Great Barrier Reef
Last week, [CM] and I went up to Cairns (Queensland, Australia) to check out the Great Barrier Reef.
Wow. For starters, as someone who used to work in the fish department of a pet store, it’s pretty amazing to see fish a few inches in front of your face without any glass to separate them from you. It’s also pretty amazing to see fish as big as, if not bigger, than your head, in front of your face.
The corals were quite different from what I expected. I turns out that saltwater blocks certain colors of sunlight, so it gives a lot of the corals a dull grey/brown look– when pictures are taken with flash (the sorts you see in magazines) the full spectrum of light is right there at close range, which is why things appear a lot more vibrant.
Nonetheless, seeing the reef in person was pretty amazing for us. At some places, the reef would drop off into an infinite darkness below us. We were only snorkelling (not scuba diving) so we couldn’t go that low. It wasn’t a huge deal though– at some points, the reef was about a meter from the surface of the water, which actually made it pretty difficult to swim (you don’t want to step or kneel or sit on these things, because some of them can be quite sharp).
Many of those fish looked pretty tasty.
Of note to anyone going to Cairns though: the cuisine in the area is pretty sad. Go there to see the reef– but there’s not much fine dining to do around there.