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A Day On Australia's Great Barrier Reef (III).

By Douglas Sassman.


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Viewing is in five minutes.” My wife and I look at each other, shrug, and make a move, anything’s better than sitting here speculating if the guy slumped over next to me is about decorate my shoes.

We walk upstairs holding on to railings, rungs, and arms of other people. If the lower level is a hospital waiting room, then the upper level is a triage unit, people are lying everywhere, moaning, wishing for death. The film has started and the narrator is talking about starfish and no one is paying attention, but to be fair, I think a nude erotic circus act would have elicited a similar amount of interest.

With my daughter still clasped to my chest, my wife and I decide this is a bad idea, we head back down below to our original seats, and I go back to speculating.

The engines die down and the reef platform, our destination, comes into view. The platform is permanently anchored at the reef and has a cafe, diving facilities, and lounge chairs generously dispersed throughout. I read about it in my brochure, I pull the tattered thing from my shorts pocket and stare longingly at an aerial picture of this very place, people swim, frolic, and recline as the sun plays across the reef.

I stuff the brochure away as green huddled masses walk past and disembark the boat. We follow and step outside into the wind and rain, running for cover on the platform. Metal groans and creaks beneath my feet as swells pass underneath. We find a covered table near the cafe, park ourselves, and then look at each other as if to say, now what?




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