Sunday, October 08, 2017

Australia's Great Barrier Reef

We left Easter Island and had a six-hour flight to obtain fuel in Papaette, Tahiti. Nice to finally see this tropical paradise that I have heard so much about (although I do not not count this as a country visited unless I spend the night). We then had another three-hour flight arriving in Apia, Western Samoa. This was to be our only one night stay on the whole trip. After one night here, then another six-hour flight to Cairns Australia, where we were to visit the Great Barrier Reef. I don't know the names of any of  the fishes or corals - so just enjoy this photo gallery of my snorkel day at the Reef.

Flying into Australia we passed over the southern end of the island of New Caledonia. This is a continental sliver of crust that was once part of the Gondwana supercontinent. Note there fringing reef and lagoon along the shore.

Flying over the Great Barrier Reef as we come into Cairns. It is between 1200 and 1600 miles in length containing over 900 islands.

Our jumping off spot to tour the reef was a from the title town of Port Douglas on Australia's northeast coast.

Entrance to the harbor at Port Douglas.

Our catamaran boat that took us 25 miles out to the reef. The next pictures have little descriptive text.

There was a huge coral bleaching event in the northern 1/3 of the reef in 2016. I estimate that 75% of the corals at this site were dead from that bleaching event. I gave a lecture on the jet coming into Australia about the reef and the threats to it from climate change. Here is branching coral that is 100% dead.

A giant clam and its amazing colors.

Some folks went scuba diving.

Next we fly back to the northern hemisphere and the ruins known as Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

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