Friday, 16 August 2013

Cairns, Nth QLD

We had a wonderful trip to the outer reef of the Great Barrier Reef. We cruised out 50 kms on a fast catamaran to a pontoon, called Marine World, on Moore reef. It was very calm and visibility they told us, was the best you can get. No wind or sediment made snorkelling a delight. We went with Reef Magic who were excellent. They also include a trip on a glass bottom boat & a semi submersible boat which both had great views of the fish & coral as you need daylight to see the colours in the coral. We opted for an hour long guided snorkel with a marine biologist which was beautiful. There are 400 types of coral & 1500 fish species out here.  John relaxed when they told us the only sharks we are likely to see are reef sharks that usually swim away! John enjoyed having his optical mask and so saw more this trip than our last. We saw the edge of the outer reef and the highlight was seeing a green turtle close by. We also saw some smaller clams, sea cucumbers and some rarer clown fish amongst some soft coral. The snorkelling in the area around the pontoon was also great.
We stayed at the Big 4 Crystal Cascades Caravan Park which is at the base of the mountains, covered in rain forest. It is about 20 mins from the  CBD of  Cairns.
We had a relaxing swim in the warm sea at a sheltered, sandy beach called Palm Cove, about 20 mins north (Yes, it had lots of Palm trees). The water was about 23 degrees and felt a lot warmer than the pool in our van park!  Palm Cove had lots of resorts, boutique style shops all looking out to a coconut palm tree lined beach - a very pleasant way to spend some time.

Cairns foreshore pool

Feeding fish &  giant Maori Wrasse on Pontoon of "Reef Magic" trip

Great views  of coral  & fish from the submersible boat

Submersible boat

Plate & cabbage coral from glass bottom boat

Plate & staghorn coral -  orange colours are unusual

Plate & stag horn coral 
some of the 400 types of coral on outer reef

Plate corals   grow into large  table corals

Sheltered beach & warm seas  at  Palm cove

On the Jetty at Palm Cove

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