Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Great Barrier Reef

(Of course I took the helicopter ride!)

Yours truly with big fish.

Giant clam. Yep, we saw it. I didn't take this. It came with the photos taken by the cruise photographer. I didn't even take my underwater camera in. It was too beautiful to stop and photograph. Sides I'm not sure how I'd have held it. I'm an awful swimmer.

Cairns harbor.

It's as amazing as everyone says. Stupendous! Fantastic! Beyond belief! One runs out of superlatives fast. I forget where I read that scientists aren't sure why the marine life in coral reefs is so darn colorful. Well whatever reason they come up with, it's absolutely beautiful. And that's good enough for me.

I was quite pleased at how easily I took to snorkeling. And the fact that I didn't get sea-sick on the ride too and from (the waves were rather high). However, in the afternoon, just out of the water (having ingested, oh, probably half the Pacific), the gentle bobbing of the platform got to me and I skipped lunch and napped in the sun.

Yes, I used sunblock.

And yes, I was wearing a lycra suit too.

There was another Indian on today's cruise. A doctor from the UK (originally from Bombay too). We got to chatting. He grew up Methodist (back when it was the Methodist Church in India, before the whole CSI thing happened. Not that doesn't refer to a TV series.) and then became "born again" but has since found Christianity and monotheism too confining. Interesting conversation. (Just to say it tends to confirm my belief that those who reject Christianity are rejecting some form of it that is, well, a bit off the mark shall we say.) I thought he was in his 40s -- he's at least 20 years older!


georgette said...

That is a great shot of you and the fish--what vivid colors!! This looks like a great vacation you're having. I think I know where I'd like our next family vacation to be!!

Thanks for sharing your adventures!


Gashwin said...

You're welcome Georgette --- do get to the Reef! It won't be around forever! Hope all's well in southern India :) Peace.

Mac said...

In the news Sunday 13.5.07 --

Barrier Reef wins top tourism award

12 May 2007 06:21pm

AAP - THE Great Barrier Reef has taken out one of world tourism's most coveted awards.
The reef - the world's largest living organism - was voted the best destination by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) as part of its Tourism for Tomorrow awards, at a ceremony in Lisbon, Portugal, overnight.

Describing the win as a "major coup", Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC) chief executive officer Daniel Gschwind said the award was considered the foremost accolade for sustainable tourism.

He said the reef topped more than 130 entries from 40 countries across seven continents.

"I think the sheer size and diversity of nature, it is so spectacular to see and to experience, that is what makes (the reef) so special," Mr Gschwind said.

"It is an experience that leaves no one untouched. When you stick your head under water it is just something that you will probably remember for the rest of your life.

"We want to make sure that many more people and future generations can have that sort of experience."

Mr Gschwind said the award was the culmination of efforts by industry, government and environmental stakeholders to ensure the GBR is protected for the future.

"Marine operators and industry organisations, including QTIC, have worked intensely and cooperatively with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) to ensue the long term sustainability of the reef while building a world class tourism industry" Mr Gschwind said.

"At a time when environmental concerns are rising, not least over the impact of climate change, this is shining example of how the tourism industry, government and conservation can work together in addressing the challenges."

The GBR marine park is the world's largest heritage site.

It is estimated to generate $5 billion in tourism earnings each year and supports up to 50,000 jobs along the Queensland coast.