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Sunday, May 22, 2016

Big Blue - The Great Barrier Reef

I don't think it's any secret that we've been looking forward to seeing one of the seven wonders of the world, especially now that it's under threat and may never be the same again. Ron, in particular, worked very hard to be able to strap on a tank of oxygen and go into the depths to have a first hand look at the coral and sea life of the Great Barrier Reef. We chose Seastar Cruises and are so happy we did and you'll see why in the photos.
Our boat
Michaelmas Cay (not as stormy as it seems)

Getting ready to snorkel
We went out to the reef fairly early, meeting our tour group - the Sea Star - at 7:30, in an attempt to get to Michaelmas Cay before the flocks of other tourists arrived. We had a slightly choppy crossing, but arrived to find no other boats at the sand bar bird sanctuary and first snorkel and scuba spot of the day. 
Little Blue and corals

It was a bit intimidating, I admit, relying on your mouth to inhale and having water in your mask, so that your nose could feel it. It makes you want to inhale, rather desperately, through your nostrils, but you  know you can't. Once I got past that little bit of terror, off we went, into the depths...well the shallows, really, of the reef. Alexa, our instructor, towed us around like useless lumps of flotsam, but it still gave me an idea of what SCUBA diving might be like. I was itching to be let free and swim on my own.

Ron and I waiting to go deeper
Once we got back on the boat - a half hour seemed horribly. short - we ate lunch and then headed of to our second site. As we were arriving, Alexa got us suited up in our stinger suits (jelly fish were still in season, so better safe than sorry) and had us strap on our tanks. 
Big step!
Then me!

This time there was no hesitation and I jumped in and waited for our next dive adventure to begin. There is something addictive in gliding through big blue and seeing things that I've only seen on TV before. The half hour passed so quickly that I could hardly believe it.

The chop was high on the way  home and many of us, myself included, succumbed to mal de mer. (Not Ron, of course, the man's a rock.) I was fortunate and got off lightly, some spent most of the journey looking at the bottom of a paper bag. While not the best wrap up to a fantastic day, I'm trying to leave the memory behind and keep only the good things. The crew of Sea Star were champions dealing with everyone who was sick, as well as being helpful, fun and informative on the rest of the journey. It really was a trip of a lifetime and we will likely go diving again.

What's next? Uluru, or Ayers Rock! The journey is winding down and there are only a few more stops left, so stay tuned, as they say.


  1. Really beautiful pictures, you kind of forget about a whole other world down there as not easily accessible.

    1. That's so true. Even snorkeling can open up a whole new world. One of the women that went diving with us couldn't swim...imagine that! There were snorkelers that couldn't swim either. I guess that's what the life jackets and pool noodles were for! (I used a life jacket to be lazy, but then couldn't dive down to take a closer look at things while I was snorkeling.