Thursday, June 27, 2013

World Tour Update #7

Apologies for the break in posting, but there’s a good reason for it. We left Brisbane a couple of days ago and are now on Heron Island. It’s a fascinating place. I don’t have the time to give you a complete run-down right now, but if you have some time Google it.

Short version – it’s a coral key about 50 miles of the Australian coast. A coral key is an island that rose from the sea, basically formed by the growth of a coral reef. As the top of the reef approaches the sea’s surface it begins to deteriorate from the combined action of wind, waves, tide, and sun. As it disintegrates the debris pile on top of each other until enough of them accumulate to bond and form an island. This process takes hundreds of thousands of years. Since a coral key was never connected to the continental crust, it has no mammals or reptiles. The only inhabitants are sea birds, and once a year sea turtles that come to nest.

In contrast, a continental island is one that was once physically part of the continental shelf. When the oceans rose millions of years ago these land masses were cut off from the mainland, but still had a full complement of mammals and reptiles. In some cases those animals evolved differently than the mainland animals, giving biologists something to do today.

Anyway, back to Heron Island. It is tiny – approximately 800 meters by 300 meters. Its highest point is somewhere around 10 meters above the high tide level, which could be nerve-wracking during a large storm. It houses around 50 permanent staff and about 200 visitors. Accommodations are comfortable but a little on the primitive side. By that I mean the selection of beer is limited and expensive.

More seriously, Internet access is available only at one location, and costs $3 for 15 minutes - and it is painfully slow. That’s why posting has been brief and sporadic. We’re here for two more days, then spend one day back in Brisbane relaxing and doing laundry. I should hopefully have time to catch up then. After that it’s farewell to Australia and on to New Zealand.

The main attraction here is the scuba diving and snorkeling. It’s been fabulous. Up to three dives a day, and snorkeling any time you want to off the beach. Incredible variety of fish, and the reef life and coral formations are staggering.

My 15 minutes are about up, so I’m signing off. I’ll try to put something up tomorrow … if I wake up from my nap on the beach in time…


Toejam said...

Keep the Faith, CTT.

And have a wonderful experience on your adventure.....:)

Old NFO said...

Enjoy, and screw the net... Go have fun!!!