Seeing the Great Barrier Reef was a big check box for our trip around the world. Who knows if or when the rising sea temperatures will destroy it? So it was pretty high up on our to do list for Australia. We decided to travel up to Cairns and to a boat tour from there. There are meant to be better places to access the reef further north but due to our time constraints they weren’t really possible.
We booked a three day, two night live aboard snorkel trip with Prodive Cairns before we left home- the trip that fit our dates were starting to sell out and we didn’t want to miss out. If we’d had more time I’d have rather waited and booked something on arrival because from the beginning of our trip, it was clear that they are not cut out for snorkellers at all. Their main focus were the PADI courses going on which is fair enough but also meant it was a bit awkward for the few of us not diving with them.
The weather didn’t help much either. A late season cyclone was heading down from the north which meant water was choppy and visibility was poor.
We did manage to squeeze in a beginner dive though (for an extra $50) which was pretty darn awesome. Our guide/ instructor Calvin, after showing us some basics, took us down to 10m below sea level to visit a clown fish, and a giant clam living on a tree sized mushroom shaped coral. Oh, and we saw a hawksbill turtle. Pretty darn cool…
And considering I saw a shark and a multitude of fish in all shapes and sizes whiskt snorkelling, I figured I’d seen most things and wasn’t too upset when the captain called the trip off after a day and a half on the sea. After lunch on the second day we were rushed back to Cairns as the harbour was being closed off because of Cyclone Ita which was heading further south than anticipated. Which was good news on one hand because we’d gotten tired of snorkelling but on the other meant that we were stuck in Cairns for about 48 hours with nothing to do… Most shops and restaurants closed early and our hostel (JJ Backpackers) advised us to stay indoors meaning we were left in our rooms to twiddle our toes…
I got through nine books in the those two days.
Anyway, after all that palaver, all we had was a little bit of wind and rain! We caught a cab to the airport the following day and flew off without a glance back.
What a waste of time!
P. S. Prodive were quick to offer a refund to compensate for the time we didn’t get to have on the trip. They refunded us 45% of what we paid and did it without us asking which I thought was excellent service.