The Great Barrier Reef is quite possibly the number one thing to see and visit when in Australia. It’s one of the 7 natural wonders of the world so rightly so, and is now the third I have visited personally so only 4 left to go! But for me personally it is one of the most terrifying things I have ever done, and this is because I can’t swim very well at, so the idea of swimming 60km out at sea kept gave me a few sleepless nights to say the least. Especially considering that in order to actually see the reef you need to at least put your head under the water, which is something I’ve never been able to.
So I booked a snorkelling tour with Australia Cruise and Dive for myself and my girlfriend and it was very reasonably priced at $130 each, and included over 4 hours of snorkelling time at two sites as well as a free lunch, wine and entertainment and options for additional purchases like wet suite rental, helicopter rides, some little sub tour thing, and underwater camera hire. Actually stretched the budget out a little bit and rented an underwater camera, which was a good thing considering my GoPro flooded and broke which was pretty devastating. But the pictures and video turned out great as you can see below, though as you probably guessed I didn’t take or film any of it, I left that job for the missus, staying alive was hard enough work for me without trying to take pictures as well!
Though despite all my fears and negativity, it actually turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life, not only because I got to witness one of the most surrene places on earth, but the buzz you get from conquering your fears and pushing yourself that little bit further is always a great feeling as well! It wasn’t one of those sink or swim situations like when birds first attempt to fly and they either succeed or die, I loaded myself up with a life jacket and a number of noodles so I was always going to be ok really. It took me about 15 minutes to actually put my head under the water but once I got the hang of it, I was away, had a grew time. At one point I even found myself swimming about 2 or 3 feet under the water, minus a noodle, which caused a mini panic attack, but I got myself back to the boat composed myself, grabbed another noodle and I was back out there. (I do feel slightly guilty that I littered a UNESCO World Heritage site with a plastic noodle though – hopefully one of the lifeguards grabbed it!)
So yeah was a great experience, I saw lot’s of reef, lot’s of brightly coloured fish, and didn’t die, so overall a great success. I even had the bonus of having 2nds, 3rds, 4ths and 5ths on the buffet because most of the ship were heaving their guts out most of the trip because of the motion of the ocean. Fortunately (if you can say that) I have lived on a ship and sailed through a hurricane so it didn’t really faze me at all, to the resentment of the rest of the guests. The only recommendation I would have is to choose a tour group with less people, because it does get irritating in a big group because people will literally try to swim right through you, on top of you, kick you in the head, literally no holds barred battle over who can get the best pictures!
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