Today was another early start for us as we had a 7.30am ferry to… The Great Barrier Reef!
It was such an awful start to the day, we all got SO seasick as the wind was up to 50knots so the waves were so choppy. People we’re being sick left right and centre and plates and bags were falling off tables and drinks we’re being spilt. Once we arrived at our first destination, we were all a light shade of green and Nicole and I decided that we needed to get off the boat as soon as possible so got our wetsuits on and jumped straight into the water for a snorkel.
Things immediately turned around when this happened, I felt so much better and the Barrier Reef was amazing. All around us was a ring of waves breaking, where the Great Barrier Reef makes the sea shallower and the coral and fish that we saw from simply snorkelling a few metres away from the boat were incredible!
I was contemplating not even bothering scuba diving because the snorkelling was so impressive, but when we I’ll have the chance to scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef again? So of course I did. (and thank god I did!)
Julie and I immediately had to remember what we’d learnt doing our PADI in Thailand, putting all the equipment on and completing our buddy check. We entered the water with a giant leap and the whole time I was panicking about my ears and whether they’d equalise okay because they’ve been hurting recently. The Great Barrier Reef seems to just make everything better and as soon as I was in the water they didn’t hurt and I had absolutely no problem equalising as we sunk under the water.
Literally two seconds after we started swimming in the deep blue of the Great Barrier Reef, our guide turned and made the hand gesture to signal shark, I thought he was joking! Until I actually opened my eyes and there, right in front of us was a reef shark!
I turned and looked at Juliet, her eyes wide with fear underneath her goggles, we both actually couldn’t believe that we were swimming with a shark… And the guide followed it! Once the shark had disappeared we set off exploring the Great Barrier Reef to see what other magical creatures we could find.. And low and behold, soon after that we saw a turtle!!
It was just sitting on the coral, minding it’s own business and it didn’t move, even when our guide stroked it! We saw so many other fish as well, nemos swimming around in anemones, we held starfish and we even played catch with a big ugly black Sea cucumber! After about thirty minutes Juliet gave the signal for low on air as she was down to 50bar and so she swam to the surface while we carried on exploring. Under a rock in the deep of the ocean was a massive white stingray and I didn’t even realise so I went so close to it! When I saw what was there I freaked and screamed under water but on second glance it was so chilled and cool, just waving it’s whole body, lying under the rock. Ten minutes or so later all of us were low on air so we did our 5metre, 3 minute safety stop and then surfaced.
After a delicious lunch on the boat (I still find it incredible how they cook such nice food in those tiny kitchens) we decided to go snorkelling again. I was swimming with Katie this time, while Nicole went for her first dive! After making sure Nicole wasn’t going to panic (I really wanted her to be able to experience the reef underwater like me) and watching her gradually sink under then swim off with her instructor, Katie and I jumped in. We swam around the reef, even through some parts and around others as the Great Barrier Reef really is a barrier and saw the biggest fish I’ve ever seen in my whole entire life – it must have been bigger than me! We freaked a bit then, so we swam away from the reef, took off our life jackets and just sat on them, floating in the ocean. It was such an amazing end to the day, just lying in the sea in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef. I’ve seen some unbelievable sea life, sea life that I never dreamed I’d swim with, and had a great experience in one of the worlds most iconic places.
Our journey back to Cairns was completely different to the way there, as we had country music played live to us the whole way home… And no one was sea sick! It’s funny how situations that seem so bad at the beginning soon turn around and become a seriously amazing day.