And now smw, slt has has enough relaxing days in Sydney to sort through the trove of aerial shots of the Great Barrier Reef and of the flora and vistas of LIzard Island and share with you some views of what life looks like above sea level out there in far northern Queensland. Naturally I’ve learned more about the GBR, which extends hundreds of miles both north and south even of the rather extended area covered on our cruise and in these aerial shots. There are dozens of what they call “Ribbon Reefs” scattered from the level of Cairns up to Lizard Island, and there are also other little reefs here and there. Then the whole thing continues a good chunk further south, and I believe even further north. Many of the shots from underwater which I posted earlier this week were taken at Osprey Reef, which is an overnight boat trip to the north and east of Lizard Island, out in the true Coral Sea and apparently not officially considered part of the GBR. Live and learn. Hope you enjoy these shots. Cheers.
Below, the mandatory shot of our wonderful crew, and below that a shot of the 17 passengers on the leg that I joined. The ship does a weekly circuit and 7 of the folks this time stayed for the full out-and-back from Cairns, seven nights & six days; ten of us were on the four-night, three-day outward leg; and then more flew into Lizard Island on the planes that took us back. They + the seven who stayed will have worked their way back south toward Cairns, with dives along the ribbon reefs on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week and then docked at Cairns again Thursday AM, to board a whole new group again Thursday. This experience was quite wonderful and I really do recommend it for anyone who loves to dive. Do either the 7-night or the 4-night option though – Osprey Reef was amazing and isn’t part of the return leg.
Look closely at the photo below, and you will see the airstrip from which we departed Lizard Island for our one hour+ low-altitude flight back along the ribbon reefs to Cairns. Along the way we saw two different groups of minke whales from the air- a wonderful sight because you see both the whales breaching, and the shadow of their bodies under the water in a clearer way than you can from the air. Both of those occasions passed too quickly for a photo…plus they were on the left side of the plane each time, while I was seated on the right. Ah well…memories. And above is the last shot of the boat which provided such a comfy and well-fed home for a few days.
Immediately below, you see the coast of Trinity Beach where I stayed in January, during the trip from which came the shots in this blog post: https://somuchworldsolittletime.wordpress.com/2013/01/12/flora-fauna-waves-northern-queensland-beaches/
It was fun to fly right past this at the end of this current trip; the building in which I stayed is quite visible, as are the headlands and bays that gave me such pleasure on my long walks and runs back then. Cairns and its region begin to feel like an almost home-away-from-home-away-from-home for me, though deeper inside I still long to be biking along LA’s bike paths. 🙂
It’s been a very quiet week here in what smw, slt has learned is sometimes called fnq: far northern Queensland. It’s been all about runs by the water in the early hours, walks by the water in the evening hours, and being a lazy schlub with tennis on tv in between. All in all a quite restorative little respite just across the ol’ Coral Sea from POM. Herewith, and without further introduction other than the occasional caption, some of the things I’ve been seeing this week. (Yes, there were philosophical moments during all those walks, but I can’t remember any of it at the moment. Aren’t you glad?!)
this is called tidal erosion made visible – above and below
Some flora & fauna in honor of Cate, whose dad mentioned this week that she’s enjoying seeing new members of the animal kingdom when the opportunity arises. Above: fruit bats on their morning migration back to their treetop roosts in the mountains, after a night’s foraging. Below, a gaggle of parrots and all I can say is any number of parrots creates an enormous racket. I have the impression there are lots of Australian-native species of parrot and parakeet and other such. These were the easiest to photograph here because they’re quite numerous; another white parrot was equally loud but higher in the trees and less numerous. Below that, there’s what I think is a kukaburra — stress the “think.” He was hanging out in a tree on my run this AM.
… it would hardly be coastal northern Australia without warnings for salties, and the occasional story of lost pets or worse. (Here, pets; in NT: occasionally the odd person, but the NT salties can beat up the FNQ salties any day.) ‘Twas awareness of the possible salties that made me extra wary when my runs and walks took me close to the mangrove areas – I felt most brave doing so. 🙂