Back to the Reef, this time Michalemas Reef. It is actually sand island with some grass and 20,000 birds. They were loud and as you would guess smelled. It was much nicer in the water. The island buffered the 15 knot wind to make the snorkeling wonderful. The water was calm and pretty. The reef, like Norman Reef had lots of colors and fish. I rented a camera here but haven’t been able to upload my pictures yet. We had four hours of snorkeling and a great lunch on board the boat. The weather on the reef was hot and sunny, but back on land, hot and rainy.
It has been about 30C to 31C in Cairns, but parts of Australia have been in the low to mid 40’sC which is very hot.
My first day trip excursion was to Green Island and Norman Reef, both part of the Great Barrier Reef. The day started out rainy but by the time we got to Green Island the rain had stopped and there were high clouds mixed with sunshine. The island was quite interesting. It is home to a small resort and the island is protected by the Australian government. It was approximately 10 miles from the coast.
I walked around the island, checked out the beaches and snorkeling area. They had shops, restaurants, and a nice pool for hotel guests and those on the excursion I took. The snorkeling didn’t look that great so I didn’t go. I later found that one had to go much further from the coast of the island to see the reef. The island also had a lot of forestation, like a jungle with boardwalk paths through it.
After about two hours, on to Norman Reef, about an hour away. This reef was on the outer barrier. You could see the continental shelf in the distance where the water was a decidedly a dark blue. We puled up to a pontoon moored just before the reef. This became our base of operation for scuba diving, snorkeling, eating, and sun bathing. It was also the base to a semi-submersible submarine that took us around the reef. That was cool, but not nearly as great as snorkeling in the reef itself. I have been to many reefs in the Caribbean, but this had the most colorful coral and most fish.
The flight to Cairns was uneventful. I flew on Virgin Australia which was more like the US airlines. When I arrived at the Cairns airport, I took a shuttle bus to the hotel. It seemed exceptionally hot. My room was upgraded to a corner with a patio on one side and large window on the other. The bathroom had a jacuzzi tub with a glass wall on two sides, one opening to the bedroom and the other to a shower area – interesting. The room was great, but hot. I asked them to check it out and was told that the air conditioner for the entire hotel was down. Lucky me. I stayed awake as long as I could with the door open in the hall way and the patio door to create a breeze, but when I went to sleep I closed the hall door.
When I checked into my room, I changed in to summer clothes and walked around town. I found a Woolworth department store that contained a shopping market where I bought bottled water and some tings for breakfast. I got the lay of the land so to speak. When I got back to the hotel, I checked in at the travel desk and changed my itinerary. My first adventure will be the Great Barrier Reef.