March 26, 2007

Lady Elliot Island - Great Barrier Reef

While we were at our hotel in Surfer's Paradise, we learned about an excursion to the Great Barrier Reef. We flew on a tiny plane 2 hours north to land on a grassy strip on Lady Elliot Island, the most southern part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

We started with a "fish feed" in the tidal pools where our guide threw in the equivalent of Purina fish food, and soon many beautiful fish arrived. We also saw many sea cucumbers, purple sea stars, and sea anenomes.

After the fish feed, we walked across the landing strip (looking both ways for incoming planes) and took a glass-bottom boat out to the reef. On the way to the reef, we saw a gigantic manta ray on the ocean surface and several sea turtles. We did NOT see sharks, dudongs (like manatees) or whales. We snorkeled for several hours. I got very sunburned but I did not want to get out of the water.

We then walked around the island and arrived back just in time for lunch and a local "Queensland Brew". After lunch, we learned more about Elliot Island in the Visitor Information Centre and then napped on the beach. Unfortunately, it was soon time to get back into our tiny plane and fly back to Surfer's Paradise.

I have always wanted to see the Great Barrier Reef and thought this was a great way to spend Kris's birthday. He is now saying he will get me Sky TV with comprehensive cricket coverage for my birthday.

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