The Wandering Yank marvelled at the beauty of one the bonafide Wonders of the World today: The Great Barrier Reef. It took an hour bus ride and a 90-minute boat ride from Port Douglas, on Australia's northern shoreline, to get there. But it was well worth the wait, and the rides.
The group that does these outings is Quicksilver, and they're pretty buttoned up. Quick transfers, all the prep on videos and you hit the pontoon boat in the middle of the Coral Sea running. I donned goggles, snorkel and fins quickly, as well as the $5 spandex suit rental to protect myself from the stray jellyfish and certain death. "A sucker born every minute Mark," you say? "You don't need that." Well I emerged from the watter stingless. And the $300 I spent on an underwater shark repellent horn, and human blood de-scenter was really well spent, too. As you can discern, I'm writing this after emerging from the sea with all my digits. We'll see who has the last laugh when the great whites and tiger sharks show up. Yeah.
Anyway, the snorkeling experience was amazing. Coral in blue, red, neon green and yellow were the backdrop for an array of fish I'd never seen up close. From zebra fish to big black surgeon fish, they swam literally inches from my entombed and ulta-protected body. I took a semi submarine ride and went out a little further and saw a huge sea turtle.
The 90 minute ride back was spent in sunshine and ocean breeze on the bow of the super luxury Katamaran owned by Quicksilver. It was a perfect time to reflect on the blessing of travels, the wonders of nature, and the support of family and friends. Seeing the Great Barrier Reef was a dream inside and dream I've had since I was a boy my boy's age.
I could share more details about dinner and looking around downtown Cairns, but the truth is, they all pale in comparison to seeing a true natural wonder. So I'll let this be it for today. Headed to Melbourne tomorrow, but what a memory to pack with the bags and into my memory bank.