I’m here in Melbourne, waiting on my friend to finish up business so we can go to dinner. My enjoyment of Melbourne has been a bit dampened by a cold rain, but I did get to see much of the downtown in spite of the inclement weather. This is a rather pleasant place, a large city with a nice gentle demeanor (I was accosted by only one homeless person) which reminds me a lot of a smaller version of Boston, or maybe even Chicago.
I did have a bit of a fright when I stumbled across this building:
I had an excellent visit to Port Douglas and the Great Barrier Reef on Monday. I had, as you know, arrived in Brisbane on Sunday minus my luggage. Delta relayed the message to Qantas that the bag would show up late on Monday, while I was to be out on a boat cavorting with the fish. Qantas sent me on to Cairns with $100AU and a little toiletry kit, and their sincerest apologies. Naturally, the bag arrived that day anyway, but not until I had spent the money on replacements I didn’t need. Oh well. Attached to the bag was a tag again apologising for its “mishandling.” Delta needs to take lessons from Qantas on customer service.
The Thala Beach Lodge (lobby pictured below) is about a thirty minute shuttle ride from Port Douglas, the stepping-off point for most of the Reef trips.
Here I am with Rich, another guest. And here I am in the awfully warm Neoprene wetsuit, which does make the cool water a bit more tolerable:
Our marine-biologist was very knowledgable, and quite personable. He tried really, really hard not to preach about globalwarmingclimatechange, but he let a little slip out. Suffice it to say he believes the reef’s growth has slowed, and this is attributed to higher surface temperatures and a higher atmospheric content of CO2. I would have liked to have the discussion of causality with him, but we never got around to that. He did point out an area of plate-like coral that had been demolished by a cyclone ten years ago and had regrown quite nicely. Does this disprove the theory? Probably not to those who BELIEVE, but that’s a topic for another day.
Tomorrow, I head to Perth and the RANZCR meeting. Back to business! But these few days have let me acclimate to functioning 12-14 hours into the future, and were well worth it. More to come!