Overnight sailing-Great Barrier Reef

This is an ariel view of only part the Great Barrier Reef taken from the internet.

  you can see how big the GBR is.  It is located off the north east part of Australia.

The reef is huge. I will quote again how significant this place is…

Great Barrier Reef
Coral reef in Queensland, Australia

The Great Barrier Reef, off the coast of Queensland in northeastern Australia, is the largest living thing on Earth, and even visible from outer space. The 2,300km-long ecosystem comprises thousands of reefs and hundreds of islands made of over 600 types of hard and soft coral. It’s home to countless species of colourful fish, molluscs and starfish, plus turtles, dolphins and sharks.
SIMG_0432  Sawyer and I on the Sailboat heading out in the Coral Sea to visit the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). This excursion was a 2 day sailing that stopped at 6 different reefs.  All of them better than the next.  I saw a lot of cool things, like GIANT CLAMS that were 4 feet long,  black tip sharks, tons and tons of beautiful coral, Blue sea stars and fish of all sizes and colors.  On the boat there were people getting certified for Scuba diving and they were taking a class, I listened in and learned everything ,I can identify all of the coral and fish that they can.  I learned a lot about oceanography and marine biology and the life of the reef.    I cant dive until I’m old enough…..but….Dad let me try his breathing regulator (the one that the Oxygen comes out of) while in the water and I used it while connected to him for 5 minutes under water.  So technically, Sawyer and I got to scuba dive.  Cool. Unlike snorkeling it was fun not to always have to be on the surface.
Just so you know, MOM took all of these pictures with an underwater camera we rented.  They are NOT from the internet.
IMG_0447I saw a lot of Plate coral, most of which were 2 feet or more long.  Not many fish feed on this type of coral. I wonder why? IMG_0473I also saw broccoli coral, Elk coral, spaghetti coral, elephant ears, honeycomb coral, plate and brain coral and more. IMG_0533IMG_0600This is a GIANT CLAM. it is over 4 feet long. If you read my blog earlier, you will know I saw hundreds of smaller clams in French Polynesia that i touched so I was REALLY excited to see these Giant Clams of the sea.  the biggest clams in the world are in the Great Barrier Reef, they are really one of a kind, HUGE> I lost count of how many I saw but I liked spotting them from snorkeling, IMG_0643I wonder how old these clams are? I will research this and do a report about it for my school work. IMG_0628look at the awesome color in this clam.
FUN FACTS:
The shell is extremely thick and lacks bony plates; when viewed from above, each valve has four to five inward facing triangular projections. The mantle of the giant clam is visible between the two shells, and is a golden brown, yellow or green, or a combination of colors.
The giant clam inhabits warm tropical waters on reef flats and shallow lagoons to a depth of up to 20 metres
The Giant clam never moves from its location.
I think it would boring to be a clam. Imagine the same position for life??
IMG_0672IMG_0558Sawyer and I going down to look at something. We spent hours in the water coming back to the boat to eat and sail to the next reef.  You will never believe what happened to me at the GBR.  I got stung by a “blue  bottle” jellyfish.  Twice.  That’s why I finally put on this wet suit.  The first sting wasn’t that bad, just itchyk.  The second sting was worse, I got stung on MY HAND, a centemeter from where the wet suit sleeve ended, just my luck.  I saw the blue stinger right on me . It was a long blue thread with a ball at the end. Dad picked the stinger out of my hand and threw it into the water. IMG_0707This is part of a BRAIN coral and it was as big as a truck.
FUN FACT: Brain coral only grows 1 centimeter a year….imagine how old this one is.
THe boat we were on was not a luxury boat at all.  It was basic and had 4 crew members and 15 guests.  All backpackers from all over the world, Japan, England, Belgium, France, US, HOlland.  My mom and dad were the oldest and we were the only kids.  IT was really cool though because it was fun to meet them and see where they are traveling and what country they are from.  I met this nice lady from Amsterdam named Afke and she is teacher. She told me a lot of interesting things about places she has been and said if we make it to Amsterdam she will let me visit her class.  She speaks great English and said kids learn English there from Kindergarten.  HELLO Afke, I hope the rest of your trip is going well.imageimage
The boat had bunk beds and a small kitchen underneath.  You can sleep on the bunk  or outside on the foam mattress, which Sawyer and I did. We slept in between all the diving tanks.  A perfect spot for Sawyer and I.  Mom and Dad were “chumps” and slept inside.  I liked looking at the stars and I had a great sleep.imageIMG_0567We would go in the ocean from the back of the sailboat. Sometimes Dad would throw us over the side for fun.  The rest of the group on the boat were surprised how good swimmers we were and how we would often be the first in and the last out of the water at each stop we did.  Sawyer and I could do this all day.  The boat crew prepared food for us and we ate it on the deck.
Words to describe the GBR: massive, grand, undescribable, beautiful, amazing, wild, majestic, awesome, outstanding, colorful, big, extrodinary.  It leaves you saying …”wow”  This was one of the prettiest things I ever saw. All of coral grouped together were like  countries and cities, and the fish were the people. I hope to be back here one day.
Please email me at rileymeckley@yahoo.com