Northern Australia, Great Barrier Reef

Right now I am in Cairns.   It is a jumping off point for the Great Barrier Reef in Northern Australia.  It is very hot here, summer time.

Right near our Hotel is the Esplanade, paths located right next to the ocean. It has parks, bike and jogging paths, exercise equipment right on the path, snack stands, the ocean, mini water parks, rock climbing, volleyball, BMX parks, and swimming lagoons, ALL FOR FREE.

imageimage to the left is me rock climbing.  To the right Sawyer and I are hanging on Dad..Can you find us?

On our first day here we did some exercise. The parks over look the water and I can see a lot of ships going to bring people to the Great Barrier Reef, which is the towns main business.  While walking one day I saw a herd of pelicans on the beach.  They were 3 feet (one meter) tall  and had a huge beak.image

Another day we went in the lagoon pool.  It is the biggest pool I ever swam in, it wasn’t that deep,  mostly 3 or 4 feet and the deepest point was 5 feet.  I liked swimming and playing with my famlily in the pool.  The pool also had some sand in some parts and a lot of fountains.  The town has Christmas decorations up and we watched a “bike parade” with the bikes decorated for Christmas.

While walking around this town we heard a bunch of high pitched screeching.  I was like “what is that?” when I saw hundreds and hundreds of birds in a tree.  I saw that they were parrots and they were very colorfull.  They were made up of lots  of green and orange and also blue, red and yellow.  It was very noisy and I feel bad for the people that work in the shops next to this tree.

In another HUGE tree close by to the parrot tree, there were a zillion bats.  at first I thought,” wow that a lot of birds “but then my mom pointed out that they were bats!!  How you tell the difference is by the head and wings.look at these tIMG_1433hings.

They were everywhere. This one is just opening his wings, We watched them awake around 6pm and then by 6:30pm they are off flying about the town, the sky looks like a movie with them soaring overhead. we took a video and sent it to our class’s back home.

Unlike other birds, bat wings have a point in the middle of their wings,  and if you look at the head closely you will notice that there are 2 little pointy things and those are the bats ears.  I guess it was the bats feeding time because they all swarming around the sky of the town for as far as the eye could see.  They also made a lot of noise.  most of the bats I saw were between 1 foot and 18 inches.  One time my mom and I were walking past a tree, when a fruit came falling out of the tree.  I looked up  and saw a lot of bats hanging upsisde down and eating the fruit.  I felt like chicken little when he said,  “the sky is falling, the sky is falling!” if you saw the movie you would understand what I’m talking about.  if you never seen the movie well, you must be confused out of your mind.

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now the moment I’m sure everyone wants to here about…

THE GREAT BARRIER REEF

December 10 was my first day on the Great Barrier Reef.  My parents have been here before which is why they wanted us to see this.  We have 2 trips planned on the Reef but this  first one is for the entire day only.  I  was so excited as I boarded thee huge boat, until someone threw up.  My feeling of excitement changed to grossed out.  The sea was rough and the ride was over an hour and some people get sea sick. They were quickly escorted to the outside of the boat.

As soon as the boat was anchored on the reef  I got on my snorkel and they gave me flippers.  I jumped in and was instantly bombarded by a bunch of fish.  There was this one fish that came up to me and was 3 or 4 feet long!!!!! I am not exaggerating.  I found out that the fishes name was Wally and he was a Giant Maori wrasse.  this is a picture of me touching the fish. You have to click on the photo to open it up bigger to really see the details in this fish. The design and the color. I really like all the different patterns.

 

 

 

P1430837THE GIANT MAIORI WRASSE. P1430718This one is a BABY.  P1430764P1430657my mom took lots of underwater pictures and video’s.  We can all “duck dive” which means swimming underwater with your snorkels. Like this…..

P1430674Mom made sure we were both good swimmers. This is Mom next to a 700 year old Brain Coral.

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The giant Maiori Wrasse is by far the most beautiful fish I ever seen.  It has so many pretty patterns,  the fish didn’t feel at all as slimy as I would of thought.  It’s texture was similar to a sting rays back.  “Wally” (the boat named him) is one of my new favorite animals  (aside from the polar bear, brown bear, moose and monkey) he was such a nice peacefull, playful and awesome fish and  I must have touched him at least 100 times. Look on Sawyers post to see a really awesome picture of him with the fish!

FUN FACT– the Giant Maori Wrasse can grow up to 3 meters(9 feet) s Wally is just a baby.  when I get older I want to go to the same area and see” wally” fully grown at almost 10 feet long!!!!!! imagine that!P1430845The fish would keep coming by me and swimming all over me. Look at the other big fish in the background…..

below are some pictures taken underwater of the coral that I saw.

P1430752Sawyer looking at some “blue Elk, or Staghorn coral”P1430786P1430687

FUN FACTS:  the Great Barrier Reef is the only living organism on Earth which can be seen from outer space.  Australia’s great Barrier Reef stretches for 2000 kilometers along the Queensland coast (North East Australia).

Coral reefs have been present on Earth for over 240 million years.

The reef is made up of over 2500 individual coral reefs containing around 400 species of coral.

Stay tuned because in a few days I will post about another Great Barrier Reef excursion….

Feel free to email me at rileymeckley@yahoo.com