10 June 2012
Today was magical. It feels a little surreal and I feel exhilarated!. We got up early to get ready to go out for a day on the reef, the magnificent Great Barrier Reef. Its a sunny still day as it has been for 2 weeks.
We went out to three different spots on the reef and it was amazing! The visibility was fantastic. We saw beautiful colourful coral and too many fish to even begin to name.
It takes about 90 minutes to get out to the outer reef so you are jumping off the boat into deep open water. The first spot we stopped we jumped in and straight away saw the reef. The reef itself is only just covered by water in some parts and deep in others. I love snorkelling where the reef drops off into the deep water- a towering cascade of colour, texture and fish! It’s also brilliant to snorkel over the aptly named reef gardens, which is where the reef is just a stunning explosion of colour and is just below your tummy as you float along so you can really see things very close up.
Not long after we got in we were snorkelling near each other in an area with some deeper water and some reef that was close to the surface and these amazing deep crevices that always hold so much life if you float over them for a while. It was in this area, only a few minutes after we got into the water we saw a large white tip reef shark. I have seen reef sharks a few times before but I thought they were small sharks, I didn’t realise they can also be big. This one was about the size of me. It was quite a moment of both a gasp (and sucking in a bit of water!) and smiling so much my mask was leaking. A few minutes later we saw a massive Maori Wrasse, enormous. I didn’t even know fish could get so big! Then we saw a small reef shark swim past and we both followed him for awhile, they are so graceful and obviously swim effortlessly. They dart here and there seemingly always looking for food. Olly kept going and floated above him for ages while I swam over to an area near-bye and turned around to see a medium size black tip shark swim right past me. The black tip sharks are more bulky and rounder than the white tip. We were the last people to hop back on the boat as we were both just trasfixed by the endless things to see.
We had a few more hours snorkelling after that first stop and saw heaps more beautiful coral and more fish. Olly saw a small beige stingray with purple spots and we saw these mad fish called Buffalo Parrotfish which are large and have a hump on their head with a flat face that is tinted pink from where they run into the coral (there was a marine biologist on the boat to tell us about what we saw so she told us about them later) and a big block like tooth thing that they use to eat live coral and spit out what they don’t use. They were otherworldly.
It was such a good day out and really some of the best snorkelling you could imagine.