Tuesday, March 3, 2009


2 March 2009 – Cairns (pronounced cans) Australia -- This is where most people come when they want to visit the Great Barrier Reef. It is a small city and fairly low rise with green mountains and mangroves around that reminded us of the Virgin Islands. Cairns has several nice hotels and a number of shaded esplanades kind of like cities on the Costa del Sol in Spain. Some of the hotels had casinos, but Brian did not check them out. The main business district is a combination of beach tourist shops, jewelry shops and high-end (think Gucci) clothing and accessory shops.

We, of course, went on a tour to the Great Barrier Reef. The reef is so far off shore that it took us 90 minutes on a high-speed catamaran to reach it. It was pretty bouncy on the way out there and quite a few people got either queasy or sick. Mary took Clyde outside to get some air and they stayed there the whole trip out. We arrived at a floating platform that is permanently anchored over the reef and were there for 4 hours.

The reef was everything we had hoped and more. An amazing profusion of corals of every shape and color as well as many types of colorful fish – including several types we had never seen before. Snorkeling was great!! They also had a glass-bottomed boat you could go out on and an underwater observation platform. As always Clyde made some friends (see pics).

Next stop Rabaul, New Guinea.

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