After a 5:45 wakeup call and a quick breakfast we jumped aboard a boat and set forth to the coral sea. During the 2-1/2 hour journey to Lodestone reef we saw at least four humpback whales. One was kind enough to breech within 30 meters of our boat.
As we approached the reef the waters turned a bright turquoise color. We anchored right next to a series of large "bomies" which are great big mounds of coral. We suited up in our wetsuits, put on our flippers and masks, and walked the plank. After 2 hours of amazing snorkeling amongst some of the most beautiful coral and fish in the world we hauled ourselves back on board for lunch.
After lunch the marine biologists from reef hq instructed us on how to perform a reef health assessment. Using underwater paper and grease pencils we tall eyed all of the types of coral, fish, predators, and signs of coral distress such as bleaching. During our ten minute timed underwater observation a white finned reef shark paid us a visit. Many arguments as to the sharks true length would happen later (my guess has it at about 8 feet) but it was undoubtably the most gracefully swimming creature I have ever seen.
After the reef assessments Greg decided it was time to leap off the top level of our boat into the water (about the height of the reef shark). Everyone soon followed suit, even the adults.
Jeff and Katrina