The Great Barrier Reef Lived up to its name!

While we made a quick drive by in Sydney, we loitered in the Great Barrier Reef.  It seems like a lot of my adventures involve really small planes and questionable landing zones, and this was no exception. We boarded a small plane that took a low-level flight following the Great Barrier Reef several hundred kilometers north to Lizard Island.  As we approached Lizard Island, I saw no evidence of land flat enough for a run way, but somehow our pilot found a strip of land for landing.  From there we boarded zodiacs to our purpose-built dive boat, Spoilsport.  The trip was Mon-Thur and I was in perpetual FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) whether dive spots, marine life or the amazing food.  The schedule was intense with 2-3 different stops a day with as many as 5 dives a day around pinnacles, walls, Cod holes and vertical gardens.  Most of the folks were intense, and I do mean intense divers, I got caught up in it all, and became an intense snorkeler.  I can’t believe I was getting up at 0630 to get on the water for my first snorkel of the day.  The Trip Coordinator was great, if you like the drill sergeant sort of vacation (Ken Rumbaugh you would have loved it, Dan not so much.) A typical schedule would be Pre-Breakfast/First Dive/ Full Breakfast/ Morning 2 Dives/ Lunch/Afternoon Dive or 2/ High Tea/ Night Dive/ Dinner and collapse in bed. As the only snorkeler, I got treated pretty special.  Pinnacle’s make great dive sites, but not great snorkeling sites.  Each day the Ship’s Captain picked out the best snorkel site and we took off in the zodiac to explore. We went to a place Google Earth showed the most active coral growth in the Great Barrier, sometimes we ventured miles from the ship, and the sites were pure underwater magic. The coral was amazing with lots of marine life visible, including 6 White Tipped Sharks looking for lunch. Unfortunately I don’t have an underwater camera to do it all justice.



A note about what I learned about the ecology of the Great Barrier Reef. In 2016, the water temps at the Great Barrier Reef went way up (Climate Change) and the reefs were being bleached out/killed. It was all gloom and doom in the news, and in fact spurred my trip before it was gone. The locals have an interesting take on the situation from 2016. Yes, they are seeing the negatives impacts from climate change with warmer water and more frequent cyclones that create a lot of damage but they are also seeing some recovery.  Reefs that are bleached out can potentially recover in about 6 months and they have seen a lot of that happening. They are also seeing a lot of recovery from cyclone damage and the marine life seems to be rebounding a bit. So, while I can whole heartedly recommend a visit to the Great Barrier Reef, you don’t have to drop everything and do it today, but I can recommend Mike Ball as a live aboard experience if you want to give it a go. I’m thinking of returning some June or July timeframe when the Minke Whales come and calve and generally congregate.


And a final goodbye to Miss Gaia, my perfect travel buddy.  Now let’s see what trouble I can get into all by myself! Asia here I come!

7 thoughts on “The Great Barrier Reef Lived up to its name!

  1. Oh wow, although water is not for forte (as you well know), it sounds like great fun for you! You are definitely in your element, and you’re doing it in such a beautiful place. Happy for you, Barb. Have fun in Asia!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ha! That sounds incredible and I would have been right there with you (with a reluctant Dan Riggle in tow)!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s