Snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef

Trip Start Feb 04, 2011
Trip End Apr 25, 2011

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Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Saturday, April 9, 2011

The weather has been shyte for the 7 days we have been in Port Douglas (overcast, periodic rain and extremely windy). Due to gale force winds, none of the boats went out the past 2 days.  But this is our last day in Port Douglas so we can't wait for it to clear up.  So off we go in 30 knot winds on the Silver Sonic (if it is more than 35 knots, they don’t go out).  There are 60 or so other crazy tourists like us on board (1/2 diving, 1/2 snorkelling).  It is a 90 min trip out to the reef – by the time we hit the shipping channel 1/3 of the people are puking or look like they are going to puke.  A girl at our table starts puking within minutes of leaving the harbour and didn’t stop until we reached the first snorkel site.

The staff was great; they wandered the ship dispensing puke bags and cold towels - with their plastic gloves they quickly replaced old bags with new ones for the sick people.  Everyone else was just trying not to get thrown out of their seats.  Even sitting down you had to hang on.   Thankfully Ron and I are gravelled up, hang over free and had a very light breaky.  We feel nothing but the thrill of the ride.  It was better than a ride at the fair.

We get out to the first site and jump into an extremely choppy sea.  I have never needed a life vest or noodle while snorkelling but I decide now is the time if there ever was one.  Most of the people snorkelling today choose the noodle; there is no shame in using the noodle today.

I would like to say that I was amazed at the reef and the fish, but really I was just amazed I didn’t drown.  At certain points when I was stuck in a current and was getting pushed away from the boat despite swimming my hardest, there may have been panic in my eyes.  At no point could you just float and look at the fish.  You always had to be kicking against the current or else before you knew it you were a scary distance away from the boat.  Exhausted and finished with snorkelling at one point I stopped kicking and covered the 40 feet back to the boat in less than 20 seconds.  It had taken me 1/2 hour to get that 40 feet away from the boat.

Ron and I went out at all 3 snorkel sites but had to come back each time after only a 1/2 hour or so as we’re exhausted.  Most were like us, with only a few only taking a break and then going back out.  We did see some amazing schools of fish but I definitely would not do it again until the seas are calmer.  Thankfully we have 10 more days in the Whitsundays so we still have a chance to get some good snorkelling in.

[The sea was angry that day, my friends, like an old man trying to send back soup at a deli!  It was very frustrating at times. You could see that there was great coral just ahead, but could never seem to get to it. I did manage to see some great stuff by accident once in a while when I got stuck in a current that pushed me over some coral. But then I had to fight my way back to the boat. They had a small tender along that day (an aluminum boat with an outboard engine, they call 'em tinnies, they also call cans of beer tinnies…confusing sometimes). Anyway, they used it once or twice to retrieve the errant snorkeler. The scuba guys had it much easier, they were able to get below the really rough stuff. I’ve never been on a boat where so many people were sick, kind of gross really. At one point a guy got slammed to the floor while walking by us, the ship was catching big time air and came crashing down. I’m posting a short video - it doesn’t really show how rough it was, but gives you an idea.]
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captcold (nee Andrew) on

eek! Being so close to New Guinea, watch our for head hunters!

Laura on

That is really too bad the water was so rough. And all those people puking must have made you feel a little sick too. At least you feel better once you get in the water. I am always amazed what a difference that makes. Since Nikole quit, I am eagerly looking forward to your return to the office Katy - sorry for introducing some work talk :-)

captcold on

captcold on


ronkathy on

Hey stop that Laura! No talking about the real world while we're living in our fantasy one.

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