Anne Marie's Australian Adventure

Follow the Adventures of Anne Marie, Fergus, Cooper and Bean Sidhe in Australia!!


Posted by Anne Marie Serrano on March 6, 2009

After two days in Townsville we headed south to Airlie Beach our jumping-off spot for the Great Barrier Reef. Airlie Beach is a cute beach town catering to the young beach bums and bunnies. Shop after shop sells beach clothes and souvenirs. The restaurants have sidewalk or balcony outdoor seating since the weather is so good.

Leslie and Manu stayed in a backpackers inn right on the main road through the town, Fergus and I picked a cute B&B with ocean views in a quiet neighborhood. We spent most of the afternoon deciding which reef/island cruises we wanted to take. We finally settled on a FantaSea Reef Sleep cruise.

So early Thursday morning a bus picked us up at our B&B and took us to the harbour where the boat launched. It was a bit of a bumpy ride  out to the reef which was about two hours out to sea. It was a windy and rainy day but since we were going to be snorkeling and scuba diving it didn’t really matter. Just as a precaution I took some seas sickness pills but they didn’t work for me. By the time we got to the reef I was feeling very green.

The boat took us out to an anchored pontoon barge equipped with sleeping cabins, all the snorkel and diving suits and equipment needed for lots of people, a kitchen, dressing rooms, picnic tables, and a sun deck with deck chairs. Unfortunately it was raining most people where trying to stay under the awning or on the boat. I was still not feeling great so I tried to stay dry while Leslie, Manu and Fergus went snorkeling.

In the afternoon we got our scuba equipment and had a lesson for what is called a resort dive. I did this twenty years ago and remembered it being one of the most amazing activities I had ever done. I was going to pass on it this trip but decided to try it again and I’m glad.

At first I felt a little claustrophobic. The instructor reminded us that it is important to keep breathing. It seems like a stupid thing to be reminded but it is easy to hold your breath especially when you see awesome giant clams or the colorful fish among the coral. The time passed too quickly. This has to be high on the list of 100 things to do before you die.

Around 2 pm the “day trippers” had to get back on the boat back to the mainland. That was about the time the weather improved. We got to stay on the pontoon with another couple from Germany. Marcus and Julia are about Leslie and Manu’s age and the six of us had a great sunset dinner cooked and served by the crew. It was wonderful being surrounded by the sea, no TV, no COMPUTER, just good food, nice wine and great company. I slept the best I have in months. The gentle rocking of the barge put me out of the entire night.

The next morning it was rise and shine by 8am for breakfast before the “day trippers” of the new day arrived. Leslie, Manu and Fergus did another dive but I hung out on the sundeck and read my book because the weather was so good and I wanted to get a deck chair before the boat arrived. All in all it was a great trip.

We spent Friday night back at the B&B and Leslie and Manu at the backpacker inn. We had a flight back to Canberra the next morning while Leslie and Manu will continue to explore the Queensland Coast before coming to Canberra before going back to Belgium. We had a wonderful time with them. Here are some picture of our reef trip.


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