Posts Tagged ‘Great Barrier Reef’

“Where the rain forest meets the reef” was a phrase we heard often when we were on the north-eastern coast of Australia. We devoted one day to each – the rain forest and the reef.

A snorkeler’s perspective : underwater with the ocean’s surface above and the coral below.

The day after we arrived in Port Douglas we boarded the Silversonic, bound for the Outer Barrier Reef.  Cliff and I were among the snorkeling group (there were divers too) setting out to explore the coral formed just before the ocean shelf drops off into the deep. It was spectacular – with clean water, endless fish and sea creatures, and so many huge coral outcrops and boulders that we felt dwarfed in our surroundings.  It was The Great Barrier Reef  indeed. The experience was incomparable.

The next day (one year ago today) we joined a day tour heading to Daintree National Park, another World Heritage site,

A breathtaking view of Cape Tribulation.

with a full day of sightseeing ahead.  We were picked up in a small bus packed full of people with scarce room to move, on a day that was getting hotter as we headed north into the rainforest. The excursion had been booked for us in Sydney. As we hadn’t seen a brochure we weren’t sure what to expect, so Cliff and I had a day of delightful surprises.

We stopped at Mossman Gorge for a hike and later walked to a stunning view overlooking Cape Tribulation. We stopped at a nice privately owned property where our driver/guide proved he could also cook: he grilled steaks and served it along with fresh salad at a picnic area. In the afternoon we took a boat ride in crocodile country (a wild river, not a zoo – keep your arms inside the boat!) then hiked in another area of the rainforest, unsuccessfully trying to spot the huge, flightless, endangered Cassowary birds. There were other stops too. It was a very full, extraordinary, magical day.

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Snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef

Working out – we all know we should have exercise in our lives, but it can be a challenge to make it happen consistently.  When I make the effort to work out often, my body is revved up to help burn extra calories – even between the sessions — bonus!!  Since I am always struggling with my weight, I have to make sure exercise fits into my life.

I enjoyed reading this online article about revving up metabolism (eating, exercise, more). Overall, I think the optimal arrangement is to discover what kind of healthy activities we enjoy doing – then integrate them into our lives wherever and whenever we can do so.

“I would be happy if I could go hiking in a National Park every day!” I told my husband when we toured Glacier National Park several years ago.  Unfortunately, that is not an option in my every day world.

Perhaps the closest I ever came to that goal (so far) was four months ago when my husband and I spent three weeks in Australia, which has 516 National Parks… many more than we could handle!  During our time there, we visited at least seven areas that were designated as World Heritage sites, National Parks or both. 

We spent hours walking: in the Daintree Rain Forest, in the outback at Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and checking out the Sydney Opera House and other sites around the Sydney Harbour area.  In the gorgeously scenic Blue Mountain National Park we hiked along a steep, rocky path. I thought the occasional signs that said “Landslide” referred to the trail’s name —  until we came to an actual landslide area! We scrambled over it, and I felt as nimble as a mountain goat. We also went snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef several times.  In Australia the natural world surrounded us and we cherished every moment we could fully experience it.

Unfortunately, I can’t integrate snorkeling into my everyday life. *SIGH*.  But I think my regular workout of choice helped me get to the place where I have enough agility and stamina to handle those kind of more extreme activities when the opportunity arises. That workout program is called Silver Sneakers®.  I specifically like that the routine focuses on Muscular Strength andRange of Motion. 

Two or three times a week I go to my local fitness center where the leader takes a group through a wide variety of activities that provides a good overall body, mind balanced workout.  This program is offered to older adults at 11,000 participating centers nationwide.  It is an enjoyable and valuable exercise program, and it helps keep my body revved up to burn calories.  This is my regular routine, but I still love to go hiking in National Parks (and snorkeling!) as often as I can manage to do so!

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