May 4th, 2016 - Day 32 - Docked at Cairns, Australia

We woke up this morning in Cairns, Australia.  We were happy we weren't whisked away to another island during the night after all the port changes we have had.

We had breakfast at the Terrace Cafe.

Jim had scrambled eggs and bacon and Pat had grapefruit and kiwi.

We had a 8:15 AM tour this morning. We met in the Insignia Lounge for our ticket and then walked about 10 minutes to get on the boat Sunlover Reef Cruises to Discover the Real Reef.  We finally took off at 9:40 AM for our 90 minute ride onboard an air conditioned catamaran.

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the great natural wonders of the world.  Located just off the coast of Cairns, the Great Barrier Reef is an awe-inspiring underwater spectacle of brilliantly colored corals and more than 10,000 diverse and unique marine species.

Moore Reef is a showcase of what Australia's most famous World heritage Area, the Great Barrier Reef has to offer.

We made a stop at Fitzroy Island to drop people off and pick people up.  They have a resort here on the Island.

We docked at 11:15 AM up next to a pontoon on Moore Reef where all the activities took off from.  We got our fins, mask and snorkel and life vest.  On board the catamaran they had given us instructions on what we needed to do to get started snorkeling.

The girl that was demonstrating for us was a ham and showed us the good and bad ways to do things when you are in the water.

We decided to snorkel right away so we climbed down some stairs and sat on a wire grate in the water to put on our fins and then we just stepped off into the water.  Such an easy way to get in the water.

The water was cool when we first got in but it was comfortable.  When we staring moving around we would go from water that was warm to cool to hotter then cool and then cold in just a few strokes.

We saw lots of different types of coral.  The one Pat especially liked was a type that looked like antlers.  Jim thought the coral would be more vibrant colors, like he remembers in Hawaii, but they were what Jim called dirty looking and then a few colors interspersed around.  Still it was beautiful looking at the surroundings and seeing the beautiful fish.  Pat got into a large school of fish that were yellow and purple and she was swimming among them right in her face.  Then all of a sudden the helicopter scared them and they started moving all over her body and it scared her a bit.  When she looked up they had settled down and she could swim among them again.

There were hundreds of mini fish moving so fast back and forth and they would just stay together in their school and dart around.

Pat saw a large rainbow color fish pulling food off of some coral to eat.

Pat also started following a spotted fish, a Barramundi Cod, and followed it around and watched.  While doing that she found a group of 5 scuba divers below her so she watched them touch pieces of coral and the guide waved his arms over a giant clam and it opened up.  It was fascinating.

All of a sudden there was a huge fish near Pat and a underwater photographer so she took a picture of Pat with the fish. It will be a nice remembrance of the day.

At about 1:00 PM we got out of the water to go eat lunch since it closed at 1:30 PM.  They had a hot and cold buffet, curry beef, jasmine rice, potato salad, pasta salad, pasta alfredo,  green salad, shrimp, bread and fruit.  Jim found more things to eat than Pat.  Ha!

After lunch we went back onto the pontoon.  We took a 20 ride on the Semi-Submersible. We went into sort of a submarine and we saw coral and fish but not a lot.  It reminded us of the Disneyland ride.

Then we took a 20 minute ride on the Glass Bottom Boat.  That was cool as we went over the coral. While looking at it we looked behind us and we had a clearer view as it was low tide and we could see lots of coral.

At 3:15 PM we boarded the catamaran to sail back to Cairns. It seemed we traveled faster coming up but we are rocking quite a bit so not sure if is just an illusion.

We made our return stop at Fitzroy Island to drop people off and pick people up.

We arrived back in Cairns at 5:30 PM

We had a 10 minute walk back to the port and we were supposed to be back on the ship at 5:30 PM.  I stopped to look at a booth of silk scarves that was in the port near the ship and one of the ship administrators told me I had to get on board so I was not able to purchase a silk scarf.

We left Cairns at 6:05 PM.

Tonight we had dinner in the Grand Dining Room.

Pat had for her appetizer Lobster and Spring Vegetable Crêpe with Langoustine Bisque.  For her main dish she had Gambus Sautees Provencal:  Sauteed Jumbo Shrimp in Lessatini Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Jim had Cream of Asparagus Soup with Salmon Julienne.  For his salad he had Iceburg Lettuce with Apples, Raisins and Blue Cheese Dressing.  For his main course he had Spaghetti Bolognese and a side of French fries.

For dessert we shared Lemon Crepes Soufflé with Apricot Sauce.

We had a nice dinner talking with Wine Stewards, the Chef, the Restaurant Manager and our Waiter.

Good Night from the Great Barrier Reef Conservation Reserve!