Reefer Gladness

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. 

It’s probably not a place for kids, as there isn’t a lot to do on the property besides eat, drink, and walk the beach.  Still it was very pleasant and relaxing, a perfect spot for those headed to the reef, but who want a smaller, quieter, and more private property.

There are dozens of boats that ply the waters of the Reef National Park.  I chose the Wavelength based mainly on TravelAdvisor.com recommendations, and I’m glad I did.  The Wavelength is a small 30 passenger ship which is geared entirely toward snorkeling; no SCUBA, and no glass bottom.  It was perfect.
The ride out to the Outer Reef is very rough, so much so that the crew fed us motion-sickness pills (some local variant of Dramamine, I think) which worked well.

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: 

I’m sure there are lots of folks who would appreciate the shot of Dalai face-down in the water more without the snorkel. 
I can’t begin to tell you about all the fish we saw, mainly because I can’t remember the names of most of them.  We did not see any clownfish; sadly, they have been severely poached after the cartoon Finding Nemo made them popular.  Did you know they can change sex from female to male?  Nemo’s mom apparently didn’t know that either. 
We did see lots of other fish, though, and more coral than I thought possible in one place.  I’ve snorkeled all over, and I’ve never seen a reef that just goes on and on and on…  These are some photos taken by the marine-biologist on our particular trip.

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!

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One response to “Reefer Gladness

  1. I like everything up but # II, VII the most !!Working for vendors, I know that vendors care for selling points in their applications. If Radiologists buy it, then they are also to be blamed.I feel sympathy to all radiologists; like you, who care for their job but vendors don't listen to themQ8PACS Admin,http://q8pacs.blogspot.com

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