Thursday, June 4, 2009

Australia Trip Day02: Great Barrier Reef (Cairns)

17 May 2009 (Sun)
Accommodation: Some petrol station in Mackay

Rise and shine, peeps!
Greeted by another bright morning in Cairns.
Just nice to go for our snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef. =)
After having what to me is a rather luxurious breakfast (milk + cornflakes + bread with jam), we drove to the pier and bid a temporary Good-Bye and Happy Honeymoon to Qian Hong n Yi Feng while the rest of us when for the Ocean Spirit Michaelmas Cay Cruise.

The Marlin Wharf

What looks like a short distance on Google map sure wasn't short at all.
The ride from the wharf to Michalemas Cay took us nearly 2 hours.

The sky was clear and blue...
but the ride was a bumpy one...
An hour plus into the ride, I was feeling a bit sea-sick... *_*
So I went inside the ship to have a nap, and wake up to a picturesque reef sand island, the Michaelmas Cay.

A cay is a small sandy island formed on the surface of coral reefs. The Michaelmas Cay is a seabird sanctuary hosting over 20,000 migratory birds. And its surrounding coral reef is teeming with an incredible diversity of marine life, coral polyps, fishes, and many others.
Although it is 1.5 ha in size and rather vegetated with grass in the middle, we human are only allowed to step onto a small area on the cay marked by ropes. This restriction of our movement area are to ensure human activities won't disturb this nature breeding ground for the birds.

The bird sanctuary
The Michaelmas Cay
How can you not get excited being immersed in this nature's wonder.
Once we get off the boat onto the cay, we put on the snorkelling masks and flippers, and went for a swim with the fishes while observing the beautiful coral on the reef.
It was a one-of-a-kind experience.

We had a tropical buffet lunch at around 12pm.
Then we went for a ride in the semi-submersible.
It was like an enclosed ship with only a small portion above the water surface. Under the deck, the bottom of the ship was covered with glass such that as the ship moves, we can observed the surroundings. What I like about this semi-sub guide is that, there is an experienced crew with us explaining the reef system, species of fishes and little stories like the debris leftover caused by a typhoon hitting the reef.

The Great Barrier Reef, pictures taken in a semi-submersible
After the semi-sub ride, we were short of time for another snorkel at the cay.
So... It's cam whoring time!

We act cool...
We sun-bath...
We had a glass of complimentary Australian sparkling wine...
We talk cock...
and by 5pm, we are back in Cairns.

Here I saw flocks of 'birds' flying over the sky.
But as I zoom in with my camera to take a shot then I realise, those are not birds
They are bats!
Swarms of bats!
Looking for food I guess...

After meeting up with the couples, we had a simple fast food dinner.
Then it's time for our 1st long distance driving down south.
Our ultimate destination is Brisbane.
But the journey is too long (1,600+km) to be covered in one trip. My initial plan was to break it into 2 stops. First stop at Rockhampton, then at Bundaberg.
But we spent too much time bathing and buying souvenirs that time kinda got out of my control.
So after driving for dunno how long, I decided to stop somewhere between Cairns & Rockhampton. So we ended up sleeping at a petrol station in Mackay...
I know we should b sleeping at a caravan park.
But beggers no choosers. we have to save whatever & whenever we can.

Reminds me so much of my Norway trip...


Max said...

buay tahan the cam whoring shots!

GES said...