We reluctantly said good bye to our beloved Sydney and flew to Cairns in tropical North Queensland located at the very tip top of Australia. Our good friends had heartily recommended a unique eco resort called the Thala Beach Lodge which is located between Cairns (where the airport is) and Port Douglas. Port Douglas is a relatively small, adorable, little town nestled right near the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef system.
My girlfriend Kathy explained how the rooms were located in “tree houses” and the views of the rainforest and the ocean were spectacular. I knew that this part of the trip may be a little risky, since I am married to the quintessential “city slicker”. He much prefers the urban jungle to the tropical one we were about to sleep in. I was very intrigued by the resort and therefore convinced myself that we would be just fine and would keep the doors to our room closed tightly! Ha!
But we were in the middle of the jungle for heaven’s sakes, there are creatures everywhere! I just prayed they would stay away from Craig! We arrived at the resort to see the lovely open air lobby with a beautiful, grand stairway, several tropical swimming pools and heart-stopping views of the ocean and rainforest. As we were walking to the treehouse guest house, Craig asked the bellman if there were any snakes nearby… (duh, of course there are) and he answered, “Only the 8 foot python we saw the other day”. I immediately feared that 30 years of marriage was flying out the window and Craig was not a happy camper.
Snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef
Good news!… Craig survived the jungle, wasn’t mad at me, enjoyed the views and was really looking forward to our all day snorkeling adventure! Wavelength sent a courtesy coach to take us to the lovely marina in nearby Port Douglas. We were then whisked away by the friendliest and most accommodating crew we could have ever hoped for! There were about 25 enthusiastic snorkelers and a small crew including a marine biologist! It takes about 90 minutes to reach the continental shelf (we went really far out there). Interesting fun fact: Although we were about 100 miles out in the middle of the ocean, it was shallow enough that we could see the bottom! We were all outfitted with impressive snorkel gear and our fashionable, but necessary stinger suits. The crew offered breakfast, lunch and afternoon “tea” for the journey back. It was a complete package!
The captain decides where to stop based upon the conditions of the day. A very capable,(blond and pretty too!) marine biologist accompanied our group to help the snorkelers discover aspects of the site that might have been easily missed by us! She led us to an area and we snorkeled about and she would point out the variety of sea life and creatures we were observing! There are very strict guidelines on what can be touched to protect the integrity of the reef and she made sure we adhered to those rules. We traveled to three different sites throughout the day with helpful rest breaks in between. We came home completely exhausted, but so grateful to have witnessed such a miracle of nature.