Oct 21 Great Barrier Reef
During the night, the ship rocked and rolled on its due west journey from the Willis Island Group to Cairns. That should have been an indication of what our day would be like!
We started with a main theatre full of people heading out on excursions. Royal Caribbean hasn’t quite figured out how to streamline the process. Along with hundreds of others, we waited 35 minutes to receive our boarding sticker and official permission to board the catamaran for the reef. The good news is that we met two couples from Sydney, one a travel agent. Needless to say, we passed the 30 minutes with lots of talking and shared travel stories.
Not being sure about the wave action, we both took an anti-seasickness medication before we headed out. Good thing we did! We sat on the outside covered deck to avoid the air conditioned interior cabins, and pretty soon there were others joining us so they could keep an eye on the horizon (if you know what I mean). For dozens of people, regrettably, the trip will be memorable for an entirely different reason. We both did very well with motion sickness until we arrived at the floating platform at which point Victor began to experience some pretty serious nausea. Weird. He insisted that Joanne head out snorkelling and he soldiered on and prepared his gear.
The coral was in every colour you could imagine...deep reds, bright yellows, striped colour combinations, solid colours, feather-like fingers, brain shapes and iridescent blue-tipped branches like antlers. The fish were also plentiful and different at each turn. Long knitting needle shaped fish, huge blue-green fish (one named Wally), yellow finned, bright blue, black with red lipstick like markings, and my favourite which with iridescent yellow with black spots like a leopard. Quite amazing! Victor finally ventured into the water at the perfect time ... just as a large turtle swam by for a look. We were both transfixed and the sighting encouraged us to venture out farther in search of more surprises.
Although it was pouring rain and there were large swells, we managed to stay in the warm water until the bitter end. It is an experience that we will never forget. Needless to say, a warm shower and cup of tea were greatly appreciated when we got back to the ship.