Another sea day – but a very busy day. Captain Wallace Cray again provided commentary during our transit of the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait today.
The Great Barrier Reef is a chain of coral reefs in the Coral Sea, off the north-eastern coast of Australia. It’s the largest deposit of coral in the world extending about 2010 km (you can actually see it from space).
The channel that separates the reef from the Australian coast varies in width. Certain northern parts of the reef are as close as 16 km to the coast and in the south the channel reaches a width of about 240 km. The reef protects the channel from the harsh winds and waves of the Coral Sea and the water in the channel is calm and shallow. Islets and rings of coral called "atolls" are scattered throughout the channel, making it difficult for ships to navigate.
The Reef is home to a remarkable number of organisms. It’s make up of skeletons of tiny, flower like water animals called "polyps", held together by a limestone substance produced by a type of algae. Hundreds of species of polyps form coral in a truly beautiful range of colours and shapes and the reef also supports many larger water animals, including more than 1000 species of fish. One of the big problems here is a bread of thorns starfish. These have invaded parts of the reef and these animals feel on coral and can destroy large portions of it. Despite the efforts of the Australian government to protect the then, it remains an ongoing pursuit.
Gert and I also went to our first "hands on" cooking lesson. It’s a private cooking lesson, for between 6-10 persons. The lesson is led by Chef of the Pinnacle (Chef Jomon Jose). On the menu today is the following: Grilled Filet Mignon Pepper Steaks with Green Peppercorn Sauce (Gert and another lady called Jolly were charged with cooking these steaks). Vegetable was Asparagus and sauteed mushrooms with black pepper Romano cheese zabaglione. (Pat and Genny cooked this) and finally desert was Grand Marnier chocolate volcano cake. After we cooked, we spoke to chef about our experiences and he provided us with feedback. We then got to eat our creations with a bottle of red wine served in the Pinnacle Grill (hummmnm)
Tonight Gert and I had dinner in the Pinnacle restaurant. This event was a lot better than our first experience. I had the king salmon tonight and it was superb and I got my tea in a pot tonight. Again, all washed down with a lovely bottle of wine.