Barrier Retch

Trip Start Mar 23, 2013
Trip End Apr 22, 2013

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Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Tuesday, April 9, 2013

As I write, we are on the catamaran coming back from Reefworld (an artificial pontoon moored on the outer barrier reef ) and the waves are large and we're being tossed from side to side. That said , its not as rough as I remember it sailing as a kid with my mum to Hook of Holland from Harwich as in a force 5 gale -but this will do thank you very much.

Everybody's gripping the nearest object to them, trying hard not to retch. Quite a few people, though, have broken ranks and are throwing up into the strategically placed plastic bags - not unlike the poor Indian woman in the photo. The staff seem to be extremely old hands at this, are in high spirits wearing medical gloves, and are quick to escort people to the nearest rail to lean over.

As an aside, that takes me back - perhaps about thirty years - to the days when airline travel really started going mainstream. Do you remember how sick bags were in the back of every seat and how there were always a couple of people with green gills ? What was all that about ? I mean, nowadays you virtually never see anyone being sick in an aeroplane these days. So what's changed? Perhaps it's because nobody is allowed to smoke on a flight any more (I can't believe they used allow that ! ) or maybe people are just less scared of flying these days? Thoughts on a postcard please.

But you read right, we are returning from the reef. So back to the day's events. We're a little short of photos as most of the activity was under water...

We joined the catamaran at 9am for an hour and a half's 'bounce ' out to the reef. Seas were a little calmer that's the return journey but still churning stomachs and the guides used the opportunity to pitch return journeys by helicopter. An interesting part of the trip was that the final mile before the reef became even choppier than out in the open water. The staff called it the 'miserable mile '.

Anyway, on the way out I booked Marc and myself onto an introductory scuba dive (a little white lie was needed as kids apparently need to be 12 to dive here in Oz ), and we had to listen through the most casual (but amusing ) introduction to diving safety. So I was pleased I had elected to dive alongside Marc for that extra bit of support.

But I needn't have worried. Marc's dive instructor was a very experienced French lady and was excellent with him so I happily swan along as the redundant buddy. Along the way the marine life was extremely rich and there was some fantastic coral. Marc became so confident that mid way through the dive his instructor let him swim along all by himself. I was so proud ! You'll have to wait for us to develop the photos from the underwater camera to see him in action. Marc's description of the diving was 'mega!'

And so very proud of Alex, we were too. Despite very choppy seas and wearing a mask at that was at least one size too big, Alex braved the waves and came snorkelling with mum and dad. And emerging with blue lips, he seemed to have enjoyed it too as he was happily talking away about all the varieties of fish he had seen. A joy to watch.

After an enjoyable lunch, we were all back out on the reef for a second snorkelling session. And a curious thing - we started to notice the reef above the water. We hadn't noticed that before. Back on board the boat one of the staff told us that even out there the area is tidal with a range as much as 4metres.

And so back to the mainland. It was lovely to be able to feel land under our feet. In my case it took at least an hour before I felt I had stopped swaying. A couple of hours passed what we acclimatised and then we headed off to dinner at Romano's Italian restaurant for a nice end to the evening.
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