Friday, June 26, 2009

Green Island

Leaving Palm Cove, Melissa and I drove down to Cairns, dropping off our treasured new hire car, to board another boat to get out amongst the Great Barrier Reef - this time across to Green Island. One of my new favourite places in the world!

As part of Melissa's package, we were to be Resort guests for the night over on the little island, 27 kms from Cairns in the Coral Sea. This island is actually a sea cay on the Reef, which is covered in rainforest vegetation - the best of both worlds. But to make it better, there is a resort of just 46 rooms, and a day service, of which the last departs at about 4.30pm, leaving the island to it's night guests.

We arrived and were greeted at the dock and taken to the resort, and shown the facilities. Here we checked into our room, which overlooked the rainforest, and could have seemed like there was noone else around.

Getting a lay of the island and it's activities on offer, we walked to the beach for a look, before having lunch and watching some nervous beginners prepare for their scuba dive in the resort pool. Ready for some sun and water, we collected snorkeling equipment (now that we were such experts!) and staked out our place on the beach.

Getting into the water sports idea, we decided to check out the water by first hiring two kayaks, and paddling around and over the reef. Getting used to the whole concept of rowing, but also taking in the sun and sea, the horizon and the alive water of fish and coral below us, we got a feel for what we would see with the snorkel.

But then taking on mask and flippers once more, and dipping our faces in, we really got to see the world of activity just under the surface. Again, so amazing! The colours, the array of fishies. We would just float over them, watching them go about their day. Such a treat!

With so much to squeeze into our night and two days on the island, we eventually called it a day in terms of all our water activities, and got ready for a night on the island. First up, from the jetty, there was the fish feeding, where different fish were pointed out, tempted to the surface with their daily feed from the marine biologist. Here we got to see stingray, turtles, and even a shark!

From here, we went to the bench again for sunset drinks. Champagne was served to guests, as the sun sank into the ocean in front of us. We then had dinner at the restaurant, Emeralds, Melissa having the risotto and I had the seafood laksa, with wine, of course!

The evening stargazing was offered from the pier as we finished our meal, and away from the lights of civilisation we had all the constellations pointed out to us, with an up close view through the telescope. Next up was a night walk - and our walk led us to the underwater observatory to see the reef activity at that hour.

The next morning, Melissa and I had agreed to get up early enough to have the island to ourselves, and complete a full lap around it - I mean, how often can you say you walked around the circumference of an island? Taking just under an hour, it was peaceful and calm, with Cairns coming into view for the last third of our walk. Buffet breakfast awaited us, before we prepared for a day in the water.

More kayaking, getting amongst the turtles, before we snorkeled at the same beach for the morning. A lunch snack got us through to join the glass bottom boat tour out to more Reef spots just off the island, with more big fishy activity and coral formations explained and wondered at with awe.

The water was so clear, and as we were told this day was the best they had had in years, we then snorkeled off the jetty to take in the colour and activity in this section. Breathtaking....even with the snorkel in place!

So much to do and see on this little island, with the sense that there is next to noone else around. Plus it seemed like such a privilege to be able to swim around and take in the natural activities of the underwater world below you.

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