Hamilton Island - Great Barrier Reef
What a landing! Two attempts at landing in the middle of a tropical downpour with zero visibility, aborted just before touchdown and the captain's announcement: "Ladies and gentlemen, I couldn't land since I couldn't see the runway although my instruments indicated that it was 40 feet below me. I'll have another go, but if that fails we have to make a slight detour to Mackay for refuelling, since we're getting slightly low on fuel!"
It didn't come to that in the end - the captain managed a safe, if slightly bumpy landing on what later proved to be a scarily short runway. So this was the tropical Island my wife Sarah and I had chosen for our Great Barrier Reef
Blick aus dem Fenster
experience. We couldn't see much at first, even from the balcony of our hotel room overlooking, theoretically, Catseye Bay. Ok, we got the point of wet season - could it stop raining now, please?
When it looked like our plan to go to Australia with all my in-laws would become reality, I was, of course, extremely interested in going diving there, especially at the Great Barrier Reef. Unfortunately it turned out that our trip would coincide with the height of the wet season and the chances of being trapped in Cairns due to a tropical rainstorm seemed quite high. But since I just couldn't imagine going to Oz without seeing the GBR, we decided to go as far south as possible, thus choosing Hamilton Island. This turned out to have been a wise decision, since the downpour that nearly prevented us from landing was just the trough of a storm centred on Cairns, making trips to the reef more or less impossible. I had checked out the local outfit on the net and booked two full day reef tours with the dive centre H2O Sportz. When I inquired at the hotel lobby about them, I was told they were an excellent outfit, really keen on diving as opposed to just getting as many people as possible to the reef and back.