Found Him – Green Island Reef – Cairns, Australia

Yesterday was another full day of snorkeling out on the Great Barrier Reef, this time on a smaller sailboat to a different location. We spent most of the day snorkeling around, observing an underwater world of colorful fish, coral, giant clams, and other reef creatures. Christine spotted a green turtle, but this one wasn’t interested in being watched, so it quickly swam out to deeper waters. Other than the turtle, the locals of this reef area generally didn’t mind the human company. After being in the water for a while, if we moved around calmly enough, the fish would come to us. There were times when we were surrounded by schools of colorful little fish. A curious shark even stopped by to see if we looked tasty! Kevin got lost again in the afternoon; he split off to go find Nemo, and even spotted a massive fish hiding within the caverns of coral.

And then there were the jellyfish, or “stingers” as they’re called. Australia is notorious for the amount of deadly animals that reside here. Just on the walk along the esplanade in Cairns, there are signs warning to keep off of the beach because there might be crocodiles. Australia’s ocean is no exception, where during the summer (i.e. now!) stingers flock to the warm waters. Beach areas are contained with microfiber nets, and it’s still possible for fingernail-sized stingers to get through, so stinger suits are highly recommended, as a sting from certain types, like boxers, can result in a few days in the hospital.

This is great information to know, which we weren’t completely aware of on our first trip out to the reef when we declined the stinger suits (because everyone else seemed too cool for them, so why would we need them?). Fortunately the stingers were absent that day… at least the ones that were large enough for us to see. Instead, we got a serious case of sunburn on our backsides. After learning more about the danger of stingers and wanting to protect ourselves from further sunburn, we opted to wear the suits this time, and it was a good thing we did because there were stingers EVERYWHERE. The suits didn’t protect our hands, feet, or heads, so while we were mostly protected, it was still a nerve-wracking day trying to avoid all contact with them, unsure of if they were the dangerous kind or not. Despite the effort to avoid them, Kevin accidentally snorkeled face-first into one, but it fortunately didn’t sting him.

Dangers aside, it was a fun second day out on the reef!