Monday, 29th October – Great Barrier Reef

Quite a day.

Collected from the hotel by coach and driven 40 very twisty miles  north up the coast to Port Douglas, where we boarded a huge catamaran called Quicksilver 8. Neither of us realised how many other people were involved in this trip – it must have been at least 200. All a bit (actually, no, a lot) chaotic and it took us quite a while to work out our program for the day.

Left Port Douglas (which itself looks really rather nice) on a trip out to Agincourt Reef, right on the eastern edge of the Great Barrier Reef, where there is a permanent platform, used for these kind of trips and also for marine biology research.

One of the included elements of this package was a trip onboard a semi-submersible – the platform has two available. We got on the first trip out, and it was pretty amazing.

No, not a selfie – just a shot to show how the semi-sub was laid out

Extraordinary stuff – pictures can\’t really relay how exotic all this looked. Most people think that all coral is brightly coloured. Not so – most coral is brown, but a fantastic array of shapes and structures.

After a buffet lunch, which was plentiful, but rather mediocre, we visited the underwater observatory. Not a huge amount here that we hadn\’t already seen but hey-ho:

I\’d taken the plunge earlier in the day and booked a helicopter flight for us both to take us over the reef. The helicopter itself was flown by a young lady called Lucy, who looked about 12, but gave us the opportunity during a 10 minute flight to see some of the colours and structures of the reef from the air:

Platform and catamaran in the background

Again, amazing. I just love the sensation of flying in a helicopter anyway.

After this, the only experience left for which we had any time was a spot of snorkelling. This was also a bit chaotic, not helped, to be honest, by the fact that neither of us are particularly confident about what we are doing. I have a little DxO ONE camera, which I put in a waterproof case, and took some pictures with it, but to my chagrin, my new phone won\’t install the app which enables me to get the pictures off the camera. I really hope to post some of these later when this issue is fixed (if they\’re any good, of course…..)

Anyway, this was our best (or least bad) snorkelling experience to date in our less than vast experience. Neither of us suffered unduly from leaky masks or mouths filling with half the Pacific Ocean, which had hampered previous similar swims, and we actually began to enjoy the sensation of floating on the surface and viewing the fish and corals underneath us.

I hate pictures being taken of me, but here\’s one which will give everyone reading a laugh:

Enough already. Swim over, we got dried off and repaired to the bar for a well-deserved red wine (or three).

Got back to Port Douglas in another hour and a half, coach trip back to the hotel, and a short walk out to a seafood restaurant, where we enjoyed another excellent meal. Full-on day, but another huge box ticked on our antipodean experience list.

Rest day tomorrow, during which we hope to get the washing done. These things are important, you know…….

One response to “Monday, 29th October – Great Barrier Reef”

  1. Blimey, that's an eventful day. Glad you got your helicopter ride – always something that Jane and I aim for if possible

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