Wednesday, February 5, 2014

An American Girl Down Under: Fitzroy Island

When I was 12, my Dad took me snorkeling in the Bahamas. From the first time I dipped my mask underwater I was awestruck by the world at the bottom of the sea.  At that point I knew one day I HAD to visit the Great Barrier Reef.  (aka the GBR)  My dream came true a couple of decades later.  (Yikes!)

GBR, here I come!!
After our fun times in Brisbane, it was time to hop on a plane to Fitzroy Island, a small island off the coast of Cairns, Queensland.   If you would like to disconnect from the world and embrace Mother Nature, Fitzroy is the place for you! 

Welcome to Fitzroy Island!

Although it seemed like we were disconnected from the world, there was always something to do! 
We went to Fitzroy expecting soft, sandy beaches.  Instead we got tons of dead coral! 
On our first day in Fitzroy, Chris and I took a Sunlover Cruise out to the GBR.  Unfortunately we had a torrential downpour which made for a very rocky boat ride on our way out to the reef, but we were finally able to snorkel on the reef.

The water where we snorkeled was quite shallow.  

Chris had a great time taking pics with a rented camera.

We met all kinds of fish...

Swimming with a school was a blast!

We found Nemo.

We also found a stingray.

The bottom of the sea housed some HUGE clams. 
Apparently January is jellyfish season!!  We had to wear "stinger suits" to prevent getting stung.   
We could hold the larger stinger less jellies.
For a better look under the sea, check out the video below.

The next day, we took a 30-minute hike to Nudey Beach.  Ironically I had to wear a full body “stinger suit” so jellyfish in the water wouldn’t sting me.   BTW, all visitors to Nudey Beach MUST wear appropriate swimwear.

Chris wanders around Nudey Beach.

The hike to the beach was a pain, but the view was quite beautiful.
Fitzroy Island is also home to a sea turtle rehabilitation center.  Many of the turtle patients had swallowed plastic debris or had gotten hit by a boat motor.  It was fun to see the turtles, Barney and Betty, doing laps in their pool!

Most of the turtles at the rehab center were green turtles. It was fun to watch the turtles breathe water out of their noses. 
Turtles are nursed back to health in the facility.  Six months after they are healthy, they are released back into the wild.
Snack time!  Spinach is the dish of the day. 

Our entire Aussie experience was a blast, but after 11 days Down Under, we were ready to head back to home sweet Shanghai to prepare for Chinese New Year festivities!

We hung around Fitzroy long enough to celebrate Australia Day.

Thanks Australia for a great time!!

Sunset on Fitzroy