FRIDAY 4/2/2010 – GREAT BARRIER REEF
The Ocean Spirit Cruise tour met us outside of the Rydges Esplanade Resort Cairns at 7:35am for a full day Michaelmas Cay Cruise aboard a five star catamaran.
Michaelmas Cay is a beautiful sand reef island, 24 miles off the coast of Cairns, surrounded by coral gardens and diverse marine life. The Cay is a protected seabird sanctuary for over 20,000 migratory seabirds; it’s one of the most important nesting sights in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Ocean Spirit crew warned us of SUNBAKE, encouraged us to stay horizontal when snorkeling, instructed us not to snorkel from the boat. When we stop around 11:00 am, they’ll relay us to the beach with buggies. They taught us the international signals for “Are you OK” and “I’m OK”. Lexie and Marcia practiced the signals.
I got kind of woozy on the boat. We took the second beach buggy to the Cay; put on our snorkel gear and headed to the water.
There were amazing coral, fish, and stingray, but no turtles. I loved it. I was not afraid like I was when I snorkeled in Cabo San Lucas.
I laid on the surface of the water (and didn’t blow out). “Don’t talk with your mouth open,” Lexie warned me. “MINGMAY! MINGMAY!” Lexie and Marcia knew I meant “stingray”. Pointing, talking, and motioning, I was having SO much fun!
Lexie and Marcia were nervous of the jellyfish and stingray. Lexie, a competitive swimmer, wanted to go on shore to rest. They had both been in once already to adjust equipment. I was completely oblivious to any danger and LOVED IT! I convinced Lexie to go back out for a while. We didn’t get far when the buggy came back and made last call for lunch.
We went in for lunch – Chicken and Rice, Fish and Potatoes, salad, Roast Beef, Ham, Cheese, Melons, and Bread.
Lexie and I went back to the reef after lunch – more of the same – red fish with buck teeth, blue fish swimming under mushroom coral. We took the second buggy back and immediately got into the semi-submersible – Fish, Coral, TURTLE!!
Back on the boat, we had cake, coffee, and champagne. Marcia had a Magnum bar. James was playing the guitar and singing Jimmy Buffet songs. We met a little dancing girl and her diving mom who had moved from the UK to Cairns.
We were exhausted when we got back to the hotel.
We walked right past the front desk, barely acknowledged Justin who offered to help us the night before, but responded affirmatively when he asked if we had a nice day.
We showered, dressed for dinner, and went back to see Justin. He gave us a map indicating a nice area for dinner. We had no idea which way were coming out of the hotel. We walked all four directions before getting it right. We were like zombies – trying to read a map in our sleep.
We ate at Splash Restaurant. There were bugs on the menu, but Lexie had seafood chowder, I had fish and chips, and Marcia had a spicy Japenese prawn thing.
Despite many opportunities for ice cream along The Esplanade, we resisted the temptation. Shops are open late in Cairns – we shopped for a while before heading back to the hotel.
I really like this town.
I liked Uluru Resort, too.
We stopped at the front desk again. We had decided at dinner to skip the six-hour round trip ride to Cape Tribulatin tomorrow and take the Kuranda SkyRail instead. Three zombies booked a skyrail tour for the next day. We hoped it would not be too rainy!
Marcia checked for spiders in bed again.