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      Great Barrier Reef

      So we were incredibly lucky to be able to go on a snorkel tour of the 2 million year old Great Barrier Reef on June 2. Never have I seen anything so amazingly beautiful and full of life. We went to just two spots on Norman Reef, a tiny section of the great barrier reef, but saw an amazing array of fish and coral. We had a waterproof camera with us but it will be a long while before we can develop the photos, so I stole some off the another website to give you a taste of what it was like.

      We took a tour on the ReefQuest, a rather large vessel that was full of about 30 divers and snorkelers. It was a bit crowded at times to snorkel around with 15 other people, but the reef was so huge you could get away from them quite easily (I did get a fin or two in the face though…). The water was COLD, which kept me from staying in too long, but we did have 3/4 wetsuits to help keep us warm. Bonus! We saw some fish as big as me, schools of tiny little flashy fish, colorful fish, beautiful coral…. Hmmm, yeah you should pretty much just go book yourself a tour right now. It was right up there with safaris in Kenya. My face hurts today from the snorkel mask. I wish I had enough money to go diving and spend about a week here. Maybe two. Or three. Oh well, another time. For now here are a couple of pictures.

      reefslopes1 reefslopes2

      reefslopes3 reefslopes4

      reefslopes5 reefslopes6

      Photographs courtesy of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

      We were exhausted after our tour so we went back to the Palm Cove campground to stay the night, then today (June 3) went to see Crystal Cascades, a beautiful gorge/freshwater waterfall system just north of Cairns. The water wasn’t warm enough to make me want to swim but we did see an INCREDIBLY GIGANTIC, foot-long walking stick insect. Well, we didn’t really see it until I inadvertently kicked it on the sidewalk and it attached itself to the top of my flip-flop-attired foot and I flew around screaming for a second until I had flung it off. Having a foot-long bug attached to your foot is a bit alarming anywhere, but especially in a country famous for, and I quote the travel brochure, “life-threatening flora and fauna”. Anyways, he was the coolest insect I have ever seen, and he really did look just like a branch with the little bark bumps and all. He absolutely made my day, even if he did make me scream like a girl.We are headed southwards now, slowly approaching our sad end in Brisbane, but hopefully will have a lot of beach action between here and there.

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