Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Lizard Island

I've been busy. On Saturday, we went on a rough sail and then a long snorkel. On Sunday, we went on a 4.4km hike up 1000ft of elevation. At 8am. Without breakfast. UP TO A CAPTAIN COOK LOOKOUT. As some of you might already know, I have a grudge against Captain Cook. When we were crossing the South Pacific, we sailed where Cook had sailed, anchored where Cook had anchored and walked where Cook had walked. By the end of it, I was officially DONE, with Cook. So it was with great pleasure that I thought (foolishly, mistakenly) that we were ACTUALLY done with Cook. But it was not to be. Sailing up to Darwin, we've been to the town of 1770, where Cook was. We've been to CookTOWN (the name seems self explanatory). And now we're leaving Lizard Island where Cook spotted a path through the Great Barrier Reef

But back to my busy life. On Sunday, we also went scuba diving. On Monday, we walked 6km in the sun with no shade, in soft, black, BURNING HOT sand to the Lizard Island Research Center that offers a place for university students and scientists to study and research the Barrier Reef. Sadly, this March, a Category 5 cyclone ripped through Lizard Island and the surrounding reef. The cyclone spent 11hrs over the small island where it devastated what once was spectacular coral and all the vegetation on the island. It's difficult for the coral to bounce back because it's facing additional pressures such as the Crown of Thorns starfish and bleaching due to the ocean temperatures rising.

It was clear just how much damage the cyclone and us humans had caused to the reef. Instead of the huge bommies made entirely out of various types of coral in a rainbow of colours, which you see in postcards of the Great Barrier Reef, it was seaweed covered rock with the occasional small, bleached piece coral dotting the wall. However it was a bit of a mixed bag, with a barren wall for a few meters and a thriving reef for the next few feet. The good news is that the fish population was looking great, which is wonderful to see because many people fish on the edges of the no-take zones, claiming that the protected areas 'just don't work'.

Anyway, we just left Lizard Island and it's a bit rough so I'm sitting in our desk chair rolled back and forth across the boat and TRYING to get this written. But finally I've succeeded. Yay!!! Bye until next time!!!

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