Monday, October 8, 2007

Wednesday, October 3, 2007 Great Barrier Reef

Wednesday, October 3, 2007 Great Barrier Reef

The team hopped on board the Quicksilver catamaran to high tail it 34 miles out into the Pacific Ocean to explore one of over 2,000 coral reefs that grow in this region. We began the adventure with a spot of tea and some ginger tablets to ease the queazy tummy. The day was overcast but could not put a damper on our excitement.

When we reached our destination, a platform in the middle of one of these reefs, our boat docked and served as our lounge for the day. Most of us donned these memorable blue lycra suits that covered us from head to toe, to avoid the poisonous jellyfish sting. Imagine telebubbies or The Blue Man Group minus the talent or smurf or oompaloopa from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. We were quite the sight.

Into the coral sea we dove to join 1000’s of wild colored fish and float above the live coral that is the only living organism that can be seen from the moon.

Personal comments from the Dragonheart group:

Rafi & Gisela comments- After about 1 ½ hours of exhausting snorkeling we swam over to a rectangular floating buoy, where we hung our arms around for a brief rest and gave three Dragonheart cheers for the unique opportunity of bonding in this heritage site that is the Great Barrier Reef. We were giddy with delight and pinching ourselves for the unbelievable moment. Not only did we see hundreds of fish, but the support staff fed the fish and the fish came up to our hands to be petted.

BTW- (Side comments)-Rafi is an experienced diver and dove down with his snorkel and took pictures. When we saw the camera we knew right away that he was not just another big blue fish.

Mary Ellen comments- The Great Barrier Reef,-a paradise of beautiful coral and breathtaking fish, mountain ranges and a “Quicksilver” boat ride!

Cheryl comments- Thanks to Jim and Penn on my second trip of the day out snorkeling, I saw a beautiful coral reef made up of blue and turquoise. We entered the water during feeding fish time and it was quite exciting to see the fish surface with mouths open to feed. We really did swim with the fish. It was a wonderful day. Many great moments and memories were had for everyone.

Louise comments- Carol, Laura and I snorkeled until Laura was too cold to stay in the water any longer. The vibrant colors of the fish and coral were amazing to see. After a great buffet lunch, we three went out in the semi-submersible submarine and we delighted to see a minke shark swim by us. What a memorable day it was.

Elaine comments- I snorkeled for the first time and what an experience! I loved seeing and being so close to all the fish. The submersible sub was also a great experience! It is still hard to believe we were at the Great Barrier Reef!!

Jeanne comments- The time we spent at the Great Barrier Reef was truly one of the most spectacular and amazing activities of this trip. I have never seen such a large expanse of living coral, so colorful and vibrant, in all my life. I not only snorkeled at the reef, but had the opportunity to scuba dive with a group as well. It was truly an experience and I felt so fortunate and blessed to have done so. Seeing the multitudes of colorful fish and such a wide variety of coral was fascinating. I even had the opportunity to pet a large fish, while my dive master held it and I placed my hand in a giant clam shell to see it slowly close up. The water was so blue and clear that I was mesmerized the whole day. Words can’t really describe the beauty we saw that day.

Roberta comments- Have you ever eyeballed a giant grouper? Well, I can now say I have. She really wasn’t a grouper, but something very similar with a pale yellow body and fins the color of turquoise coral. Swimming with schools of yellow striped fish is a hoot! What a magnificent day on the trip to OZ. Oh,- if you all could only have been here.. Miss you.

Penni comments- The Great Barrier Reef is just that. Soooo Great. The experience was a moment of joy. I wanted to just giggle with delight. The fish and coral were vibrant. Cheryl pulled me in for a second swim and that was even better than the first. I felt braver and went out to the white buoys. What a wonderful part of creation. I am so blessed to say I swam in the reef with my Dragonheart friends.

Jim comments- My trip to the Great Barrier Reef started perfectly thanks to our new friend Oliver from Montreal. He gave Penni and me each a Dramamine. Otherwise, between the bus trip of 1 ½ hours on a very winding road and another 1 ½ hour boat ride out to the platform by the reef, it could have been a sickly disaster! Instead, we suffered no ill effects of motion sickness. Even with my mild case of claustrophobia, I entered the glass bottom sub with a surprising amount of comfort. As for my experience snorkeling on the Great Barrie Reef, nothing on my trip compares to it. Can’t wait to show my pictures and tell my stories.

Red comments- Our trip to the Great Barrier Reef was great! While trying to navigate my way out, my mask kept filling with water and Penni spotted me and came back helping me along the rope, pointing out where to look and staying back with me. Thanks Penni!

Carol and Laura comment- The sound of the reef were fascinating. Parrot fish crunching on the coral- broken coral pieces tinkling in the current, and of course the waves swishing over our backs. And then there was that shark…..

BTW- side comments- Everyone returned safe and sound- No bites or stings or missing digits.

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