BEST DAY ON EXPEDITION | GREAT BARRIER REEF
Cairns – Cooktown – Lizard Island – Outer Reefs – Cairns
Submitted By: Andrea Apitz
Everything on board the Coral Expeditions I is cruisey. The crew are knowledgeable and nice, the food is fresh and filling, our fellow passengers are witty and intelligent and the view of everything is breathtaking.
After an amazing lunch, we listen to our Tour Director and Marine Biologist tell us about corals, clams and bombora; so we will have some appreciation of what we will be seeing when we arrive at Lizard Island in a few hours’ time. Around 4 ‘o clock we pull in for our first glimpse of the fancy hotel with its millionaire yachts that reside at Lizard as we drive our unassuming 35 metre catamaran to its mooring. The Zodiac plops us down on the beach where the crew have set up beach chairs and food tables for our after snorkel sunset drinks.
I gear up in orange fins with my new mask, tailor made for my small face. We walk into the ocean like a bunch of human frogs, and dip our faces into the sea. The beautiful warm sea. I’m not sure why I was so nervous about this experience , but my goodness, right here, not even two feet from where we swam out there are Dory’s and Nemo’s and Angel fish and is that a giant clam I’m swimming over! Look there, more fish, of every colour and size swimming around a pink coral head.
Oh geez have things always been here in the water, waiting for us to see them! Just right here?! I’m overwhelmed with a world that has been inches from my face for my whole life. I don’t know where to look first, so I swim back to the giant clam, and hoover over it thinking to myself, it’s been there for hundreds of years, I can’t get enough of it. The colours are so unexpected and the size of these clams. Who knew!
We enjoy cocktails, and cheese platters until we can’t eat anymore. There are only twenty four people on this cruise, but they’ve planned for forty. We can eat as much as we want. After absolutely pigging out we head back in the zodiac to the ship and change for dinner. OMG are they feeding us again? Honestly we enjoy another incredible meal, of tasty meats, fresh fish and delectable cheeses served in the most simple and elegant manor. One of my new favourites: roasted garlic floating in melted brie on French bread. We have a group of eight now at our table, Stephany and Stevan, Rusty and Debby, and Corissa and Dan. We make a lively group discussing what we saw, what we know, where we live, what we’ve read, what movies we like and which of us knows the best jokes etc. I’m having a wonderful time.
Life continues much the same the next day. If you are a diver or a swimmer, you can head out for two hours after breakfast, but I’m up for the glass bottom boat. Our marine biologist points out the many grouper fish which are gathered under the catamaran for food scraps and informs us not to jab at them with our fingers, as the groupers will be glad to eat them. Nice, I think.
On one afternoon we are out on the Zodiac at around 2PM and notice the colour of the sky where it meets the ocean is like an early sunrise. Our guide explains that the optical illusion is created by the super nutrient enriched waters where the reef meets the continental divide. Imagine that! Bobbing around on our small Zodiac looking at where these two natural phenomenon meet. It’s an epiphany to feel part of the bigger picture, and a real connection to the natural world all while you are on a vacation!
But enough pondering, it’s time to change and have dinner, again. Same group, more hilarity, more fish stories. Just fantabulous!