Tuesday, February 20, 2018
SWIM, SNORKEL AND DIVE… Sunlover Reef tours has its own pontoon over the reef to swim, snorkel and dive from.

Sailing the Australian coast Part I

Editor December 21, 2016

WE SAILED into Yorky’s Knob, our port for Cairns. Many on board had their minds on the reef.

It’s our chance to get out on the reef to snorkel, dive and even use special helmets that allow novices to experience what it’s like to be a ‘Captain Nemo’ like diver.

Sunlover Reef Tours pick us up from our cruise boat. It’s an hour and a half to the reef and it gets a little bumpy along the way.

We are used to the smooth ride from Voyager of the Seas, but with this smaller craft only being able to carry 300 passengers, it tends to move with the waves. Some are seasick but the crew are great and take care of everything.

On the reef, the company has a huge, covered pontoon. We disembark and are offered snorkelling gear including wetsuits and floatation jackets.

Everyone is in the water and it’s fantastic. The reef below us shows us it best and the reef fish are just wonderful. They are of every shape, size and colour and they swim all around us. The big ones almost seem to say “move over,” particularly if they are in a big group.

There is also a glass bottom boat to take you over the reef and semi-submersible to give you another view.

You can try scuba diving or, as an alternative, they have the ‘Captain Nemo’ like helmets with oxygen hoses attached. You are lowered into the sea above the reef which is a great experience.

And for those who want the ultimate, a helicopter arrives and settles down on its own floating pad to offer flights over the reef.

It’s a great day’s experience. After four hours on the reef, we make our way back to our cruise ship.

The Great Barrier Reef is a wonderful experience but on the way back, we pass a giant oil tanker and the thought crosses my mind with so many ships using the reef passage to transport oil, coal and all manner of goods, is it if, the disaster happen, or when.

The reef is the biggest living thing on this planet and it’s worth billions of dollars to tourism. It would be a great shame to lose it because no one wants to take the ultimate responsibility.

*To be continued…

Until next time,

Safe Travel’n,

Geoff Vallance.