It being only our second day in Cairns, we wasted no time in exploring the Great Barrier Reef; we booked our tickets yesterday and boarded the ship this morning! With Cairns being a tourist trap, there were a lot of pamphlets to sort through to ensure we were going to get a great experience. It’s a pretty sad reality, but a lot the reef has been destroyed and is now dead because of all the irresponsible tourism that has been happening for years and years. With that said, the best places to go are to the outer ring of reefs because there has been less of a human impact there. So that was the goal: to find a reasonably priced tour group that took us out to places where the reef wasn’t dead. Lucky for us, we did pick a great tour and we had great weather.

One of the things I was most looking forward to was getting a nice tan while snorkeling for 4+ hours today, however Cairns and the surrounding areas have now officially entered jellyfish season, which meant we were required to wear stinger suits if we weren’t wanting to die. While they looked ridiculous – Devin is modeling it nicely for you in the picture – I was really glad I wore it because I saw multiple jellyfish every time I got in the water. They were sneaky too, because they were smaller than my hand but totally clear. I guess Devin saw some ones that actually looked terrifying, but I was freaked out enough by the small ones that I was glad I didn’t see anything scarier. In addition to the jellyfish and the hundreds of fish that I don’t know the names of, I saw a school of flying fish, giant clams, a pod of dolphins playing with one another, and a shark, all for my first time! The shark was totally harmless and was only as long as I am tall, but it was still very thrilling to see because how many other times can you see a shark and not be worried about it eating you?

Even though we had ventured out to the outer rings of the reef, the affects that we have on the reef were still very noticeable. There were heaps of all different kinds of fish, but for the most part they were the only things providing the vast array of colors because most of the coral was dead. I learned that even sunscreen affects the reef and the species that thrive in it. I don’t know how recent tours started doing this, but an additional tax is billed onto each person’s ticket, which is put towards conserving the reef. Long story short, I was reminded of just how delicate Mother Nature is and how we sometimes forget to treat her nicely. So, just make sure you treat her nicely today, for me.

Poor Devin, he got attacked by another bird yesterday while on a run. Now his phobia is legitimate, and anytime anything swoops near him he freaks out. However last night when we saw the fruit bats in the city, he wasn’t the only one freaking out. Wikipedia has now informed me that the average wingspan of a fruit bat is 3.3 feet, so imagine a hundred of those screeching and swooping above you and trying to stay calm. It was f-r-e-a-k-y.


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