Wednesday 18 Aug
Day 13: Great Barrier Reef
An early start once again on Wednesday morning. We were all up and awake at 6am and down by the pool for breakfast at 7.30. After breakfast we were all picked up by two maxi taxis and taken to the dock. We passed lots of people just hanging around and K asked someone where we could check in, we were at the head of the queue so we all boarded the cruise first and went to the front of the top deck ready to set sail for another segment of our adventure. We then spread out and got comfortable on the deck on cushions provided by the Scouser Captain before we began to head towards The Great Barrier Reef. After a short safety talk and cruise rules we went to choose our fins, snorkels and masks and went back on the top deck. Whilst on our journey to the Reef EHw was unfortunate enough to have her shorts fly overboard. We watched as the shorts floated away slowly. "Shorts over-board". It was quite cloudy to start with and breezy on the catamaran so we weren't convinced we were going to get a tan. We actually thought K&S were being a bit OTT telling us to slap on the sun screen even though there was cloud - apparently we will burn but we were doubtful.
About two hours after leaving the dock we then arrived at the Reef, the waves looked slightly too choppy for some of us and we became reluctant to get into the sea. Others slipped on their masks, snorkels, fins and off they went into the Reef. As KB and SA helped make the final three confident enough to get in, soon the whole Ultimate team were in the Reef snorkelling away. Unfortunately, snorkelling can become quite awkward for someone with braces as you have to grip the snorkel in your mouth, so SA had to get out. JW and TC also got back onto the boat because the sea became too much for them. However, they both gained the courage to get back in later in the day. TC was so lucky that she got her own guided tour of the second Reef that she went to with one of the instructors who had a life ring she could hold on to. We all saw the huge coral and brightly coloured fish, and amazed we all were. After a few hours at the first stop of the Great Barrier Reef, we were called back to the boat for lunch. It was a buffet and tasted pretty good.
Then the boat set sail once again towards our second stop for some more snorkelling. This time AC chose not to get in to the sea, so she stayed with SA. The rest of us got in with a bit more confidence this time. TC had a guided tour of the Reef by one of the lifeguards and certainly got the full view of the Reef. EM got slightly scared when she saw how big these fish were, but brave she was as she got into the Reef and snorkelled on. We all stayed together and saw some huge fish as well and some small colourful ones. There were even blue star fish and sting rays which a few of us were lucky enough to see. Some of us came out quite quickly because the waves were far too choppy which led to us drinking too much sea water and this became uncomfortable. After an hour at the Reef everyone was back onboard and having tea with cake. Then we were on our way back to Cairns. We also saw two whales whilst on our journey back to Cairns which was a nice little surprise for us all. AC and EAH made their promises for Senior Section on the front of the bottom deck on the way back.
Then we arrived back at Cairns only to find out that despite most of us following K&S's advice on applying sunscreen we discovered quite how sun burnt we all were - maybe we didn't apply it everywhere. With legs as red as tomatoes we walked to the bus stop to get the bus back to the Resort. Next time we're given advice by K&S we promise to take it J When we got back most of us had time to pack our rucksacks and shower ready for a very early flight to Sydney the next day, whilst EOK, EM, EHw and CG made pasta with white sauce for dinner. We all enjoyed dinner and then got ready for an early night as we had to be up at 3am the next day to head to Sydney.