After five days at sea exploring the outer Great Barrier Reef north of Cairns, I’m heartened to see that the reef is indeed alive and well. Thriving, even. Having snorkelled much of the Queensland coast over the years, I’ve been fortunate to witness the underwater world in scores of locations from Fraser Island to Torres Strait. Fringing, plate and ribbon reefs, they all come in different guises. But none quite so spectacular as Ribbon Reef No. 9 and Ribbon Reef No.2 which I’ve just visited.
East of Lizard Island, these completely submerged reefs are located well offshore and are therefore not easy to reach. Though, onboard Coral Princess II, which cruises out of Cairns on four or seven day reef cruises, accessing the reef is a breeze. Indeed, we moored close enough to steep reef dropoffs so that all we had to do was jump off the ship and we were amongst stunning coral gardens. With not another boat in sight, we had the entire coral reef to ourselves.
Back in Cairns temporarily after four nights cruising, I’m staying onboard for the next cruise as we head south down through to Dunk, Hinchinbrook and Pelorus Islands before our cruise terminates at Townsville.