Great Barrier Reef


Green Island

Green Island is a small (37 acres) cay along the Great Barrier Reef, a 45-minute boat ride from Cairns. It's one of Australia's best environmental heritage sites, unique in that it is both a resort and a national park, but it was just a stopping off place for us en route to the pontoon platform on the outer reef, from which we dove and snorkeled. That's an osprey in the photo at right.

sailboat off Green Island
osprey, Green Island National Park, Great Barrier Reef


The Outer Reef

"The next day, we were up and early for our tour of the Great Barrier Reef. There are a number of very good reaons it is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. It is quite amazing. We both took the introductory scuba dive and were completely thrilled, then we snorkelled around for a while. By the way, Australia is absolutely nuts for Finding Nemo: it's everywhere, especially near any kind of marine amusement. I mention this because after snorkelling I was in an underwater observation lounge and heard one of the guides explaining to a child that the large, toothy barracuda sitting in the water right next to where we'd been scuba diving was the nasty fish that eats Nemo's mum and cousins. Fortunately, he'd taken no interest in us." - Larry the O mlog

"But the Great Barrier Reef -- mates, that is heaven on earth. Or maybe it isn't on earth at all. I have never seen anything like it. Larry and I went on an introductory scuba dive, so we got up close and personal with the corals and other denizens of the reef. One big hammerhead wrasse (maybe five feet long or more) is sort of a pet at the pontoon where we dived, and he likes people and wants to be touched, which was cool. It was also cool when he chased off the barracuda, whom he does NOT like. We snorkeled a lot, too, which was great, but the dive was the best." - Steve O mlog


Preparing to Dive

Larry (top L) and I flash the "small okay" signal. Scuba divers communicate with hand signals, since you can't talk underwater. Bottom: a diver descends to the diving platform.

Larry preparing to dive
Steve preparing to dive
divers preparing to descend to the diving platform


Smorkling Heaven

snorklers, Outer Reef, Great Barrier Reef
snorklers, Outer Reef, Great Barrier Reef
snorklers, Outer Reef, Great Barrier Reef


Fish Story

To the left is our pal Wally the Humphead (or Hammerhead) Wrasse (Cheilinus undulatus). His bony jaws are so heavy that he would sink, if not for the oil-filled chamber above his eyes. The male Humphead Wrasse can be six feet long or more; females are half that size. They're protected by Australian law. In the right photo, the fish on the right is a Sergeant Major (Abudefduf saxatilis), so called because of its stripes. It is also known as the pˆ‚ntano. You can't tell here, because I took these two photos through a window in the observation deck of the diving platform, but they're large and quite colorful.

Hammerhead Wrasse
Sergeant Major fish

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