Snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef

posted Feb 23, 2011, 1:26 AM by Darren Cannell   [ updated Feb 28, 2011, 1:17 PM ]
We went with a company called Reef Magic.  A full day will cost you 180 dollars per adult and this included a great buffet lunch the return trip out to the reef and a trip on their semi-submersible boat and glass bottomed boat and tea and coffee and dainties.  You have to get yourself to the Reef Fleet Terminal by 8:30 in the morning and you return around 5 pm.  For the 3 of us it was a total of 450 dollars so it was an expensive day but it was well worth it.  Snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef was definitely the best snorkelling by far that we have ever experienced. 
We have snorkelled in Hawaii, many Caribbean islands and both sides of Mexico and nothing has compared to the Great Barrier so far.  We were all so excited to get out on the reef and it was Dax’s 2nd attempt to snorkel in his short life.  This time he was successful and he did really well, we were quite proud of him. 
We had rented lycra suits for 6 dollars each and this was to protect us from the Box Jellyfish which can be lethal or at the very least, an extremely painful sting and some paralysis.  These suits helped allot psychologically for us as well.  We even felt safer with them.  Dax had a Nemo fish lycra suit on and he looked so cute.  The water was warm and fairly clear considering that a cyclone had just gone through this area.  There were a million fish as soon as we got off the pontoon and it was so exciting seeing so many different fish and so we worked our way away from the boat to get to clearer water. 
There are these little colourful fish about 6 inches and they are called Cleaner fish and their job is to clean other fish.  Apparently this one little guy felt he needed to clean me and he was constantly in my face, literally.  A couple of times when I had my camera out he was becoming a nuisance because he was getting into all of my shots.  We had purchased an underwater camera bag back in Cairns to make the trip more memorable by taking pictures of our adventure. 
We can use the bag over and over again for the Caribbean as well.  We saw countless fish of different colors and shapes and sizes.  Some were incredibly beautiful and others not so much.  The most beautiful fish usually come in pairs and the prettiest ones were a pair of intensely bright purple and yellow Angelfish type things.  We did not have the camera out when we saw them and did not see them again.  Many of the fish take bites out of the reef and you can literally here them scraping away at the reef and it makes a squeaky scraping noise under the water.  It is so exciting being under the water and experiencing all of the fish and time passes so quickly. 
It was soon lunch time and we pigged out and jumped in the semi-submersible boat, which is allot like being in a submarine.  We saw 3 black tipped reef sharks and other fish etc.  When we went back into the water this time we took my camera and it is quite difficult getting a good shot being under water and with a bag over your camera.   I then switched over to Dax’s camera and when I was out of the water to do this, this is when the boys saw the black tipped reef shark while snorkelling.  Dax apparently made a swim for it back to the boat and Darren said that when he looked up to see where Dax was, Dax was already safely back on the ramp and standing and looking at him, so no worries there.  I missed it unfortunately but the story was funny to hear and it is good to know that my son is a survivalist.

Great Barrier Reef and more


The reef was fairly close to the surface so that meant that the fish were also very close.  I actually banged my ankle on the reef and it hurt.  I still have two sores from the wounds and they still hurt but they are not infected.  The reef had all of the colors of the rainbow in it, but mostly yellows and whites.  You could just snorkel around just to look at the reef because it is so interesting.  The boulder coral grows only 1 cm per year and some of the boulder coral that we did see were estimated to be more than 700 years old.  We can’t wait to snorkel again on this amazing reef, the largest reef in the world