This is truly a tropical rain forest. They had about 3 weeks of rain before we got here so it’s hot and sticky! This small town has a half mile long main street with a sandy beach on one side and small hotels, restaurants and shops running down the other side. It looks like what I expect Hawaii looked like years ago. The beach is beautiful but it’s still stinging jellyfish season so they have a netted “safe” area to swim. They also have saltwater crocodiles here. We were told that when they get too big they are removed to a more remote area…….so we’re swimming in the pool.
We went snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef on Monday. We went to the Outer Reef that is 30 miles off shore. The sea was really calm and warm and it was so beautiful. They took us to 3 different spots and gave us all the gear. They also had blue full body lycra suits for everyone to wear in case of those jellyfish (which we did not see) so everyone looked like blue smurfs swimming around. The suits had the added benefit of protecting us from sunburn. It was like swimming in an aquarium! The fish were so colorful and there were so many kinds. At one stop several of the crew gave “tours” pointing out fish and coral and naming everything for us. I did not rent an underwater camera. I wanted to just enjoy the experience rather than taking fuzzy pictures of colorful fish and missing the real thing.
On Tuesday we took a tour up to Kuranda, a small tourist/artist town on top of a small mountain in the rain forest near here. We wandered, had lunch and relaxed. For the trip down, we took the Sky-Rail, the longest cable car in the world. It is divided into 3 sections. At the two center stations there are board walks through the forest. One leads to viewing platforms for a huge waterfall and the other had a forest ranger to explain the flora. The best part of that day was a butterfly sanctuary in Kuranda. They hand raise thousands of butterflies and they flutter all around this screened in aviary type area. During our tour of the butterfly sanctuary they took us back to where they baby all the caterpillars till they turn into butterflies and are released into the sanctuary to fly around looking for a mate, lay their eggs and it starts all over again.
Wednesday was a trip to the Daintree Rainforest. The weather was a little cooler, overcast with a bit of rain but it always lightened up or stopped when we got out of the 4 Wheel Drive Truck. Took a well guided walk through the rain forest and did a cruise on the Daintree River where we saw a baby crocodile on a log – none of the big ones came out for us. It was a long day driving about 200 miles up to the Park and back. Beautiful scenery. We lucked out and got to sit in the front seats of the 16 passenger truck so we had excellent views.
Next stop is Melbourne.