When we were looking for places worth visiting in Australia, Cairns was one of the most recommended ones. It is the place where you can stride through a rainforest one day and cruise to the Great Barrie Reef the other. As it is located in the tropical zone the local climate was really warm but humid as well. When we got off the plane we felt like we stepped into a laundry room. However, thanks to its coastal location, a pleasing breeze was blowing almost all the time which made our staying much more comfortable.
We stayed in Cairn for four days and two of them were dedicated to exploring of Great Barrier Reef. We booked in advance two cruise trips which included snorkelling and also an introductory scuba dive.
The first trip included a cruise to Green Island which is about an hour away from Cairns harbour. It’s actually a big pile of sand with palm grove which you can walk around in 45 minutes. After dropping an anchor we went to explore the ocean equipped snorkels, fins and goggles.
The temperature of water was amazing - about 29°C. During the next three hours we were snorkelling above tiny corals and were accompanied by all kinds of fish. Some of them were beautifully colourful, some of them we quite inconspicuous but looked quite scary with it opened mounts full of sharp teeth. A big blue starfish was also amazing.
After a break during which we were wandering around the island, we joined a short cruise on a glass bottom boat that took us a little bit further from the island. It was even more exciting experience as we were sailing above fields of corals so close that I was even afraid we would hit them with the bottom of the boat. Shoals of fish were amazing but the best thing was a giant turtle slowly moving around the sea bottom.
During the second trip we got a bit further to the outer reef location about 2 hours away from the coast. The ocean was pretty rough on that day, so the most of the passengers drugged themselves immediately after leaving port by ginger tablets against sea sickness. Including us. It must be said, that it really helped.
This cruise included our first introductory scuba dive. After brief lecture about what all can happen to your ears and lungs if you don’t equalize properly and after signing a paper with all different ways how you can die, we were due stressed but ready. Firstly, we needed to pass a little bubbling test and then we set off hand in hand in group of four with our instructor to explore the deep. Not literally, we dived into 12 meters maximum. However, even that was quite enough when you’re considering that heavy thing on your back causing toppling over one side or another, furious effort to equalize your ears, not forget to breathe – one wouldn’t think it’s possible – and try to enjoy all things around at the same time. I felt my heart jumping up to the neck but it was an unforgettable experience. Fish swam just right in front of our goggles, we saw a turtle again and swam along the huge corals. After 20 minute we were save back on the board.
After crossing to a different location we spent the rest of the afternoon snorkelling on the reef. The diversity of the reef was incredible and it was definitely much more exciting than the first trip, at least as far as our adrenalin level was concerned.
On the way back, more pleasant thanks to a few more ginger tablets, we were entertained by a bit creepy but a kind of funny reggae singer and a glass of wine. Tired but happy we definitely deserved it after a such performance!