Thinking ahead as to what there is left to cover on this blog before I can be "caught up" I realized that I made an unfortunate mistake and left off something super cool that happened aboard the Rum Runner in Cairns. So I will add this post script before moving on to NZ:
On the second morning as we were finishing our breakfast, floating over the reef with most of us still dripping salt water, wet suits draped around our waists, Jason (the skipper) looked over the back of the boat-- if I was more of a boat buff I'd know what that's called, but I don't-- gave a start and yelled, "BEVERLY!" which is the full name of Bev, the lovely, salty British girl who cooks and cleans aboard the Rum Runner. Before we could ask him what was happened he had skipped below deck, barely hitting the stairs. Aboard the Rum Runner, Jason often looked like he was barely touching the ground at all.
Beverly came running up above deck with a bowl of cut up watermelon. We all exchanged puzzled glances, but then someone looking out the back of the boat yelled, and we were all introduced to Wally.
Wally is a Maori wrasse, a rainbow colored fish (literally, like a pride flag on a fish but in more iridescent colors) about the size of a coffee table. He has gotten to know Bev, Jason, and the rest of the Rum Runner crew over the past several months. He likes the vibrations of the boat and especially likes watermelon. And so over the next fifteen minutes we watched the two of them feed him watermelon and stroke him off the dive platform, where he lazed on the surface, clearly appreciating the attention. He was enormous, his coloring unbelievable. And when he swam away we still had a stop at the giant clams and purple starfish of the lagoon to look forward to.
Wouldn't want to forget something like that!