Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest

Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia is located in a semitropical region on the northeastern side of the continent. A major claim to fame here is the Great Barrier Reef which lies only a few kilometers off shore.

The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is the single largest structure on the planet made by living things.
The organisms that make up the reef are some of the smallest living things – coral polyps and photosynthetic algae. The GBR consists of several thousand separate reefs and about nine hundred islands. It extends as an arc some 2300 kilometers along the east and northeast coast of Australia and north towards Papua New Guinea in the Coral Sea.

bob in the Coral Sea

bob in the Coral Sea

Because of the enormous value of tourism to the region, much is done by governments to protect this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Diving and snorkeling in and around the reefs is a big tourist industry but those doing so are not permitted to touch, much less damage the coral. If a ship wants to “park” in the vicinity of the reef, they can only do so by attaching to an established mooring spot rather than dropping an anchor.



Although the reef is generally protected from direct human depredation, global warming is taking a toll. Coral reefs are suffering “bleaching.” This is a phenomena where the symbiotic algae, zooxanthellae, abandon the coral due to warming or more acidic ocean waters, both of which are due to global warming. Without the symbionts, the coral polyps die off and the result is colorless, dead reef.

Equally interesting onshore is another World Heritage site, the Daintree National Park. It is an ancient rainforest (annual rainfall around 110 inches.) A variety of plants found in this rainforest trace their ancestry to the earliest land plants. Primitive tree ferns, giant cycads, and the earliest angiosperms (flowering plants) exist here essentially unchanged from the Cretaceous era, the age of the dinosaurs.

The park is drained by the Daintree river, named after an early explorer of the area. The water is brackish for several miles upstream of its mouth on the coral sea and is home to the salt water crocodile. These ancient reptiles can get to over 23 feet long and weigh in at over a ton. They are the world’s largest living reptiles. dsc00808

Also among the largest animals in this forest is the endangered Cassowary, a six foot tall flightless bird. The males at four feet tall are smaller than the females. They take on the job of brooding the eggs and caring for the chicks.



The proximity of the off-shore reef and inland rainforest make this area an unrivaled tourist destination, attracting an international clientele. Because of the semitropical climate, there is little seasonal variation in weather. All in all it is a wonderful site for a south Pacific vacation. Next up the Australian Outback. Stay tuned.

2 thoughts on “Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest

  1. Al Gore

    Speaking of global warming………

    I don’t suppose you walked and rowed to Austalia. How much CO2 did your trip put into the atmosphere? Typical libtard. Preach one thing, do another.

  2. bob Post author

    Dear Biteme, first I would like to congratulate you on your important first step of recognizing the risks facing our planet due to rising CO2 levels- and what a coincidence -your name is Al Gore too!

    In response to your question of method of travel, and considering our net carbon footprint, yes I did walk (on water, carrying my wife all the way – top that jesus) Here’s how.

    I estimate roughly 40,000 total miles traveled @ .18 kg CO2 per mile equals 7,200 kg CO2. On the plus side however is the fact that because of design and lifestyle and the fact that my home is powered by PV panels, my avoided CO2 is on the order of 9,000 kg per year. And I have yet to factor in the avoided C02 emissions from the use of an electric car, and the negative emissions from the forest land we own (oak/hickory biome).

    My wife and I could go the Australia every year (but we won’t), and still have a negative carbon footprint. You have a nice day and of course “bless your little heart.”


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