Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef

For many people it’s a bucket list thing. If you’re going to do it, you might as well do it well, and Agincourt Reef, 90 minutes from Port Douglas, just this side of the continental shelf, is a recommended place.

Local operator Calypso offered, for a price, extended snorkelling at three different sites, so we booked Roger up – Hilary’s done it before and doesn’t particularly like snorkelling.

Conditions were perfect, exceptional good water visibility and low winds, and helped by the provision of a prescription eye mask, Roger had a brilliant experience. Swimming directly over the kaleidoscopic coral, and through the shoals of intensely-coloured fish, in such shallow water, was special.

He feels different about the 2,300km long Great Barrier Reef now. It’s not a line on the map, but a unique, precious living entity of great diversity. And one that’s so in peril from cyclones, rising sea temperatures, bleaching, sugar cane fertilisers, coal mining ships, and tourism – you name it.

No wonder everyone wants to see the reef whilst they can. But will our grandchildren?

Roger did three different snorkels of about one hour each at mooring sites 36, 4 and 11
This is the view from the boat at site 11. Roger snorkelled around the near coral and then out to the next one. At the other sites we could swim over the coral, but here, as it was low tide, we could only swim around the edges
From Port Douglas, tourist visits are on an industrial scale. There are big tourist dollars at stake. At least, every visitor pays a AU$6.50 “environmental management charge”

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