Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Great Barrier Reef Island Caretaker Best Job in the World

The short list (well, top 50) is out for the Best Job in the World, and seven Canadians made the cut. Now, we have until the end of the month to cast our votes for our favorite applicant.

So far this morning, I have seen 3 of the Canadians interviewed on CBC, and every one of them sounds like a winner to me. I'll have to check out the candidates from the other countries listed.

While it's tempting for Canadians to apply for work in such a warm, exotic place when there's snow and cold in much of Canada this winter and most would likely take the job for room and board only, it does pay over $100,000 per year! But me? (Not that it would be -- I don't scuba dive, speak multiple languages, swim any great distances, or wish to get out of my home and native land.) I'd think twice.

What would give me pause for relocating full time to an island on the Great Barrier Reef would be the wildlife -- insects of all sorts, and so on. I can't find the name of the island(s) to check it out, but perhaps they are free of such annoyances as huntsmen spiders and assorted snakes.

Green Island offshore Cairns Queensland
When last I was in Australia, I took a boat tour from Cairns to Green Island for an afternoon of swimming, snorkeling, and just lazing around. There's a hotel on Green Island, and it would be a great spot to spend a few days. On such a short visit, I encountered no unwelcome wildlife. It's when the sun goes down that it gets interesting.

Reef Life View from glass Bottom Boat Green Island
The trip from Cairns to dock on Green Island takes about 45 minutes, and the crossing can be a bit choppy, especially if storms are offshore. And while snorkeling close to islands is fairly tame, there are still annoyances like marine stingers and sharks.

But take a boat trip out to one of the man made, deep water viewing platforms for an all day reef experience, and it's a little more adventurous, according to Bill Bryson, in his wonderful book about Australia (In a Sunburned Country), who tells of several harrowing or fatal experiences.

One that sticks with me is the phenomenon of 'floaters'. Apparently, and this is not a direct quote, some people, finding themselves face down in several hundred feet of water, freak out at the abyss and have a heart attack. Since they are in a group of people similarly floating face down with snorkel gear, no one notices their distress (or worse) until everyone else gets back on the platform. All, that is, except the one left floating.

It's precisely these kind of stories that make Far North Queensland such an alluring travel destination -- the element of danger in paradise. Kudos to Tourism Queensland for launching such a fantastic PR initiative while getting the largest possible pool of talent for the best job in the world. And now, I am off to research who gets my vote!

More info:
Short List of 50 Applicants
SnapshotJourneys Queensland