2nd February 2012
We caught a morning flight out to Cairns. While still in the air, we could see the blue and green around the coral islands of the Great Barrier Reef. It was so beautiful. My camera couldn’t do it justice. As we could see land below us, it was thick green forests; a gorgeous contrast to the light, gentle colors of the ocean and coast adjacent to it.
The cab stopped off at the hotel so that we could drop our luggage off and we continued to Kuranda Village. We roamed around the village for a while. It was a pretty little placed nestled in the border of the Kuranda Rainforest and was touted for its sustainable tourism. When we got hungry, we stopped at a local cafe for some pizza and salad. The food was heavenly! We walked further and got some ice cream as well. The rainforest is supposed to be one of the world’s oldest. We took the sky rail to go through the forest. The aerial view of the canopy and the river cutting through the forest was beautiful. We stopped at Baron Falls and hiked up the set path to see the Falls. We hopped back on the ‘gondola’ and continued down through the rainforest till we got to our second stop – Red Peak. One of the guides was explaining a few things about the rainforest and the various species of flora and fauna that were found in the region. We were continually warned of deadly spiders – some that could even rot your flesh off!
At the end of the ride, we hopped off, passed through the customary souvenir shop and then waited for our bus back to the hotel.
3rd February 2012
This was the day I had eagerly awaited throughout the trip – the Great Barrier Reef! We left the hotel in the morning and were driven down to the harbour where the Big Cat Green Island Cruise ferry was to leave from. We exchanged our vouchers for tickets and headed down to the boat. After a rather touristy picture in front of an orange life saver, we got on the boat. The journey to Green Island was mostly uneventful – we rented out a waterproof camera, picked up our flippers and snorkel. As soon as we got to the island, we got ourselves lockers, dumped most of the stuff in and changed into our swimming gear. Walking to the island on the jetty, the wind was so strong it moved us! We had been given an inside tip that the area to the left of the jetty (facing the ocean) was a better place to snorkel, also as we had made our way to the island on the jetty, we had seen a turtle swimming by in the same area. My dad and I swam pretty far out while my mom stayed a little closer to the shore. The water was slightly murky as it was a rainy day, but even so, the sights were amazing. The iridescent fish poking their heads out of the coral, a giant clam tightly shut, a heart shaped coral and many, many fish swimming by in schools. It was like part of the opening credits scene of the Little Mermaid J. Mom was a little afraid we’d tire ourselves if we went too far out as we were swimming un-aided so she called us back to shore and we slowly swam back. This was the first time I’d ever snorkelled; I’d done an underwater walk in Thailand before, but this was a completely different experience and I’ll never forget it. Its only been a month or so since then and I already want to snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef again. The locals tell me that the Whitsundays is a better place to go – hopefully in time.
We returned to the ferry for a buffet lunch which was not too exciting, but people always get ravenously after a good swim! After lunch, we got on the Semi-submersible for another perspective of the Ocean. The fish were swimming along with us and we got to see quite a few varieties of them as well.
Mom stayed near the boat while my dad and I went for a walk around the island. There were many birds sitting on the beach, especially the rocky parts and dad photographed them to his heart’s content. We also saw some turtles coming up periodically. And then, it started raining – pretty hard at that. We ran back to the main information centre of the island to take some shelter from the downpour. While we waited, one of the guides there struck up a little friendly conversation. He greeted us with a Namaste and asked us if we practiced yoga! He said his yoga instructor was 76 years old and fit as a fiddle. The boat was set to leave soon so we had no choice but to dash through the rain across the jetty and back on to the boat. Once on the boat, we warmed ourselves up and sat down for the return journey which again was pretty uneventful. Back at Cairns, we took the bus to our hotel.