be sure to rollover ‘notes’ to see photo captions!

Woke up to rain (tropics!) on Great Barrier Reef day. It took over an hour to motor out to the floating platform but once we were there, Mom, Dad, Uncle Denny and I had the first scheduled marine biologist-guided snorkel.

Eric was a great guide and eased us into snorkeling and pointed out a lot of cool things. A humphead Maori wrasse named Roxie follows Eric around whenever he’s on the reef and will actually seek him out (the other guides say she’s in love with him. Later we found out she’s going through a lot of hormonal changes due to changing sexes, so I guess we can forgive her for being a little obsessive). We saw a lot of Roxie, and got to pet her and give her mouth a rub, which is her favorite. She was very smooth and soft and her mouth was sort of squashy. Roxie was probably the best part of the Reef; I wish I’d had an underwater housing for my camera so I could’ve taking a photo of her.

I didn’t take this, and this isn’t Roxie, but you can see the size of these fish!

We got to hold a sea cucumber and a free-living coral as well. Once the guided part of our snorkel was over, I stayed out and watched the fish and listened to the parrotfish eating (scrape scrape scrape!). It was fantastic and I wouldve been out all day, but I got stung by a jellyfish on my hand, ankle, and face (my lip and cheek), and more started drifting into our area so I didn’t go back in. The sting hurt a lot and took a few hours to go away, despite getting sprayed down with vinegar relatively soon after it happened (I was pretty far away from the base when I got stung).

We had a buffet lunch and went on a little trip in a semi-submersible so we could see more of the reef. We had a nice talk with Ken and Shirley, a couple we’d first met on our Taieri Gorge Railway trip and got some ice cream.

Back ashore, we cleaned up and relaxed then went to dinner on the Esplanade. My dinner at Barnacle Bill’s was so good i’m still fantasizing about it. We watched the fruit bats migrate out of town and got gelato.