Had a fabulous day yesterday. Cruised out through the Whitsunday Islands to the Great Barrier Reef. We went with a company called Fantasea - would highly recommend them! They have 2 permanent pontoons out there that have been there for the last 19 years. They now have coral growing on them and they are no longer allowed to move them as they are protected as part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Conservation Zone!
At the pontoon they have a semi submersible that takes you out over the reef to view the coral formations. It's absolutely spectacular - the photos do not do it justice - the reef is teeming with fish and giant clams and the coral forests are enormous - taller than a person...maybe not Gareth...
There is also a viewing area within the pontoon where I saw a Reef Shark!
But the highlight was snorkelling (which we did both before and after I saw the shark). Neither of us had done it before and it's possibly the least natural thing in the world to put your face into the sea and breathe! Added to that, the sea was really rough and we kept getting swept out of the snorkelling zones without realising it. But once we were into the flow of things it was fantastic. The parrot fish are so colourful and we saw these huge silver pipe fish and some grumpy looking fish about 4 feet long. It was awesome and over far too quickly.
On the way back the sea was so rough that it was lifting one of the hulls out of the water and slamming it back down again repeatedly which started a Mexican wave of sick across 3 decks.
As soon as we got back to Airlie Beach we went straight into their office and booked an island trip with them for tomorrow! We are going to be sleeping rough for the rest of the holiday and eating out of bins, but it will have been worth it :)
Alisha and Gareth