Honestly, I don’t even know where to begin with this post. After seeing something so spectacular I definitely understand why it’s one of the world wonders.
My day started at about 7AM when we headed to the reef terminal where there are several boat companies that head out to the reef. I chose to go with Compass, economically it was the best choice because although the boat was much older it allowed snorkeling and diving together for the price of most other companies did snorkeling alone. Boarding wasn’t until 7:30-8AM so in the meantime I walked the Esplanade and saw many locals setting up their stations for the market that’s held in Cairns every Saturday morning; this was the reason I was hoping to go to the reef the day before. After seeing a bit of what the market had to offer I headed to Compass.
Once I saw the boat I understood immediately why the price was much cheaper, it was a much older boat without as many amenities as the other companies seemed to brag about. However, the staff on the boat was extremely welcoming and I was just excited to be on my way to the reef.
On the way there many people started getting sea sick and seeing them all was just making me feel sick so I decided to take a nap for the rest of the ride. At certain times the ride got very rocky but luckily I didn’t vomit on the way there.
Once we arrived we received a run through for the introductory scuba dive. I was part of the first group, after getting all geared up I got into the water and got so nervous I asked to be pulled up right away. I just learned to swim recently and had never actually swam underwater. However, the instructor let me know it got easier as you got deeper but I just needed to get there. I took a deep breath and dove back in, there was no way I was going to come this far and not go for the dive no matter how nervous I was. This was by far one of the best decisions I made all trip.
When we got deeper in the water the instructor was holding my hand at first making sure I felt alright and would let go here and there. It was beautiful, I felt like I was being featured in Finding Nemo. The fishes and other sea critters were so clear and just absolutely beautiful. To be completely honest no amount of words can really justify how great it was.
By the time I got up from the dive and settled it was around 12PM, I knew lunch would be soon so I didn’t see a point in going back into the water to snorkel. The boat had burgers, salad and sausages. I took one bite of a hamburger and knew there was no way I could eat and expect not to vomit so I settled for a piece of bread with a tad bit of butter. After lunch we moved locations and I was able to sit up on the sun roof and tan for a bit, laying down also helped prevent the seasickness.
When we arrived at the second reef site I decided I enjoyed the dive so much I would go for a second round, this time for 30-40 minutes. Once again, amazing! I was less nervous this time so able to focus more on the sea creatures. I saw so many different types of fish, clam, coral, it made me want to know more about marine biology because I know I would’ve appreciated everything even more that way. After my dive I was able to go snorkeling for a bit and finally got to see a sea turtle, another astounding beauty. The snorkeling was pretty awesome too and I’m convinced you really don’t need to know how to swim to dive or snorkel.
BUT if you’re ever going to Th Great Barrier Reef I think diving is a must! After having done both I just couldn’t imagine the experience without diving. Don’t get me wrong, snorkeling was great but the experience is just breathtaking when you’re swimming right next to it all.
After returning from the Great Barrier Reef I decided to check out a night market I had learned about that morning. I went for a quick browse around and of course supported some locals who made their own crafts. As I’ve previously posted I love being able to support the work of locals, especially aboriginals. There are some people who sell the artwork of aboriginals and the aboriginals receive all the royalties for their work. There were many native Australians as well as Asians selling not at the market, I also came to realize the high Asian presence in the Cairns cuisine.
I originally planned to go to a restaurant to eat but was too exhausted and not in the mood to dress up so I decided to go back to the market and have a passion fruit crepe for dinner instead. After wandering around for a bit I went back to the hostel and decided to call it a night early, the rain being extra motivation.