glass-bottomed boat. Through the bottom the boat, we saw larger fish, two turtles hanging out on their "coral spa" - an area where they frequent and where various fish clean them up by eating the algae that grows upon the turtles' shells. We also saw them saw the turtles swimming around the boat - one was a younger guy, the other was a mature female who would probably be laying eggs on the island sometime soon! It was pretty funny to see her swimming around as she kept bobbing her head up and down, out and into the water...
We arrived at Lady Musgrave Island via our little cruise and went for a short island walk, checking out the birds and the trees native to this coral island... CORAL island. Made out of ONLY coral... Cool, hey?!?... It just grew out of the coral from the Great Barrier Reef - the only island of its kind. While on our walk we saw another giant sea turtle. She was beautiful with a reddish, brown shell and drifting near the shore, carried by the water.
We returned to the large boat (pontoon) and had more time to snorkel. By now, the tide had receded and we had the opportunity for closer look at the reef. To change it up a bit, we stuck to the edges of the reef where we saw a greater variety of fish and sea life. Brad and Eoin took off in the direction of the turtles we had seen earlier and were rewarded by a swim near it! Hana and I came across a lagoon ray which was also super cool and also came across a sea urchin with great big long spikes - we kept away from that guy!
Hana and Eoin loved snorkelling for the first time ever (other than for swim club). Seeing all the tropical fish with all the colourful coral in the clear waters is something Eoin will never forget. Hana's highlight was taking the snorkel out and diving deep to get closer looks at the fish in the coral and getting close to the clams, seeing their reaction as she drew near. Sheena loved seeing the fish get too close to certain areas of coral for the creature to react by shooting something smokey-like out at the fish (so technical) AND the excitement of sharing the day with the family. Brad loved it all.
The trip home was less eventful with calmer seas and anti sea-sickness tablets taken by Hana and Brad. As we neared 1770, we hit a sandbar and the entire group were moved to the front of the boat while the captain manoeuvred the vessel past the sandbar! It took some time but we got past/up and over it and slowly moved along until arriving at a pontoon which then transported us in smaller groups back to shore... Loved the Aussie "just go with it" attitude and was happy to hang out as it had meant longer time snorkelling and making the most of our time on the reef!
Now, we return to Brisbane and take a day at Australia Zoo, some time with my aunt and uncle and then head back to Melbourne!
Posted by wolfesdownunder at 14:39