Sunday, March 1, 2015

A Rippa' Snorkel on the Reef

What is the largest living structure on the planet? Well, it's the Great Barrier Reef of course. This massive 344,400 square km nation of soft and hard corals is home to a vast array of marine life and can even be seen from outer space. I hope that sounded impressive, because words can't begin describe the scope of beauty and life in this thing!

Though I was only swimming over maybe 10-20 square km of the reef today, I had a grouse (terrific) time exploring it.

Looks like a maze
Here's a Titan Triggerfish

I believe this is some sort of angel fish?

The seas were decently rough on the 2 hour boat ride out to the reef. Our advisers recommend we take sea sickness tablets before the trip. Naturally half of us didn't. I've spent a good chunk of my life rockin' on boats so I felt fine. But I know a few others who got sick and went to chunder over the side of the boat.
Five foota! This whitetip reef shark swam right under me, and
then I swam next to him for a while.

Out on the reef, they set us loose for a few hours to explore the wonders under water. Even from a group of 60, there was plenty of reef to escape into. I was able to float above 2-3m deep areas, as well as free dive down to 15-20m drop offs.

Giant Clam
The coral was beautiful. Several mollusks and other echinoderms decorated the sea scape. Sharks, rays, and turtles were some of the larger fish present, not to mention the plethora of beautiful reef fish. Jelly fish were a fascination for me. We were highly recommended to were stringer suits (thankfully I did) Jelly fish were everywhere in the water, which is great for the turtles as this is a main food for them.

Blue starfish
Jelly, Jelly, Jelly :)

On the 2 hour ride back to shore, my friends and I decided to enjoy the thrill of getting pelted in the face by wind and rain whilst hanging our legs off the front deck to catch a splash if the boat hit a nice wave. It's crazy moments like this that seem to bring the most joy, and what a fine way to end a day out on the reef too.
Blue spotted reef ray just swimming along.

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