March 17, 2005

A lucky Day on the Great Barrier Reef!

Last night we stayed at the "All Round Motel - Inn the Pink" in Cairns: a round pink motel just as the name suggests. In the center of the circle is an atrium with trees and plants. All the doors to the rooms face in so when you walk out of your room, you're in the atrium. I liked it. This morning we went to the Passions of Paradise tour. It was our lucky day because it was the first sunny day they'd had in this area in weeks. We'd even just missed a cyclone that'd passed through the region just north of us. Today was mostly sunny with some clouds in the afternoon to keep it cool and quite beautiful. The tour was a boat that took us out to the Great Barrier Reef where we snorkeled. It took us about two hours to get there, during which time we laid out in nice soft netting on the front of the boat with the waves below us and a wonderful breeze surrounding us. I snoozed every time I got in them. When we reached the reef and got in the water we saw lots of beautiful coral and fish. The three of us have loved to snorkel since we went to Hawaii a few years ago. We spent about two hours being a part of an underwater world. Beforehand, we were very careful to put on lots of sun block because we have heard about the sun being stronger out here. The ozone hole is right above us.

After a fine lunch of veggie lasagna, chicken wings, and different salads, we traveled to another spot near a sand cay. We snorkeled out to the cay and on the way Andy saw a sting ray and I saw a large turtle. We also saw more beautiful coral, some blue, and some purple sea stars. The cay was like a tiny island of sand that we walked around in about two minutes. We spent a long time in the water and really enjoyed it. However, we must not have reapplied enough sunscreen because we all walked away with sunburns that afternoon. Mine is the worst and Vienna got off easy because she wore a t-shirt. But, now we're all in some pain. We had a great time though and had a relaxing trip back.

Tonight we went to the local mall and saw a movie, Friday Night Lights. It was good but not my favorite. We're in the All Round Pink motel again tonight. It's nice to have a place two nights in a row. Tomorrow, we'll be on the road toward Sydney. We've got to make about 400 kilometers per day - pretty easy. This will give us time to explore along the way. We're more than half-way through Oz but still have a lot to look forward to. We have no more organized activities but a lot of small towns and areas to see. One of the things we love to do is drive and explore.