May 29 – Mohamed

Just got done with my last work for the finals this week and I had to prepare my things a week ahead because I am traveling to California before the trip.  It is going to be a long summer and hopefully it one of the best summers ever. When  my blog day comes we will one of the best places to be in Australia during the southern hemisphere winter.  We will be in the city of  Cairns on the north of Australia.

Site to visit

On my 29 it will be our 19 day on Australia and we will have ten more days until the end of our trip. We will be visiting passion paradise which is a great place to experience the Great Barrier Reef. It has won Tourism Hall of fame winner (Adventure Tourism) and Australian Tourism Award in Adventure Tourism. It is a locally owned and operated Cairns company and committed to providing the very best Great Barrier Reef day tour available.

An overview of the area, it has with exotic fish life, coral gardens, and spectacular views. Visitors participate in eco-friendly exploration of the world’s most amazing ecosystem.  We will sailing through on the Great Barrier Reef with Passions of Paradise.

Some of the activates would be snorkeling  where you could possibly see green turtles, manta rays, clown fish, soft and hard corals. There is nothing more adventurous than that in my opinion. I think it is going to be one of my favorite moments in Australia. Another activity is taking the boat tour at Michaelmas Cay for a fun and lively 30 minute commentary on the coral, fish and unique features of the Great Barrier Reef. Marvel at the difference between hard and soft corals and learn how many of the Reef creatures work together to survive and the sustainable practices. Look out for the industrious cleaner wrasse and their cleaning station.

Info about the hosting city

Cairns City is located on the east coast of Cape York Peninsula on a long, narrow coastal strip edged between the Coral Sea and the Great Dividing Range. The Cairns City Council covers more than 1670 square kilometer and extends from Ellis Beach in the north to the Johnstone Shire Boundary in the south. The northern part of the city is located on Trinity Bay and the city centre is located on Trinity Inlet. Some of the city’s suburbs are located on flood plains. The Mulgrave River and Barron River flow within the greater Cairns area but not through the CBD. The city centre’s foreshore is located on a mud flat. Cairns offer’s various geographical regions. Mountains, beaches, tidal wetlands, freshwater lakes, mudflats, mangrove swamps, bays, rivers, estuaries and rich coastal plains are all features of this diverse tropical region. In addition, It’s also home to the State’s highest mountain, Mt Bartle Frere.

Cairns is the major business hub of Far North Queensland and is the most populated in the north with 150,920 people choosing to live here in 2010. Cairns is approximately 1700 km north of Queensland’s state capital, Brisbane.

Fun Things you could during our visit

  • Visit the Great Barrier Reef (The water is still a warm 25 degrees) *
  • Splash about in the sunshine
  • Take a road trip visiting all of the waterfalls
  • Enjoy sea kayaking
  • Drive to dazzling beaches
  • Enjoy a beach picnic
  • Stroll the tropical botanic gardens
  • Sun worshipping


Weather and climate

Throughout the year, the weather in Cairns is amazingly perfect: blue skies, warm weather and gentle breezes but there are only two seasons – the wet and the dry. While it is cold in Southern Australia we will enjoy warmer weather. July, August, September and October are the driest months.

Generally the temperature only drops enough to require a light jacket or cardigan at night; you can leave the winter coats.  This period is popular with beach lovers. The wet season lasts from November to May. With some months averaging over 400 mm of rainfall. The dry season runs from June to October with rainfall averaging approximately 35 mm. During the wet seasons tropical cyclones (hurricanes) can influence the weather, but Cairns is built to survive the elements and has weathered scores of cyclones in the past. .  Cairns is prone to tropical cyclones, usually forming between November and May. T


Cairns is committed to finding sustainable solutions to the challenges posed by the tropics – extreme weather, the impact of tourism, and the ability of the built environment to coexist with the natural environment. They city is working on trying to:

  • Minimize the use of natural resources.
  • Avoid waste by reducing consumption, reusing, and recycling.
  • Not endanger or degrade the quality of life for other people, other species, or future generations.
  • Consider environmental, economic, social and cultural impacts in decision-making.
  • Protect the integrity of natural systems.
  • Encourage economic prosperity, though not at the expense of the community or the environment.

Today was many people’s favorite day on the program because we got to visit one of the most natural phenomenal sites you could see on this planet. It is one of those must do things that deserves to be on everyone’s bucket list. It was our second day in Cairns and the atmosphere of the city with its tropical weather gave us the feeling of being on vacation.

Tropical welcome at the airport

Tropical welcome at the airport

We woke up early, had an early self-made breakfast and went straight to check in at the Passion of Paradise counter by the Reef Fleet Terminal.  When we got on the boat we had to fill out some medical questionnaires.  Then onto the tour of the Great Barrier Reef, and everyone was enthusiastic.

Getting ready for the tour onto the reefs. Everyone looked calm but as soon as we got away from land most people’s faces start to change including mine.

Some of the activities that we were told to expect from the Passions of Paradise tour crew were swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving tours. The boat started sailing towards the reefs and as soon as we got away from the land areas and onto the ocean I started to feel weird. I felt like a fish that was pulled out of the water. Good thing I did not eat breakfast because it felt like everything that was in my body was being pushed towards my throat.  When we got to Michaelmas Cay it was one of the most beautiful beach areas I have ever seen.  The crew from Passions of Paradise was super friendly because they helped me with snorkeling lessons since this was my first time. Once I got the hang of it and went towards the reef I was amazed to see the most colorful view of under sea creatures I have ever seen.  Michaelmas Cay was the first place we visited and after that we had lunch.  The lunch was very good; there were prawns and fresh fruit. I made the mistake of eating a lot because the sea sickness got the best of me on the end of the trip.  Future advice to other first timers would be do not eat too much and try to be outside the boat as much as you can. Also try to focus on the horizon.

The next place we visited was Paradise Reef. This place was amazing, I had never seen anything like it and I am not sure I will ever get to see it again.  I did not want to jump on the reef and snorkel because I was not feeling well but the crew encouraged me and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life.

Liz, me, Ion

Liz, Ian and I exploring the reef and enjoying the beauty of it.


Great experience snorkeling deep on the ocean. I was afraid at first but I am glad I made the choice to jump in.

i found nimo on paradise reef

I found the most famous fish of all, Nemo, on Paradise Reef thanks to the Passions of Paradise crew

Nick, Jason and Paul snorkeling.

Nick, Jason and Paul snorkeling.

close to the reef

Deep and close to the reef, the colors and beauty is like nothing else on this planet

Passion of paradise takes sustainability seriously and they know that they have to do a lot of work to sustain the Great Barrier Reef.  The boat is built to make less impact on the water. They operate everyday expect New Year’s Day. To avoid using so much fuel everyday on the way back home they turn off the engines and sail.  They do that because they want to show their appreciation to the reefs by being as much Eco friendly as they could be.

The crew took the environmental issues on the reefs very seriously. They give warnings on not touching anything. They also talked about the loss of sharks and that we would be lucky to see one. They also asked us not go on blocked off area by Michaelmas Cay beach to protect the habitat of the birds on the beach and if someone crossed to the birds’ side they were going to be charged $7,700 on the spot. Passions of Paradise takes pride in being sustainable and soon expects to be carbon neutral.  It also asked the passenger to donate 3 dollars to plant a tree and make their trip carbon neutral to protect the wildlife and plant species of Australia. I think the tour company is doing its part on trying to be sustainable and it also has won many ecofriendly awards.

Signs showing the dividing area between humans and the bird sanctuary

Signs showing the dividing area between humans and the bird sanctuary

The bird area where no visitors were allowed.

The bird area where no visitors were allowed.

Over all it was a great day for everyone and we all enjoy it. Once we get back home we would be talking about this day and hopefully educating people about the importance of the Great Barrier Reef.


MSU and the very friendly crew of Passions of Paradise. They were wonderful in helping and encouraging us to sustainably experience the joy of being on the Great Barrier Reef.


Certainly will come back, may not be soon, but one day I will.

Cairns was a great city in my opinion the best in Australia. I have to go back there again one day my wife and I must see the reef. At that time I would be more prepared for the sea.  Apart from the aboriginal activity days, this day was best out of all the day I spend in Australia.


Feeling like a land animal… never felt like I was out place the way I did that day but it was all worth it.


Beautiful sights you will see during snorkel activity


Michaelmas Cay beach was the first place we visited where I swam from the beach towards the reef.


Some of the group went diving


1 Comment

One thought on “May 29 – Mohamed

  1. Nick Stratta

    Great pictures Mohamed it really was an amazing day! I just wanted to add a few more things and thoughts for anyone that is going to read the blog. A fairly large debate (that happens all across the globe) is wheter or not eco-tourism, or tourism with sustainability at the forefront of the experiences, is actually worth it. The Great Barrier Reef is one prime example. If we don’t allow people to access the reef at all (giving supposedly the best “protection” from people and harm) will it stop people from exploiting its wonders? Not necessarily. On the flip side, if we do allow people to access pre-specified areas of the reef will the destruction be so great as to permamently destroy multiple sections and thus valuable habitats? Again, not necessarily. It is a delicate balance that must be discovered. Just the right amount of tourism, while set with regulations and general rules, may actually save the reef. There is nothing like seeing the beauties of the reef first hand, as well as learning about the vast amounts of biodiversity and life that it supports, that can change the mindset of people completely. The debate will continue, but in my personal opinion seeing the reef makes me want to protect it as well as teach others about the ecosystem it provides.

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