So we rocked up half an hour before sailing and waited to be summoned to the relevant vessel. Eventually, a steward appeared and we went on the boat leaving most of the customers behind. She had to bellow again and they woke up, and moved. Well it was 7am in the morning, so you can’t expect people to be sharp.
We settled in our nice seats ready for our cruise to the Great Barrier Reef. Kindle ready, and looking forward to morning tea and a cake. This should be a good day.
As soon as the boat started we started to rock fiercely. It’s a fast catamaran that goes at about 22 knots, riding the tips of some big waves. We sat there while they went through the obligatory safety procedures and already I was feeling rough. A steward came round and advised me to go to the top deck and sit in the front of the boat, in the fresh air which I endeavoured to do.
Walking, legs wide, pouncing from hand rail to hand rail, I somehow got to the relevant place with all the other sickies. Sat in the middle of the bench, wind howling, waves rolling, clutching fiercely wondering how I was going to survive for two, long hours. Couldn’t move because of the violent rocking of the boat. Lots of young chaps were joking around about how ill they were feeling and whether they could stand or not and the steward explained how ‘you get used to it’ and demonstrated his skill of ‘sea legs’ by walking round without looking paralytically drunk (like the rest of us).
Of course, eventually one man went down and we all followed suit. Mr ‘Sea Legs’ promptly got the hose out and I went down stairs and sat at the back of the boat desperately wondering if we were ever going to get there.
We did. It was a wonderful day.
The water became calm, vivid blue and we went over to the Lady Musgrave Island for a walk. The sand is almost white with the most beautiful shells, faurna and trees. Lady Musgrave Island is the only coral cay navigable lagoon on the entire Grea Barrier Reef.
The Island is a 35 acres coral cay with surrounding reef and named after the wife of Anthony Musgrave, a Governor of Queensland. Apparently, Lady Musgrave held tea parties on the island.
We explored the island with our guide and learnt about how the female birds, noddy-terns, sit on a branch whilst waiting for the male bird to bring them yellow leaves, to build a nest. They sit, like princesses, only accepting one in ten leaves. When the leaf is accepted, they poop on it, to build the nest and the male bird goes off to look for more suitable leaves.
On the way back to our vessel, we had a glass bottom boat tour and observed sea creatures including fish, turtles and stingrays, with educational and informal commentary. Back to the boat for lunch and snorkelling.
The lunch was superb. Lots of salads with cold cuts, bread rolls and all the food was fresh and yummy. The most amazing aspect of the day is the snorkelling. I was a little unsure about this as you snorkel off the vessel but put the gear on and just went for it. Can’t tell you how stunningly beautiful the Reef is. Having all the colourful fish, float past you is a most surreal and special experience. I swam around looking at the Reef for a long time. The vibrant colours are extraordinary and I’m so pleased I experienced this part of the day because it is magical.
So after this we dried off, took photos and enjoyed the views and then eventually set off home. I grabbed an afternoon tea and cake because I’d missed out on the morning refreshments. The trip back started off calmer.
It didn’t last. I sat still this time, drifting in and out of sleep. Then the banging started, the waves rolled violently and I kept my eyes shut, trying to ignore the rolling waves.
“Are you ok?”The concerned steward asked.
Staggered to the facilities…
This time, I returned to my seat, helped by Miss Concerned Steward, and hubby is still there, sitting, reading his Kindle.
I would like to mention the staff on this vessel were extremely helpful, concerned and very aware of your personal safety. As I came out of the facilities, I think I could have easily had an accident, if it wasn’t for the support of the staff. The boat was rolling up and down and it was difficult to hang on!
For all that, I wouldn’t have missed this trip for the world. Never thought I’d go snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef and it was certainly one of life’s great experiences.
No more boat trips though. Never again. NEVER. By the way, hubby wants to go whale watching.