Diving on the Great Barrier Reef: The Final Post

A pair of anemone fish in a bright red anemone

A pair of anemone fish in a bright red anemone at Steve’s Bommie on the Great Barrier Reef

Finally, here is my last batch of diving photos from the Great Barrier Reef. These photos come from Christmas Tree Bommie, a relatively deep, small bommie that is visited less frequently than a lot of the other sites up in the Ribbon Reefs. There’s also a final group from Steve’s Bommie, whose photogenic qualities never cease to amaze.

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Diving on the Great Barrier Reef – Take Two on Taka!

A cute spotted sweetlips at Clam Gardens on the Great Barrier Reef

A cute spotted sweetlips at Clam Gardens on the Great Barrier Reef

I loved my Great Barrier Reef diving trip on Taka a couple of months ago so much I wanted to do it all over again, but alas, it’s obviously not cheap! In Cairns it’s relatively common for dive companies to offer “hostie” gigs – room, board, and a handful of dives in exchange for washing dishes and doing other odd jobs on the boat. I jumped at the chance to do it with Taka this past weekend so I could go back to the Ribbon Reefs.

It was much, much harder work than I’d expected and honestly I’m not quite sure it was worth it. If I’d taught English for the 25 hours I spent working on the boat, I would have made enough to pay for the trip outright and then enjoyed it a lot more  (and spared my hands a couple of burns and cuts – those industrial dishwashing machines aren’t messing around!). However, it was definitely a different experience than anything I’ve done before and I’m glad I did it, if only so that I’ve gained a new appreciation for people who do that kind of work full time.

Now, on to the diving. I did 8 wonderful dives this time around but only brought my camera on half of them as I wanted to really focus on breathing and maximizing air efficiency. Of course, the dives where I saw sharks, a Maori wrasse, awesome eels, and stingrays I didn’t have the camera. Murphy’s law, I suppose. This batch of pictures comes from Steve’s Bommie and Clam Gardens.

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Sightseeing in Cairns

Gigantic estuarine crocodiles at Cairns Tropical Zoo

Gigantic estuarine crocodiles at Cairns Tropical Zoo

I spent about six weeks total in Cairns, mostly working with teens at language schools but also doing a fair amount of hiking and other activities with a Meetup group, which as usual was filled with lovely, happy people. I was also fortunate because the school programs I was teaching for combined classroom hours with excursions, so I got to go on trips like taking the famous Kuranda Scenic Railway and visiting the Cairns Tropical Zoo – and get paid for the pleasure! It was certainly a departure from my typical budget-minded sightseeing style, and I was glad to be able to see so much.

It’s hard to believe my time there is over. Six weeks is the longest I’ve spent in one place in a long time, and it actually started to feel a bit like home. Of course it’s the nature of the traveler to move on, and my next Australian adventure lies in the Northern Territory!

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Diving on the Great Barrier Reef: Steve’s Bommie

Schools of yellow lined snapper and fusilier at Steve's Bommie in the Great Barrier Reef

Schools of yellow lined snapper and fusilier at Steve’s Bommie in the Great Barrier Reef

Steve’s Bommie is one of the most popular dive sites on the Ribbon Reefs and it was highly anticipated on the Taka trip. Before this dive a helpful staff member aboard Taka helped me play around with the color settings on my camera, which resulted in some really good, rich shots. The yellow of the snapper is superb and some of the coral colors came out marvelously. As I’m still a novice photographer, some of the photos were a bit TOO color rich, but with more experimentation I’m sure I’ll get it right soon enough.

I had some trouble identifying some of these fish, so if any marine biologists happen to stumble upon this page and have corrections, please feel free to leave them in the comments.

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Queensland Road Trip: Day 6

A view over the Eubenangee Swamp in Queensland, Australia

A view over the Eubenangee Swamp in Queensland, Australia

The final day of my road trip brought me to Wooroonooran National Park and the surrounding areas. I saw Josephine Falls, the Golden Hole, Bramston Beach, Eubenangee Swamp National Park, and the Babinda Boulders.

The area was absolutely gorgeous and very different from the national parks close to Brisbane. I saw amazing herons and lots of turtles and butterflies. I was surprised at how dense and green the rainforests were. I had thought of Australia as tropical with palm trees and beaches, but somehow never realized it’s home to so many massive forests.

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