Our day started bright and early. We had a pickup just a block down the street at 7:30 AM to go out to the Great Barrier Reef for a day of snorkeling and diving. After a quick ride, we were at the Cairns marina. Today we decided to splurge on a VIP Top Deck adventure through Reef Experience. We figured that we only have one day to go out to the reef, and it is on the top of both of our bucket lists, why not splurge to make the most of it. Well, the top deck meant quite literally that we were sitted on the top deck, in our own booth with a table. Today, we were the only ones to book the top deck package and consequentially had the top deck to ourselves. We also had our own guide, Chris, for the whole day, who served us a lovely breakfast and platter of fruits to start our day. A quick hour long boat ride and we were at our first dive site at Norman Reef. We quickly jumped in the water and snorkeled for a half hour before heading back to the boat to prep for a dive.
I have had a class on scuba diving, but do not have my certificate. K on the other hand had never even really been around a scuba tank, let alone tried diving. Taking a class was the perfect amount of preparation for an introductory dive. No prior experience or knowledge would be quite intimidating and nerve racking for someone to just jump into the ocean and dive down to 12 meters. K decided to continue snorkeling, while I went with Chris on a 45 min dive below the ocean waves.
Our dive was amazing and I got to see a lot in just one dive. (A small shark passes harmlessly below).
(Sea turtle resting on the ocean floor).
After the dive we came back to the boat, and got a delicious steak lunch as our boat moved to the second dive location. At the second location, K and I returned to the blue waters and snorkeled for another hour before we were called back to the boat. Our day ended as we road back into the harbor, enjoying an another fruit platter with glasses of champagne. This was a great way to start our Australian vacation, and a day we will not soon forget.
(A giant clam on the sea floor. I got to touch it and Chris showed how the clam starts to close just by our shadows; a defense mechanism to protect itself from predators).
Hidden in the coral is a monterey eel. It’s head is just sticking out. On our snorkeling tours, we also got to see tons of different sea cucumbers, starfish, conch shells, parrot fish, Angel fish, and even some clown fish! However, we did not find Dory.