The Great Barrier Reef

Last time I was in cairns it was eight months ago, it was November and I was about to be going back to Thailand to meet mum, Jaz and Ava.

Where the bloody hell has that time gone?? It’s actually scary how routine can just make things fly by… Apparently the older you get the quicker time goes which is TERRIFYING and what’s even scarier is that I don’t feel myself mentally getting maturer any time soon. So it’s like I’m ganna blink and suddenly be all wrinkled and old, still laughing at farts and pulling ugly faces at myself in the mirror.

The last few weeks in Melbourne have been freezing (not quite to English standers, but freezing when you’ve been adjusted to a hot climate for over a year) so I really haven’t been able to picture myself being hot in cairns. The bad thing about this is I have not prepared for having a bikini body AT ALL. I’ve had massive chocolate cravings right before bed for weeks which I’ve stupidly given into due to my lack of self control… and when I have chocolate cravings, I won’t just buy a snickers and be done with it, I’ll eat a “share” bag of Maltesers or a whole pack of hob nobs then spend the next hour moaning about how I’ve put on weight! I feel like a beached whale.. but at least in a weeks time I’ll be a beached whale with a nice tan and that’s better than just being a beached whale.

Cairns is just how I remember it- quiet and warm, surrounded by rainforest, with low down buildings and people with much stronger accents than that of what you’d find in Victoria! Although I initially regretted doing the East coast over Australia’s winter, I’m actually glad we have, because last time I was here it was disgustingly humid, but now the heat is dry and evenings are cool and I can actually snuggle up at night. Much better than spending restless nights sprawled out in a sweaty dorm, sticking to a duvet and having vivid heat induced dreams.

After months (actually years) of waiting, we have finally got to do the Great Barrier Reef! We were meant to be diving, but confused our booking so we snorkelled this time round but it was just as good!

What made the reef a different experience to any snorkelling trip we’ve had in the past, is that usually you go out on a boat with double the amount of people, and the area you swim in is more crowded (lots of flippers to the face) and restricting; the boat is only ever 50-100metres away.

This time round, the boat was a lot smaller, and we could swim out pretty much as far as we wanted to (like this photo below- that is our boat right out in the distance and it was the only other boat there)! This probably had to do with the fact that because the reef is so huge, and where it is an actual wall on the middle of the ocean, the boat has to park quite far away from where you can actually swim; usually when you snorkel places the reefs just sit on the sea bed and you swim over them rather than right up next to them (now I know why it’s called the Great Barrier Reef, when the tide is low you can actually see large parts of the coral sticking up over the waves).

It was amazing swimming out literally in the middle of the sea- you’d expect to feel a bit apprehensive about what might come and snap you up or sting you, but there’s no anxiety at all- just adrenaline.

We never did find Nemo, but we did see lots of his fishy friends. I was more excited about the fact that we saw spongebob and even better that we saw families of holographic squids swimming along side each other- at one point I was just floating about a metre over about ten of them (and now I can never eat calamari again).

We also never did find my beloved reggae shark (he’d probably had one too many smokes), but we did find a couple of his reef shark friends which was SOOO EXCITING AND SURREAL! I have no idea what urged me to swim closer to them when we saw them, instead of darting in the opposite direction, but I’m still alive and have all my limbs so it was worth it. (You can spot it in this video below in the bottom right hand corner).

So I didn’t lose any limbs, or get eaten whole, or get stung by a jellyfish or stoned with raggae shark, but I did almost drown from having a laughing fit when this overly confident little fish came right up in our faces looking for food (or a fight?). I’m not sure of the name of the fish, but it would not leave Jenny alone and kept hovering underneath her and weaving around her. It was one of those scavenger fish that hangs around sharks to steal their left overs so it must have thought Jenny was a shark hahahaha

Another thing that makes the Great Barrier Reef stand in a league of its own, isn’t just the fish/sharks/turtles, but the jagged coral and the colourful anemones that sway under the water. Sooo beautiful, it’s like it’s been man made. Honestly felt like I was in a David Attenborough documentary or Finding Nemo (3- coming to a cinema near you).

Just as we were about to leave and everyone was buzzing and still high on adrenaline the best bloody thing that could have happened, happened. We had two Minke whales jump out of the water just metres from our boat! Later as they were swimming away they both flicked their tails up in the air! I just wish we’d still been in the water when it had happened because apparently you can hear them singing underwater. The whole day was just totally mesmerising and I still feel in awe about it now.

Highly recommend using Island Diver for this- they have really cheap scuba courses, the staff are amazing (and extremely good looking if I dare say) and they’re the only company that is allowed to a specific region of the reef which Is considered a national park.

Our first little adventure is coming to an end and we’re heading off to magnetic island tomorrow, hopefully to see some wild koalas! I’ve pretty much seen every type of Australian wildlife in the wild now, except koalas, so I’m determined to go see some. Ciao for now xxxx

Recommendations:

Hostel- The Jack (really cheap, spacious and airy, not overcrowded one of the best I’ve stayed in)

Cheap breakfast- Jaffle house (healthy, cheap and amazing food)

Tour company- island Diver for snorkel/ diving the reef

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