The Great Barrier Reef

Trip Start May 18, 2005
Trip End May 18, 2006

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Flag of Australia  ,
Thursday, March 23, 2006

We managed to get to Cairns eventually, thank God, bypassing all the disaster areas by simply flying over them. It was hot there and the remnants of the cyclone were still covering the sky with cloud and soaking us with rain.

We stayed in a cute but noisy hostel, who picked us up from the airport and even told us that we could get out to the Great Barrier Reef the next day if we wanted too. I was chuffed.

We went out in the awful weather on a big catamaran with about 60 other people onboard. There was meant to be a submarine as part of the trip to see all the underwater ilfe without getting wet but it wasn't on because the sea was too rough. I decided to do a scuba dive and I was given a talk and a quick lesson on how to use the equipment before a little test in the water off the back of the boat. The test includes seeing if you can cope underwater if your mask fills with water or if your mouthpiece gets knocked out - you have to be able to get the water out of your mask by breathing trhough yor nose and then get your mouthpieve back in so you can breath without swallowing a load of saltwater. It was harder than it sounds. They test people in four's and if you don't pass the test you don't go, but if you do pass it you can head off there and then with the instructor to guide the way into the depths. As it turned out I was the only one in my group who passed so I got to go on my own (with the guide) and I saw some incredible stuff. Moray Eels, tonnes of fish, amazing coral and even got to feed turtles 25 metres under the sea!! It was brilliant. I had sore cheeks from smiling coming home I was so chuffed.

There were two reefs that they brought us to, the turtles were at the first one and there was this giant Napolean Wrass at the second one who loves people and kept coming right up to us. He was about 1.5 metres long and apparently he is over 50 years old. We got lunch onboard at some stage too which was a nice feed.

So loads of snorkelling and underwater photos later we got back to dry land and hit the sack early before our 4am rise to get a flight the next morning to Ayers Rock. Ugh!!
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