On Friday, January 29, we flew to Cairns and took a bus to Port Douglas. We spent three nights at a beautiful resort hotel in Port Douglas called the Sea Temple Resort & Spa.
The rooms are in
separate buildings surrounded by tropical gardens. The pool is a real
centerpiece, meandering all over the place. Many of the rooms have patios which
lead directly into the pool. Our room has a patio with a private garden and a
huge bath with a whirlpool tub.
|Suzanne at the Sea Temple|
Well, and here is another surprise for me – we are now in the tropics! What a variety of climate we are experiencing. From the dry heat of the Outback to the humidity and heat of the tropics, from desert to lush rain forest, from low scrubby plants, rocks and sand to tall palms, beautiful flowers, and wet, muddy soil.
Our first day here we all went to see the Great Barrier Reef. We took a catamaran out to a platform that they built over a part of the Outer Reef. They provided gear for snorkeling which Don enjoyed doing.
I was happy to look at the underwater observatory on the platform and
then go in the glass bottom boat to get a closer view of the magnificent coral
and creatures that live there. I never realized that there were so many sizes
and shapes of coral. It was quite fascinating.
|Don is ready to go snorkeling|
|So many shapes of coral|
On the second day here we went to tour the rain forest. Most of the original rain forest was logged and destroyed, but a small part of it was accidentally preserved and is now a protected area, a World Heritage Site. We visited Cooper Creek Wilderness and learned a lot about rain forest ecology. Our guide was very passionate about the forest. He taught us that everything was intertwined – the plants, the animals, and even the humans who used to live here. When they removed the pygmy population in the 1980’s they removed that human component and the health of the forest is deteriorating. Pigs were introduced when the first settlers arrived and they are now damaging the forest. However, since they are protected, you are not supposed to kill them! What a dilemma for someone who is so passionate about his trees!