5 PICTURE ALBUM
Thursday, February 5
Steve: Today started with an early-morning snorkel on
Opal Reef. Pete took us out in the Rubber Duck, and we moored at a different
location on the reef. Although the skies were cloudy, we had a great time
and saw several new fish (including a blue spotted lagoon ray) types of coral.
David and Katie have quickly become very comfortable with the snorkeling,
even in the choppy water we've had so far. It helps that the water is so warm
- I don't think we've ever been in water this comfortable.
then cruised to an area called Mackay Cay (pronounced "key"). Cays
are deposits of ground-up coral that gather in one area over long periods
of time. The cays start as unstable deposits of sand, but eventually become
small islands complete with vegetation that is seeded by birds or floating
seeds. MacKay Cay is a sandy outcrop, surrounded by beautiful reefs that made
for great snorkeling
today. We saw our first blue starfish, large numbers of giant clams, and our
first shark. The shark was actually a baby "Cat Shark" that Pete
saw hiding under some rocks. He was unable to scare the shark out, but eventually
went in and simply grabbed the shark for us to see and pet. Since the shark
was so small, it let Pete handle it and didn't seem to mind at all.
It was also fun to explore the cay and to walk along its beaches. We found
a couple of very pretty shells, and Katie gathered some sand to give to Paula
(she collects sand from each place that we visit). We also tried to troll
for some of the several Coral Reef trout that we saw today, but without any
lunch, we motored to Cairns reef, which was a little closer to shore and to
some calm anchorages. The weather forecast for the afternoon was not looking
good, and Pete wanted to make sure we could anchor in a protected area for
the evening. After arriving at the reef, we trolled from the Ruben Jane, and
caught 3 "Giant Travallys". Though not the best for eating, they
were nice-sized fish and we kept one for bait.
Next we tried some bottom-fishing, which was a huge success and lots
of fun. With this fishing, we simply used line that's rolled onto a large
spool and dropped the bait by hand until it hit the bottom. It didn't take
long before we were all feeling tugs on our lines, and we pulled up several
nice fish including Red Emperors, Spangled Emperors, Rock Cod, and "Stripeys".
The Emperors are particularly good for eating, and we caught just enough fish
for dinner. David and Katie particularly loved this type of fishing, and Pete
promised them that
we could do more tomorrow.
Our last stop was at Hope Islands, a small group of islands that would provide
good protection as an anchorage for the night. Before dinner, Pete dropped
us all out at the shore and we did an evening snorkel which was good fun.
David and Katie liked being able to snorkel so close to a sandy beach, and
enjoyed chasing several small schools of fish right along shore.
For dinner, Steph cooked us our fish, served with a wonderful sauce. Desert
was a fantastic crème brulee! We're getting spoiled by this cooking
- having your own private chef for a few days is a great treat.
Tomorrow we plan to work our way north, where the weather is supposed to
be calmer and generally better.
David's Daily Dump: Snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef. There are no
words that can describe what snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef is like.
Magnificent, astonishing, incredible, unbelievable, remarkable, and amazing
all come short.
When I first heard we were going to spend a week on the Great Barrier Reef
I was really excited. I couldn't wait to put my face in the water for the
first time in over 6 years. The only thing I wasn't too thrilled about was
the sharks. My dad said that he had seen loads of sharks last time he came
to the Great Barrier Reef. As the date of the journey got closer and closer,
I got more and more excited. I expected to see a whole different world, with
tons of colorful fish, coral, and anemones.
When my snorkel mask first hit the water, I saw more than I ever expected
to see. Beautiful fish, big and small, giant clams, unique coral, and anemones
were everywhere!! It was unbelievable!! We are trying to make a list of all
the fish we see, but it is impossible; there are some many different species
of fish! I love the coral. It is so beautiful and colorful, and comes in so
many different shapes and sizes. I also like the gargantuan giant clams that
close up whenever you swam over them.
I could go on and on describing what we saw and how much I liked it, but
to know what it is really like you must come and see it yourself!
Katie's Kwick Kwacks: Fish on the Great Barrier Reef. While snorkeling
in the Great Barrier Reef, we have seen many interesting fish, coral, and
other sea life. The next paragraph lists several of the unique fish we encountered.
-Several kinds of butterfly fish including the long nosed ones
-Many kinds of Coral Trout
-Many kinds of Parrot fish
-Blue Lined Surgeon fish
-Several kinds of Angel fish
-Red Bass Snapper
-Red Emperor Fish
-Spangled Emperor Fish
-Several kinds of small Damsel Fish
-Clown Fish (Nemo)
-Several kinds of Wrasse Fish
-Orange-lined Trigger Fish
-Several kinds of colorful Sweetlip Fish
-Lattice Soldier Fish
-Several kinds of Grouper Fish
-Yellow-back Fusilier Fish
-Lunar Fusilier Fish
-Orbicular Bat Fish
-Picasso Trigger Fish
-Many kinds of Trevally Fish
-Brown-Banded Cat Shark
-Blue-Spotted Lagoon Ray