Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Great Barrier Reef, Where the rainforest meets the reef and Bloomfield track

Port douglas was a bit of a touristy town; filled with tonnes of people wanting to get to the great barrier reef and 4 main tour companies begging to take you to the great barrier reef. We opted for Calypso Reef Cruises, which included 1.5 hour motor out to GBR and 3 stops on the reef: Tongue Bay, Opal Bay and another one i forget.
back of boat snug up against the GBR
There are no words to describe all the sights you see under the water. If you have the chance to see it for yourself i highly recommend it! We learned alot from the amazing crew on Calypso that i will share with you:
- There was a male dominant fish on tongue reef and a harem of female fish (most reefs have the same) and this fish was named Angus. If Angus dies or goes to another reef, the next largest female fish will (over the course of about 4 weeks) have a sex change and turn into the next dominant male fish! Crazy hey.
- Same thing goes for (finding)nemo type of fish, except opposite. There is a female dominant with a harem of males. She emits a chemical in the water that keeps the males, male. When she dies or moves on and the chemical isn't dispersed anymore, the next largest male fish will have a sex change to be the next dominant female fish.
- the GBR is a) the largest living entity that b) can be seen from space
- Where we were snorkeling was about 5 metres max, if you motored another km east, it would be 300 metres and one more km would get you to 2km deep of ocean.
Here are some awesome pics:
large clam

I did three snorkels and todd did 2 snorkels and an intro dive.
Todds dive getup
The next day took us up to the Daintree Rainforest, for those who don't know the Daintree is the oldest rainforest in the world. To get here, we had to cross a river ferry and there were various spots along the windy road to take boardwalk treks through the rainforest. Not sure if you remember a few blog posts back, we talked about cassowary birds (from the Australia zoo) They had a weird hard thing on their head and they are almost extinct and play a big role in maintaining the rainforest. They only eat fruit and poop out the fruit seeds, which in turn, drops on the ground and grows another rainforest tree. Some people saw them along the boardwalks and we were looking for them but didn't find one. Only thing we saw was this:

The other claim to fame with the Daintree is that it is the only rainforest that meets the reef. In Cape Tribulation, you stand on the beach and see that the rainforest actually reaches out to the reef in the ocean. Crazy.
We landed that night at the Cape Trib Beachhouse, which was associated with hosteling international. The cabin was very rustic (plywood floors, walls and a tin roof!) but it was a pretty cool location.
There were some interesting creatures at the beachhouse area.
Monitor (aka komodo dragon!) at the main reception area at beachhouse

deathly spider and todds hand
Todd was very excited about taking the Bloomfield track, which was an old mining track and was only allowed to be used by 4 wheel drive vehicles. It was gravel road, with lots of ruts, creek crossings, steep inclines (30%) and a ford crossing. It was in true Donovan style that we took this road and ended up at the Lions Den (the oldest bar in Queensland built in the 1880's). This place had alot of character, history and a museum (that todd actually went into.
The floorboards, walls, roof, bar, etc were all from 1880's. It was a cool place and the lunch was great! The bloomfield track took us all the way to Cooktown, where Cap James Cook in 1770 hit a reef with his HMS Endeavor and beached the boat. He had to stay here for 2 months to fix the boat. A very laid back, hippy kinda town with alot of Cook history.

1 comment:

  1. OMG. I am just catching up with the blog now (not that I'm complaining or anything.. but I'm a bit overworked since Jill is traipsing all over Australia with you peeps...). BUT OMG WHAT IS TODD'S HAND DOING SO CLOSE TO THAT SPIDER / TOUCHING THAT SPIDER??? Crazy times. I almost panicked on this side of the world.