I am EXTREMELY excited to share our experience at the Great Barrier Reef with you!!… but first let me give you a few facts. The Great Barrier Reef stretches over 2600km and consists of approximately 2900 reefs. It is home to 600 different coral species, over 1500 species of fish, more than 3000 species of molluscs (shells), and 630 different starfish and sea urchins. No wonder it is one of the most popular diving and snorkeling sites in the world!
So for our Port Douglas port we booked a ships’ tour (shore excursion) to the GBR. Even though you can get many other companies by which you can go to the GBR from the harbour, I feel it is best to take the ships’ tour, because you are guaranteed that the ship will wait for you if the tour runs late.
After arriving at the harbour via tender boats, we immediately got on a catamaran. Included in this tour was:
-coffee and tea on your way to the diving spot
-a lunch buffet at the pontoon
-snorkeling (equipment included)
-a semi-submersed glass floor boat ride
-and a small snack on your way back.
The trip to the PONTOON took about 90min each way, and you got about 3hours to enjoy all the activities waiting there for you. Once there, you could also pay extra to scuba, take a quick helicopter ride to see the reef, take a guided snorkeling tour, and do a seawalk, if you wanted to. They also recommend that you hire a lycra suit (not too expensive) just in case there might be small jellyfish in the water. I decided to use the lycra suit, and not only did it protect me from the jellyfish, but also from the sun! Time passes so quickly while you’re in the water (because everything you see is just so amazing), that you won’t even realize when your sunscreen is washed away and you start resembling a lobster. Though there were people who did not use the lycra suits, I was happy to have mine on when I saw 2 sweet and innocent little jellyfish (the size of my thumb) coming past me;). There were no complaints afterwards though, so it seems like everyone was fine.
I snorkelled for about 2 hours and it felt like I couldn’t get enough! My husband did a scuba dive for about an hour and then joined me for snorkelling. I was happy to hear from him that I didn’t miss out much, and that the snorkelling is just as good as, or maybe even better than the scuba. In many areas the reef is at a depth of 1.5-2m, so the visibility while snorkelling is just amazing! I am not shy to admit that I used a pool-noodle the entire time;) it made it possible for me to stay in the water longer without tiring, and also helps you stay above the reef without touching (and therefore damaging) the reef where it is so close to the surface. The area they mark out for snorkelling is also nice and big, so you keep seeing new reefs and fish, and almost never bump into anyone else (even though there were about 200 people on the tour).
We saw, parrot fish (purple, blue, green and brown), a variety of coral, Huge clams (1m), blue starfish (30cm), a turtle, trumpet fish, AND I FOUND NEMO!!!!
This was a very well organized tour, with friendly, well-informed staff, and I can really recommend this company. To check out their website you can go to: www.quicksilver-cruises.com
I hope you enjoy the photos we took, and (if it’s not there yet) that you will add the Great Barrier Reef to your bucket list!