Day 196 – A rocky ride to the Great Barrier Reef

A visit to Cairns or indeed Australia just wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the Great Barrier Reef.

Having booked the trip the other day, we were notified yesterday that the boat that we had booked was broken and we had to be transferred to their larger boat which was actually more expensive. We were told all services would be the same, the only difference being the boat that we were on. However, the price would be the same so that was a bit of a bonus!

Because we booked the trip through our hostel we managed to get a free lift from them to the harbour where all the ferries were lined up. There were six of us in total from our hostel, me, John, two German girls and an English-Chinese couple. The two German girls were on the same tour with us and we all sat together on the boat.

When we boarded, we were greeted with bacon butties to start our day! Awesome! Both me and John grabbed one and wolfed them down! It would take two and a half hours to get to our snorkelling spot. We had contemplated going diving as well but we decided to save that for the Philippines and perhaps arrange it for John’s birthday there.

John and his bacon butty

John and his bacon butty

Once the boat had left the marina, we gathered upstairs for a safety talk. After the first 5 minutes or so, it was clear that the 2 and a half hour boat journey to the reef was not going to be a pleasant one. The sky was quite overcast but the waves in the sea were getting rockier by the minute.

After the 20 minute talk, me and John headed back downstairs and John was getting paler by the minute. Having never suffered from sea sickness ever, I was also not feeling so fresh but I was determined to not let it get the better of me. John, on the other hand, had to go outside and after 30 minutes on the boat, was seeing the return of the bacon butty!

I went to check on him and to get some fresh air. John has had seasickness before in Kaikoura, New Zealand when we went on a fishing trip but this appeared to be a more severe case of seasickness. Plus the boat was really rocking side to side. I managed to hold on for about an hour before I saw the return of my bacon butty! What a romantic site it would have been, me and John side by side spewing our guts up!

Unlike John, I felt much better after being sick and didn’t suffer from any kind of nauseousness. John, however, was suffering big time and threw up for the entire 2 hours to the reef. When we arrived, we were given a buffet lunch. John, all pale, refused to eat anything and sat slouched on the table feeling worse for wear. But looking around, it wasn’t just John who was suffering. There were about 4 or 5 others who were also clearly suffering from the rocky journey including one of the workers who was on his first day of the job whilst one poor girl had thrown up all over herself and on the table top. Her poor friend was there frantically trying to clean up after her! That’s a real friend!

After lunch, we picked up our snorkelling equipment wetsuits and headed into the water. John, the trooper that he was, went straight in as it meant that he would finally be off the boat.

John was fine in the water and we managed to snorkel for about 25 minutes or so before heading back to the boat as John was getting a bit tired having no energy. So we swam back to the boat and as soon as John boarded the boat again, he threw up again! Weird! I’ve never seen someone be so sea sick! So he just jumped straight back into the water.

As well as the rocky boat journey, luck would have it that we didn’t really pick a great day for the Great Barrier Reef trip. Visibility in the water wasn’t the best and we didn’t really see as much fish as we would have liked. Fiji was so much better! We headed to and from the boat a few times, especially to get water for John.

On one occasion, John was next to me snorkelling and we were about to board the boat again and he threw up again….in the water…right next to me…I have no idea where it’s all coming from! We were meant to snorkel at two spots but the captain decided to stay in this one spot as the sea was too rough. Probably a good idea I reckon!

In the afternoon,  cheese and biscuits were laid out for us. John managed to eat a few crackers but that was all. Having spent around 3 to 4 hours out at sea, we began our journey back to land. The sun was beginning to come out and we went to the top deck and sat outside. John pretty much laid down trying to sleep all the way back whilst I socialised with the German girls. They both managed to avoid the seasickness.

In the evening, me and John headed to the free restaurant again and in the queue, we bumped into Minh and Samantha, the English-Chinese couple who also went to the Great Barrier Reef today but with another tour. They were both from London and were doing our trip but in reverse. We sat with them over dinner and then we headed back to the hostel. With John barely eating anything today, we spent the rest of that evening talking with Sam and Minh before heading to bed.

About Julia Chan

I’m Julia and I've just returned from the adventure of my life. I went travelling around South America, the South Pacific and South East Asia for 12 months, and I'd do it all over again if I could! Julia on Google+
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