|The Great Barrier Reef covers 344,400 square kilometers (132,972 square miles) in area.|
|We waitied on a curb for the boat to arrive at the pier for our 45-minute ride to Green Island.|
For reasons we posted two days ago, we choose not to snorkel. However, I can’t say that had we been able to snorkel, our experience would have been a lot different.
|We weren’t able to get a spot in the bow for photo-taking during the ride to Green Island. We remained inside in air-conditioned comfort, although I was anxious to take photos of outdoor photos. Our boat, Big Cat’s Reef Rocket, was modern with free wifi, restrooms, beverages, and snacks.|
What lies beneath the sea is undoubtedly awe-inspiring. It appeared that scuba diving would be more rewarding, as opposed to snorkeling, being able to maneuver more freely over the endless coral reefs. Actually, we saw few people snorkeling and less scuba diving.
|Snorkelers were able to purchase their snorkel gear and wetsuits from this bar inside the boat.|
In all, there are 3000 coral reefs, 600 continental islands, 300 coral cays, and approximately 150 inshore mangrove islands. We visited Green Island, only one of those many islands that have been built into a tourist ready environment, enabling visitors from around the world to see this natural phenomenon.
|With ocean spray on the windows, I shot this photo of the massive pier at Green Island which accommodates several companies providing a variety of activities including windsurfing, scuba diving, and tours on semi-submersible and glass-bottom boats.|
Australia, from what we’ve seen thus far, is a continent highly in tune with its rich natural resources. When a venue is created, it’s done so with respect for those resources with the intent of ensuring as natural an experience as possible when sharing those resources with the public.
|Another of the charter boats heading to the Great Barrier Reef. Not all boats go to Green Island with numerous other charters available for different prices and arrival times.|
Green Island is no exception. Every consideration was made over the years to develop a significant space where the visitor would feel in-one with the environment. In doing so, a little of the magic is taken away, but what is left is a fair representation of what explorers may have discovered centuries ago.
|The colorful views around us were only a small section of the Great Barrier Reef.|
Nothing was spared in providing safety and convenience and in allowing visitors the optimum experience, savoring the beauty of the island while respectfully representing the significance of the surrounding treasures only a short distance below the water’s surface.
|Green Island, as we approached (through the glass).|
Over and again, visitors are reminded to treat the coral reef with reverence and respect to avoid upsetting the ecosystem and habitats for thousands of creatures.
|This parasailing equipment included a chair for two at a cost of AUD $280, USD $200 per couple. Although some of these types of activities may appeal to us, we have to pick and choose what is most important to us for the long term|
Green Island has a rich history dating back to the 1770s as shown in this chart below:
“Significant Historical Dates for Green Island
Green Island has an amazing history! Even though Green Island is a very small island, it has played an important role in the history of Tropical North Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef region.
When on Green Island, take some time to visit the colorful Interpretive Boardwalk. Designed in 6 languages, it showcases the island’s European and Aboriginal histories as well as its outstanding natural values.
|Pre 1770||Local Aboriginal tribes (Gungandji and Mandingalbay) used Green Island and its reef for fishing, hunting, and manhood initiation ceremonies.|
|1770||Captain Cook first marked Green Island on the navigational charts and named it after the astronomer onboard, Charles Green.|
|1857||A bech-de-mer (sea cucumber) smoking station was established on Green Island. It was operated by a fisherman called JSV Mein, and operated for several decades before closing down.|
|1863||A ship called the ‘Antagonist’ shipwrecked on Green Island reef while carrying horses to India (14 May 1863).|
|1890||The first organised pleasure cruises to Green Island commenced on a local coaster called ‘Zeus’.|
|1924||Hayles commenced fortnightly passenger service from Cairns to Green Island.|
|1930||Kitty & Noel Monkman, pioneers in underwater photography and videography, moved to Green Island. During WW II they acted as volunteer air observers.|
|1931||The replacement jetty was constructed by Cairns Town Council.|
|1932||Cairns Town Council was granted a license to remove coral from the Green Island reef flat to make lime for mainland cane fields (operated until 1945).|
|1934||Green Island declared a Fauna Sanctuary|
|1936||Management control of Green Island changed from Cairns Town Council to the Queensland State.|
|1939||First groyne was built to protect the foreshore.|
|1942||The first hotel, Coral Cay Hotel, was constructed by Hayles.|
|1946||Jetty was reconstructed after being destroyed by cyclone.|
|1954||World’s first underwater observatory opened.|
|1958||Island camping permits no longer issued.|
|1960||Present jetty constructed.|
|1961||Great Barrier Reef Theatre constructed.|
|1963||Redeveloped hotel, the Green Island Reef Resort, opens.|
|1964||Crocodile Farm opens – the first ever on an island. Renamed Marineland Melanesia in 1972|
|1974||Green Island Reef declared a Marine National Park by the Queensland Government.|
|1978||Seaplane access to Green Island permitted.|
|1981||Green Island Reef zoned a Marine National Park ‘B’ with a Buffer Zone under the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act (extending 500m out from edge of reef).|
|1982||Daily fast catamaran service from Cairns commenced by Hayles Pty Ltd.|
|1988||Dreamworld Corporation purchased Green Island Reef Resort and ferry services from Hayles Pty Ltd and renamed the company Great Adventures.|
|1989||Green Island Reef Resort closed due to disrepair.|
|1991||Daikyo Pty Ltd purchased the resort and ferry service on Green Island from Dreamworld Corporation|
|1992||Redevelopment of Green Island Resort and day facilities commenced.|
|1993||Redeveloped day facilities opened to the public.|
|1994||The Green Island Resort luxury accommodation opened.|
|2001||Green Island Resort desalination plant operational – producing over 55,000 litres of freshwater daily.|
|2005||Quicksilver Connections acquires Great Adventures and Green Island Resort from Daikyo Pty Ltd|
|After disembarking the Reef Rocket, we walked along the pier heading to the boat at the end of the pier, the Big Cat, where tourists are to wait to gain access to the semi-submersible submarine and the glass-bottom boat. The pier was high above the water but we did our best to take a few photos of the colorful fish.
Did we have a great time at the Great Barrier Reef? We had a good time, very grateful for the experience. Who visits Queensland and doesn’t see the Great Barrier Reef?
|It’s never easy to take photos from above water. We did our best, hoping to capture these colorful blue fish. There are hundreds of identifyable specific species.|
Back home by 5:30 pm, with everything for dinner chopped, diced, and relatively ready to cook, by 6:45 we sat down to dine, smiles on our faces for having taken the time and expense to visit the Great Barrier Reef.
|The walk down the long pier to the Big Cat, a huge air-conditioned boat that stays anchored for most of the day used as a lounge and rest area and loading area for glass-bottomed boats and semi-submersibles.|
Tomorrow and over the next several days, we’ll share our photos both underwater and above water, describing the tours on both the glass bottom boat and the semi-submersible submarine and, how we spent our remaining time on Green Island
|It was one year ago today that our dear new friend Liz from Bristol, England took the train to South Kensington to visit us for the day. It couldn’t have been a more wonderful day the two of us sharing girl talk at lunch and later the three of us at dinner. At the end of the evening, we walked Liz to the train station, said our goodbyes, and have stayed in touch since. We miss and love you, Liz! For details from that date, please click here.|