During my stay in Cairns there was one thing that had to be done before I went back home. That was snorkelling on The Great Barrier Reef. The weather was perfect to get out on the ocean and see the biggest reef on earth. I went and got in line at the marina, eager to get on the boat.
When we boarded, they gave each of us a safety number, which helped them make sure nobody got lost. Everyone quickly chose their seats as we were briefed on how the day was going to go. Then we were off on our way. We were going to two different parts of the reef. Which increased our chances of seeing a variety of coral and marine life. When we first boarded the boat, morning tea was waiting for us, along with free stinger suit rentals, sunscreen, and many other perks.
I climbed to the top of the boat and sat in the sun while taking in the scenery. After about an hour of driving on the boat we were called back underneath where we were giving a run through of what to expect when out on the water. They were very thorough with explaining which helped build confidence when jumping in the water.
Time to snorkel
We put on our flippers and goggles when we got to our first location and were prepared to jump in. The entire time, we had a guide in the water who pointed out important details. And had extensive knowledge of the reef’s wildlife. Because the guide was so helpful and knowledgeable about where to look, I would frequently spend my time in the water with him.
The trip’s most surreal experience came when a reef shark passed by just a few meters in front of me. I thought I would get scared seeing a shark up close. But the instructors explained before we were in the water that reef sharks aren’t dangerous to humans. I stayed in the water for a long time at the first spot as I was in awe of the views and loved seeing all the different fish in their natural habitats.
As I hopped back onto the boat they were preparing our lunch. I gotta say they really outdid themselves with lunch. Cold meats, bread, a variety of salads, and spaghetti were also served. We all lined up and stacked our plates. I made a little sandwich out of the salad and cold meats with a side of pasta. It was exactly what I needed after spending so much time in the sun swimming. There was even enough for seconds!
A second location
As our food digested we made our way to the second location. I thought it was great how we got to check out both places because the reef is so big and there’s just so much to see. While snorkelling here, I came across a large sea turtle. I spent some time watching it sit at the bottom of the ocean waiting for it to come up for air. I had to be extra careful not to accidentally kick the coral at the second location with my flippers because it was so close to the surface.
We learnt some coral grows extremely slowly, like 2cm a year. So it’s super important not to take any coral, and not to damage it. Same with the fish and marine life it’s fine to swim close and have a look but do not disturb them. We need to leave The Great Barrier Reef untouched as it is one of the main ecosystems in the world. Future generations will be able to enjoy this incredible location if it is maintained and kept in good condition.
Time to head back
After all that snorkelling it was time to start heading back to the Marina. I laid out on the top of the boat again and fell asleep as I was pretty tired from all that swimming. Although on the way back it was a little windy so some salt water splashed in my face woke me up so I moved into the bottom of the boat which had some nice air conditioning to keep me cool. We made it back to land and it was time to head back to our accommodation.
It was such a great day out snorkelling and a must see when visiting Australia. I had always wanted to snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef, so crossing that off my bucket list was a major accomplishment. Before you go, here are some suggestions: bring a large water bottle (which you can refill on the boat); reapply sunscreen frequently; and just explore as much as you can.