Ring Ring!…Ring Ring!
The dream suddenly vanishes from John’s mind as he is dragged back into the real world. The telephone’s chimes as loud as any herald in proclaiming a new day. He jumps into life and runs across the room to the most inanimate of messengers.
With a toad like voice he croaks into the receiver… “Hello?”
While instructions are passed down the line from the other end, Karen stirs and with an accusing glare asks why on earth the phone was ringing, “Did you set a wake up call?” She demands.
Pushing the receiver to his chest John confirms the change of plans for that day. A storm front was moving in and the afternoon snorkel trip was being cancelled. We had 10 minutes to get ready to go on the morning trip or forfeit the opportunity. So much for the lie in.
Permission to come aboard
10 minutes duly passed and a further 20 minutes after that we were putting our shoes into a cloth sack and being welcomed aboard our vessel – The Sailaway IV . The rest of our fellow passengers arrived shortly afterwards, the bulk of which were a mixed American and Canadian tour group comprised of what can only be described as the cast of Cocoon.
As we sipped our morning coffee and broke our fast on some Apple and Cinnamon muffins we were treated the the obligatory safety briefing and given an introduction to our days activities. All the while our catamaran sailed slowly out of Port Douglas – Destination the Low Isles Reef.
Welcome to the Island
Located 8 nautical miles from Port Douglas are a pair of islands. One is small and contains only a beach and small lighthouse and research station called the Low Island whilst the other is one great big mangrove forested isle called Woody Island. The former was our jump off point. Scrambling ashore and running across the hot sand we found shelter in the trees and left our bags behind to begin a short tour of the island. Now run by the University of Queensland, the research base was the site of the first ever detailed study of coral reefs in the world back in 1928. Today there is still some research going on but its mostly a nesting site for Ospreys these days.
After a few snaps and some background information about the lighthouse it was time to get our snorkels on and get into the reef. There are not many more words needed at this point to be honest. Just enjoy the pictures!
In Jacques Cousteau’s eyes