Diving at Coral Gardens near Michaelmas Cay

Diving at Coral Gardens near Michaelmas Cay

Diving at Coral Gardens near Michaelmas Cay last Saturday was a joy I had not experienced for a very ling time. My thoughts of Michaelmas Cay where of a beautiful white sandy cay out in the middle of The Great Barrier Reef. There were always allot of seabirds using Michaelmas Cay as there home, it is in fact a major breading ground for an array of wild sea and ocean dwelling birds.

Lying on the soft beautiful white sand, soaking up the North Queensland sun I realized I live in an amazing part of the world. I could be a hundred miles from anywhere with land nowhere to been seen as far as the eye can see. Maybe now I know what Tom Hanks felt like in his epic movie Castaway, a story about of a passenger that survived a plane crash and was standard on a Barron Island in the middle of no where. Well I think the movie was suppose to be depicted in some part of the Pacific Ocean but I will use my imagination and call this island Michaelmas Cay.

So after an hour or two drifting in and out of a dazed sleepy somber I was awaken by the dive crew who asked me to come and join them on scuba dive with the dive crew. As I love diving I jumped at the opportunity, we geared up tanks, weights, BCD’s and took of in the dive tender. After about a 15min boat ride to  maybe 300 / 400 meters away from Michaelmas Cay we all checked our dive buddies and backward summer salted into the water.

Now thinking we are still reasonably close to the cay I didn’t expect to much in the way of visibility and marine life. But wow after turning the first corner and slowly descending to about 14 meters we came across a beautiful school of yellow tail just relaxing in the warm water hiding in the shadows from the afternoon sun. I had my GoPro2 with my red back-scatter lens on and was able to capture a great little moment under the sea. I will definitely be heading back out to Michaelmas Cay again, not only to soak up the beautiful sunshine and clear tropical waters but to enjoy some absolutely amazing diving just 300/400 meters from the beach.

Cairns City Helicopter Flight

A fantastic way to explore any city is by air, flying in the very latest EC130 Eurocopter operated by Nautalis Aviation in Cairns. Friday afternoon the weather settled in and at around 4:30pm we took off for a large right hand turn heading South / South West out of Cairns Airport towards the downtown part of The Cairns City Centre.

Taking a Cairns City Helicopter Flight we were able to get a birds eye view of Cairns city heading south west towards Copperlode Dam and then a large turn to the West of Mount Whitfield over the Barron River near Kamerunga and then North East again back towards the airport with views out over to the Aquis Casino development site, before landing again back at the Nautalis Aviation Hanger.

An Extremely smooth ride, feels like your in a large floating luxury style car cruising along at around 100kph. Large windows in all directions offers a fantastic view for all passengers. The Eurocopter EC130 must have excellent sounds proofing material because it was very quite on the inside and everyone could speak comfortably without having to raise your voice to be heard over the Turbine Engine.

It was great to get a birds eye view of the Aquis proposal site too really shows how open the Northern part of Cairns is with large cane paddocks in every direction. I guess most of this area is flood prone so this has restricted development other then planting sugar cane. If you get a chance you should try a Cairns City Helicopter Flight will really give you a birds eye view of beautiful Cairns and surrounding areas.


Angelfish On The Great Barrier Reef

Regal Angel-Fish

Angelfish On The Great Barrier Reef.

Angelfish are well known for their brilliant colors and striking patterns. The smaller species form harems consisting of a male and up to five females with sex reversal of the dominant female occurring within about 3 weeks if the male is lost or dies. Larger species are generally found in pairs, they may bond strongly and occupy the same reef site for many years. The pairs will defend their territory from intruders, dashing from one shelter to another and emitting an audible grunting sound to warn their partner and put the intruder on notice to leave. The Regal Angelfish has large yellow stripes outlined with dark blue and then large white stripes painted vertically on the sides of their bodies. The dorsal and bottom fin tend to have orange stripes with blue highlights.

Some species of Angel fish feed on zoo plankton, a microscopic plankton that is difficult to see with the human eye but made up of small transparent invertebrates and algae. Many different species can be found on The Great Barrier Reef species like the Bicolor Angel Fish half yellow half blue fish kind of cut in half by its own colors. There is also the Emperor Angelfish with long vertical blue and yellow stripes from head to tail. Last but not least is the Rabbitfish, why do they call it the rabbit fish, well mainly because of its rabbit like snout and large eyeballs, typically Rabbit fish live on shallow reef crests, lagoons and tidal flats where they typically graze on algae, sea grass, sponges and tunicates. Rabbit fish have venomous fin spines which can cause a very painful wound if you find yourself jabbed by one. In general when snorkeling or spending time out on the reef use the rule – “Don’t touch anything”. If you spend your time abiding by this rule then it is very unlikely you will run into any trouble with the local marine life on The Great Barrier Reef.

If you would like to find out more on how to get to The Great Barrier Reef contact Cairns Tours Advice & Booking Center, a small travel agency based in Cairns, Australia, helping people book and find reef trips to The Great Barrier Reef from both Cairns or Port Douglas.

Cairns – Gateway to The Great Barrier Reef

Cairns – Gateway to The Great Barrier Reef

Cairns is a beautiful little city located on the North East Coast of Australia. We have a population of about 140,000 people and the main business conducted here is related to Tourism. Once a sleepy little industrial port, Cairns soon became the center for reef tourism here in Australia. The close proximity of The Great Barrier Reef itself, located only 26km from Cairns, makes this little town the place to be to visit the largest reef system on the planet.

Since the 1980’s, Cairns has cemented itself as the principal center for reef tourism in Australia. With over 45 reef tour companies operating from both Cairns & Port Douglas, it is easy to see why Cairns is the best place to visit The Great Barrier Reef. The close proximity of the Outer Barrier Reef (only 55km from the coast here) is what sets Cairns apart from all other destinations on the East Coast of Australia claiming to have access to the reef.

Cairns IS The Main Gateway to The Great Barrier Reef! Why?

Cairns Gateway to The Great Barrier Reef

Click Here to Print Map

I had a quick look at what Reality means on Wikipedia – Reality is the state of things as they actually exist, rather than as they may appear or might be imagined. In a wider definition, reality includes everything that is and has been, whether or not it is observable or comprehensible. A still more broad definition includes everything that has existed, exists, or will exist.

Our small city itself also brims with life and energy. Cairns Esplanade and Shields Street are the main walking paths in and around the ‘downtown’ part of Cairns. You will find many fantastic little coffee shop/cafes and restaurants located here and in my opinion two of the top restaurants in Cairns are Barnacle Bills Seafood Restaurant and Dundees on the Waterfront (there are many more, but these two definitely stand out).

By evening, you will find the many bars full of local and international travelers, mingling and enjoying the sultry warm air and outdoor lifestyle. The Salthouse bar/restaurant is a hot spot for a nice glass of wine or beer, located out on the marina overlooking all the giant super yachts that Moor in Cairns.

More recently, Cairns hosted Australia’s largest annual travel show – The Australian Tourism Exchange 2014, which attracted the top wholesale travel buyers and sellers from Europe, The US and Asia. Cairns city is easy to walk around and within one full day you will have sorted  out your orientation of this beautiful little tropical city.

The local Cairns City Council have created a fantastic little video to show case our sister city relationships and I think it has really captured the essence of Cairns. I have included the link above.

What do you think? Is Cairns The Gateway to The Great Barrier Reef?

Have your say below place your comment.

Hummer Night Tours – Cairns, Australia

Hummer Night Tours – Cairns, Australia

An exciting new way to explore the region to the north, near the famous little rainforest village of Kuranda, has now hit the scene in Cairns!

Hummer Night Tours – Cairns, Australia is located about 40 mins drive from downtown Cairns, towards the western part of Kuranda, where the landscape opens up towards the tablelands region, with the beautiful little town of Atherton lying further to the south.

Local tour company, ‘International Coaches & Tours’ operate ‘H1 – American Hummer Night Tours’ – Cairns Australia. So, for those who are adventurous at heart and also want to see some amazing wildlife at the same time,  check it out!

A thrilling ride through the bush, scrub and rainforest (complete with jumps and mud holes) will have you hanging on for your life. However, rest assured that the local driver guides know their stuff, so sit back and enjoy this thrilling new night tour!

‘Hummer Night Tours – Cairns Australia’ start at around 6:30pm. They will collect you from your hotel and take you up to their adventure park where you will experience all the excitement of riding in an American H1 – Hummer, enjoy a real Aussie style BBQ dinner, before visiting Granite Gorge to hand feed the local rock wallabies.

For a really great way to experience the real Australian bush at night book your Hummer Night Tours Cairns and have a fantastic fun-filled evening!

Great Barrier Reef Scenic Helicopter Flights Cairns – Nautilus Aviation

Scenic Helicopter Flights Cairns – Nautilus Aviation

Hey guys, back from another amazing adventure! The weather has been absolutely amazing recently, considering the monsoon (rainy) season has already started. We have  been having fantastic conditions to get outdoors, with amazing sunny days, blue skies and a light sea breeze.

I love flying, so when I was given the opportunity to enjoy a 30 minute scenic helicopter flight over The Great Barrier Reef here in Cairns with Nautilus Aviation, I grabbed it with both hands.

It was about 2 o’clock in the afternoon on an amazing day about 2 weeks ago and we had a full flight with a couple from Brazil, our pilot and of course, me (fatty). Even with my extra weight on board, we were still able to take off! So, just remember that whenever you take a helicopter flight, as in all areas of aviation, they will weigh you so that they can adjust the fuel to weight ratio.

After about 15 minutes on the ground going through the safety procedures, we all jumped into our little ‘rocket ship’, an R44 Helicopter. These little beasts are very maneuverable, and can also bounce around like a car going over pot holes! This all just adds to the excitement of flying around at just over 500 feet above sea level.

Now, we all know that the Great Barrier Reef is BIG, as everybody is always blabbering on about how it can be seen from space. I do have to say that it’s not until you get up there and look down to see the vastness of this amazing living, breathing organism that you start to get an idea of how expansive it actually is.

This natural 7th natural wonder of the world never ceases to amaze me with its beauty and abundance of colors. As the reef stretches out as far as the eye can see, you realize that it’s size can only really be truly appreciated viewed from the air.

So, if its within your budget when you’re here visiting Cairns, I recommend you to definitely see the guys at Nautilus Aviation and let them rock your world with an amazing 30 min Scenic Reef Flight. You won’t be disappointed!

An amzing way to see the Great Barrier Reef Book your – Scenic Helicopter Flights Cairns

Coral Spawning Great Barrier Reef

Coral Spawning Great Barrier Reef

Thursday night was a rainy, slightly sultry evening with a little bit of wind, so our hopes weren’t high as we jumped on board TUSA T6 to head out for this yearly event’s night of diving.

It wasn’t until we descended to a depth of about 13 meters that the action started. We were viewing schools of smaller fish, scurrying around looking for cover from larger predator fish like Giant Trevally and Red Bass, until we encountered our first sitting of coral spawning. The brain coral seemed to start the show off with a milky, smokey haze emitting from their hard outer crusts.

This was my second time to witness coral spawning Great Barrier Reef style, so I had a few ideas of what would happen on our dive.  Drifting with the light current in slightly deeper waters, we hit the jackpot with 3 Moray Eels nestled in their hiding holes waiting for dinner to drift by.

The second Moray Eel was actually the biggest one I have ever seen in all my years of diving, an amazing big head and body with one sole cleaner shrimp hanging around for the scraps of any prey the Eel may have snapped up.  She seemed surprisingly relaxed, so we were able to get very close to this amazing species while she allowed us film her and enjoy that moment.

This was all on the first dive, so we were pretty stoked when we returned to the boat to receive our hot dinner! The second dive was also a beautiful dive and although there wasn’t as much action as the first, it was a nice way to finish off our night diving  for this year’s coral spawning on the Great Barrier Reef.

Green Island Cairns

Green Island Cairns

Would you like a day to relax and soak up the sun, beautiful beaches, rain forest and also view a great variety of marine life? You can visit Green Island, Cairns on either a full or half day tour. The Island itself is the closest point of the Great Barrier Reef to the mainland, located just 26 km from Cairns and ferries run to and from the island 3 times per day.

A fast way to get out to Green Island is with the company Big Cat, who have a smaller fast boat called Reef Rocket. This boat only takes about 45-minutes to reach Green Island from Cairns.

Big Cat have a half day package which includes your choice of snorkeling equipment or glass bottom boat and a Semi-Submarine Cruise.  For those who haven’t been before, Semi-Submarines are a boat with a very deep hull that has  large windows designed for viewing the reef, fish and surrounding marine life.

Some people call Green Island “touristy”… and to some extent it is a little bit. However, what a lot of people don’t know is that there is a surprising amount of marine life directly underneath the jetty! With just this short swim off the beach, you can find yourself snorkeling in an abundance of marine life in no time at all, with large schools of fish hanging around, enjoying the beautiful warm waters and shade from the jetty.

So, for a nice ‘beach style’ day, with crystal clear blue water, great marine life and modern amenities, Green Island is a great way to get your feet wet without spending too much money and still having a relaxed, enjoyable day.

If you would like to book a trip to Green Island, visit Cairns Tours Advice & Booking Center. They can help book your Green Island Cairns Tour.

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