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Monday, January 8, 2007

Great Barrier Reef: Ocean of Information

Boy’s learning on Marine life has finished with a trip to Green Island on the Great Barrier Reef (picture 1 ). In Boy’s words, “It was the best day of my life.”

Green Island is a small Coral Cay, 30 kilometers east of our hometown, Cairns. The island is tiny in size (12 hectares) but it sits like an emereld solitaire amid 710 hectares of magnificent coral reef and azure ocean.

Six thousand years ago, the island began to develop. Waves swept loose debris from the surrounding reefs into a large pile. As the pile grew and emerged from the water, bird droppings fertilized the debris mound with tropical seeds and vegetation that could survive the fierce elements of sun and salt water.

When the debris mound became solid ground, the young island became a sacred initiation place for the males of a local Aboriginal tribe: the Gungandji people. These people called the island “Wunyami”: place of haunted spirits.

In 1770, explorer, Captain James Cook, christened the island “Green Island.” Named after Mr. Charles Green (astronomer onboard the Endeavour) the island lives up to its name as a haven of green vegetation, green fish, green coral and green tourism.

Boy took to snorkeling on the reef immediately. He spent hours snorkeling to view fish, coral and sea grass (that’s him pictured). I was his snorkeling buddy and was amazed at his concentration, responsible actions and eagerness to see more.

The different varieties of sea cucumber and feather stars were amazing and Boy fully appreciated already having done some study on these amazing reef creatures. His knowledge was enhanced by enacting with these creatures; he touched them, swam around them, and excitedly told other snorkelers what he knew about them.

And…did we find Nemo? Yes we did. Nemo’s entire extended family paid us a visit. Their colourful aquatic dancing was unsurpassed by the animation of the film. In their natural environment, those little Clown fish were the highlight of my day.

Our visit to Green Island and the opportunity to snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef was a home school excursion that provided real time learning unable to compare to text learning. Our preparation with text learning made the experience more meaningful and hopefully has whet Boy’s appetite for ensuring a degree of research prior to any other excursions we undertake.

Read our other articles on Marine Learning (two of them were written by Boy):
2007 Year of the Home School Adventure
Starfish are Echinoderms
Turtle Facts.
Places to visit in Australia
Sun Safety

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This blog is no longer kept. I am instead blogging only to Imaginif Child Protection became Serious Business