Cairns, Australia & The Great Barrier Reef

February 29, 2012

After two days at sea we docked at Cairns, Australia.  Cairns is in the tropical state of Queensland.  There are many attractions in the Cairns area, but for us the most important one was the Great Barrier Reef.  As with any place that we might not be able to see again, we decided that we should take the opportunity to go out to the reef.  Access to the reef comes at a high price: an hour of really rough seas on a catamaran.  The ride was so rough that a lot of people got seriously seasick.  Harry wanted to SCUBA dive, while Susan wanted to go on the semi-submersible, so as to see the reef a little bit.  

The catamaran took us out to a large pontoon, which was big enough to have a buffet service, changing rooms, equipment and areas for eating and lounging (restrooms were on the catamaran).  There was enough time to do two SCUBA dives, plus they offered helmet diving, where you walked around the edge of the observation platform), a glass bottom boat, a semi-submersible, as well as an area for snorkeling.

The diving was phenomenal.  There were many varieties of fish and corals.

The ride over was so rough that even people who don’t usually get seasick were having problems, or close to having problems.  Harry did one dive.  Susan finally walked down to the viewing platform and saw a little.  Both of us pretty much passed on the food.

The only other way to get out to the reef is by helicopter, which is quite expensive.  If you can withstand the rigors of the catamaran or afford a helicopter, it is well worth it to visit the Great Barrier Reef.

On the day following, we cruised up the coast of Queensland, and were able to see some places where the reef was at the surface.

The strangest thing was seeing the shell of the Osterlandia, a ship that was wrecked on the reef, according to our captain.  We have been unable to find any further information about it.  

You can see more pictures in the album.

004 Great Barrier Reef Pontoon Float.jpg

© Susan L. Stone 2015