During our trip to Australia we spent around 2 days enjoying a bit of coastal life in Port Douglas in North Queensland. While there, we took a day trip out to some nearby islands to see one of the wonders of the natural word: The Great Barrier Reef.
While planning our trip to Australia, we weren't sure we'd make it out to see the Great Barrier Reef, as Elizabeth isn't too keen on snorkelling, and after a traumatic scuba dive with Father Christmas (Santa Claus) a few years ago diving was definitely off the table. However, since we were up on the northeast coast we just had to see it, so Elizabeth overcame her fears and we set off on a catamaran for the Low Isles.
The sun was shining as we left the rainforest covered slopes of Queensland behind and sailed out to the coral cay Low Island and nearby coral/mangrove island Woody Island. It was a very pleasant journey on a luxurious catamaran, and we were excited to jump into the water and explore the depths.
Once we arrived we were kitted out in full body suits to protect against any wayward jellyfish, and ferried to the shores of Low Island where we began our first snorkel session. We set off as a group out into the shallow waters surrounding the island where we were immediately immersed in the colourful and varied sealife of the Great Barrier Reef, spotting creatures as varied as Giant Clams, Sea Snakes, and lots and lots of fish, big and small. We even caught a brief glimpse of a large Blacktip Reef Shark. It was awesome, and by the end we couldn't wait to get back in and continue exploring.
First, though, it was time for a little break from swimming and a short tour around Low Island. Being a coral cay, the tiny island is made up entirely of coral (that has been eaten and pooped out by fish, to be precise). Being so far from land, the only occupants of the island are a bunch of noisy birds who enjoy the safety of being away from all the dangerous predators. There are a couple of human occupants too, who run the carbon-neutral lighthouse.
After our little tour we were ferried back to the catamaran where we spent the afternoon enjoying a feast of a lunch before jumping into the deeper waters for another snorkel. On this second snorkelling trip we were left to our own devices, and the two of us set off to see what we could see. Thanks to some our fellow snorkelers, we came across a couple of turtles munching on the reef who didn't seem at all bothered by our presence. It was the perfect note to end on and shortly after we headed back to the catamaran, grabbed a beer and settled in for the sail back to Port Douglas.
The next day it was time to leave Port Douglas and head back to Cairns airport for our flight to Sydney. Before we left we had one last wander around the town, enjoying some the beautiful coastal views and little beaches. We grabbed a couple of delicious sandwiches at the Lovely Larder, and set off back down south to begin the final leg of our journey.
We're Elizabeth and Luke.
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