March 3-6, 2018
The last stop in Australia.
Because of the copious amounts of poisonous jellyfish, it is unwise to swim in the ocean in Cairns without a stinger-suit. Therefore, they have a man-made lagoon named the Esplanade for your swimming pleasure.
Main thing ya do when ya go to Cairns – the Great Barrier Reef. So I booked a tour and did the thing!
I had no intentions of scuba diving while on this tour but a very convincing Korean scuba instructor convinced me to at least do the free quick intro class and trial (which included doing 2 tests to see if you were capable in the water) and then you could decide if you wanted to go (and $$) or just snorkel. Why not. I did the free trial and ended up scuba diving and it was AWESOME. 20 minutes flew by in what felt like 3 seconds.
But really, who looks good in scuba gear anyways.
Here is the picture evidence of my adventure!
FYI: I did also see tooonnnss of fish, but it is difficult to capture them sometimes. I saw Nemo and Marlin cleaning the anemone, honest to God. And I thought I was taking a picture of them but later on I realized I don’t have a picture of them? Give me a break, I was scuba diving for the first time! There were a lot of balls in the air, the GoPro was the least of my worries (breathing was a little more worrisome). I also saw another sea turtle haaaiiii, again no pic. My bad.
As you can see, the reef is alive and well. Thriving in this part, for sure.
I have seen several articles pop up on my fb news feed over the past few years with headlines something like “The Great Barrier Reef is Dying”. This first came up about 2 years ago when there was severe white washing of the reef north of Cairns. Let me explain to you, as the lovely crew member explained to me. Coral is naturally white, what gives coral its colour is the algae that grows on it. The algae are very important, as it is what the fish and other sea life eat. If the water temperature is too hot (as it was for 2 years in a row recently) the coral get sick and shed the algae to try to cool down and heal themselves – this is white washing. Because there is no algae on the coral, the fish populations move to areas where there is food for them. So. Scientists and others panicked thinking that the reef was dying at a rapid rate due to the rising temperatures (AKA global warming) of the ocean and basically cried wolf.
Now, this does not mean that global warming and human usage has not had detrimental effects on the reef – because it has. But it is not nearly to the extent that I was made to believe by the hoax/fake news articles that popped up on my news feed as I planned this trip. The reef area appears to be well regulated and has very strict rules pertaining to recreational use, fishing, and scientific use. This regulation is helping to preserve what remains and, hopefully, regrow the parts of the reef that have been damaged.
So there we go. You don’t have to rush to Australia to see the GBF right this second in fear of missing out on seeing this Wonder of the World. The main thing you can do in your day-to-day life to reduce further harm to the reef (and all of the ocean) is reduce plastic product consumption – plastic bags, water bottles, straws, excessive plastic packaging, etc. If we take the time to care for our world, then we can all have the opportunity to experience its beautiful corners. Not just us, but the future generations.
Anyways. Australia has been a slice, but it is time to move on!
Where to next?
XO – Kristiane