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Big Trip Blog Bigtripblog is a multimedia travel experience capturing the adventures of Kevin and Valerie during their one year trip around the world.

The Great Barrier Reef

AUSTRALIA | Friday, 6 July 2007 | Views [1248]

Val: To reach the Reef, you have to take a boat tour off the coast of Queensland. We chose one from Cairns, the tropical tourist town to the north, to Green Island. The entire island is a national park with rainforest and surrounded by the reef. It was a cheaper option, so a bit crowded, but still amazing all the same just because of what it is. It hardly needs an introduction, but it's the other UNESCO World Heritage site up here besides the rainforest. The reef stretches continuously for miles and miles down the coast and sustains thousands of coral and marine species, which is pretty important and of course world-famous.

As soon as we stepped off the boat onto the jetty and looked over the side, we spotted a five-foot reef shark. I can't think of any other circumstances when you'd be excited to see a shark in the same small area of water you are about to swim in, but that's the sort of mindset you get into before you explore the reef - almost any large living thing is a treat and a wonder. While snorkeling in the same spot later, I was of course glad not to see it again, and very pleased with the hundreds of large brightly-colored fish (whose names I don't know, but you probably don't either anyway), a big ray, starfish, coral, and other exotic things. Being winter here in Australia, even far north tropical Queensland was far less than sweltering, so we cruised around under the surface at two separate times until we were shivering and our lips were as blue as the water.

It was just a taste, and next time I'd love to return with a dive license for several days to fully appreciate it, but I feel pretty lucky and privileged to have visited such an awesome place.

Tags: adventures, ambassador van

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