Friday, January 29, 2010

Great Barrier Reef Trip

WOOOO, Sweet As.  Great day out on the reef!  Talk about a complete turn around from the Whitsunday day cruise.  Changing the date for my reef trip at the last second may have been the best call of the trip. The weather today was perfect, calm glassy waters, just a little rain, and best yet no wind. The sail out to the reef was flawless.  The tour company I did my trip with was called Ocean Free.  As we boarded the ship at around 730am, the crew was three mid 20s guys, very mellow yet they knew their stuff. Their names were Rob, Gordo and Matt. The sailing ship had only 14 tourists, which made the trip all the better.  Who wants to go to the reef with like 60 other people like many other tour companies do.  The crew said you probably picked the best ship in all reef tours, and after today, nothing led me to doubt that.

Since there was no wind, we could not really sail but we made it to our snorkel destination in about 2 hours, a place just offshore Green Island at Pinnacle Reef, just one of the many parts of the monstrosity that is The Great Barrier Reef.
Glassy Waters and Green Island

The 2 hour sail over to the island was paired with songs by Xavier Rudd and John Butler Trio which the crew had an entire playlists of, some of my favorite artists, set the tone for CRUISIN mode.  After we anchored at our destination, it was time to hit the waters and just before we jumped in the skipper spotted a reef shark just starboard, crikey. The shark continued onwards and we put on our gear (stinger suits, flippers, snorkel gear) and jumped in.

The second I was in the water I already was surrounded my heaps of fish.  I kept my eye out for that shark but never found it. Was hoping I would tho in all honesty.  It was time to explore with some serious snorkeling.  I spotted a giant jellyfish about 10 meters out, it was HUGE. Knowing I had a stinger suit on for a reason, I decided to keep my distance as some can be deadly.  Anyhow, I continued my swim over the reef and was loving it. Hiring that underwater digital camera was well worth the 45 dollars.  I was having a blast with it and now won't only have mental images of this great day. The photos turned out pretty good and also recorded some good videos.  Enjoy. As always click pictures to enlarge

The coral reef was colorful and vibrant as I expected and was very entertained on the amount of fish swimming near it and around me.  Visibility was not too ideal as it was still high tide but still doable.

Almost swam into this little guy

As I was making my way back to the boat, there were some giant fish around the boat since the crew had beed throwing out some fish food. One of the fish was the giant Darth Vader fish, this thing was like half my size. It is something I have always seen in acquarium fish tanks, but being out ride next to it in the same tank was pretty unreal.
(Bigger in real life than in picture)

Darth Vader

Anyhow, I jumped back on board and started feeling a bit sick.  We were then served our lunch which included Chicken legs, sandwhich meats, potato and macaroni salad and a vegetable salad. I ate most of it but still was not feeling to great.

From there we jumped in the small boat and headed to Green Island, where we had time to explore. There is a 5 star resort there and some restaruants. I decided to use my time on the island to walk around it. It was really nice.  Not a sound in the air except wildlife and the ocean, it was pure bliss. I think this was also the first island I have ever circumnavigated on foot. Another milestone in my life.

Green Island

After walking around the island, I made my way inland to get a feel for the resort and restaurants. It was then where I decided they misnamed green island. It should have been named Asian Island.  Heaps and heaps of asians everywhere, in the pool, walking, snorkelling. For some reason, Green Island attracts them, this was not just a 1 day tour that brought a lot of them, it is reoccuring. After about 10 minutes I had to get out of there and headed back out to the beach were I ended up walking around half the island again, away from the tourists and with nature.  Green Island also housed the largest saltwater crocodile in captivity, and maybe the largest in the world.  The crocs name was Cassius and was around 18 feet long and weighed over 1.3 tons. I did not see him in person as I did not want to fork over money to see him, but saw some pictures, thing really was monstrous.

Anyhow, I was feeling back to normal again by the time I got back to the ship. From there it was snorkelling part 2.  I strapped up in my stinger suit and snorkel gear, turned on my underwater camera and I was good to go. This time around, the conditions had improved. I was closer to the reef and explored new areas.

Still no sharks but stumpled across some mysterious object deep in the coral, may had been an octopus. I backed away pretty quickly.  I wasn't about the threaten his territory. I then saw some extremely colorful fish and found some Giant Clams.  The shells on these things were huge.

It was a great session and was eager for more but sooner or later I had to head back to the boat for the sail home. Before we took off, the crew had put some food that was leftover from lunch in the water.  Only took about 5 minutes till some sharks appeared at the surface, sickner. The big fish, including Darth Vader was also there gettin the food scraps. Entertaining.

Anyhow, I was stoked on the recent snorkel sesh, was feeling great.  Not a hint of sea sickness on the sail back and was the end to a great and beautiful day on the reef.  Couldn't have asked for better weather during this time of year. Even the crew was suprised how calm the waters were. Yea it rained a bit but no big deal.  Tomorrow wind is supposed to be 25-30 knots, more than double of what we had today, cheers to me for being on top of the weather forecast and changing the trip day.

Great day on the reef, Ill put up this picture even tho I look super haggard, still think its a pretty classic photo tho, plus a great background of the boat.


  1. yes, definitely looking handicapped there.