A visit to the Great Barrier Reef was top of my bucket list and is somewhere I have wanted to visit since around 10 or 11. It is the world’s largest coral reef and an area of outstanding natural beauty home to over a 1000 marine species. Did you know that The Great Barrier Reef is so large that it can be viewed from space?
There are many different ways to enjoy the Great Barrier Reef: Snorkelling, Diving, Helicopter tours and Glass bottom boats just to name a few. My friend Lucy who has spent a year in Australia recommended a helicopter tour as a way to get a bird’s-eye view of the reef. As well as this we wanted to do some snorkelling or diving to get right into the water and its wildlife.
We selected a tour with Quiksilver which allowed us to combine our snorkelling with a Helmet Diving experience. A helmet dive is a good alternative to diving for someone like me who is scared of deep open water or if you fancy an introduction to scuba diving. That morning we were collected by a quiksilver coach from our accommodation in Port Douglas. After a short cruise of around one hour, we docked at the Agincourt Reef.
I am not exaggerating when I tell you we were the first to get into the water. Having never really been snorkelling properly before, we put on our snorkel gear and started our search for nemo and his friends. Nothing can prepare you for that experience. It’s really hard to explain the joy I felt when my eyes saw the reef, beauty like nothing else before. We had a couple of hours before our helmet dive, so we snorkelled the Agincourt reef before grabbing a light lunch (which was included in the cruise – see tours and prices here).
Before I headed out snorkelling I was petrified about the idea of diving, but afterwards due to the excitement after seeing how clear the water was the fear disappeared. I was then very keen to dive amongst the wildlife and couldn’t wait for my dive. We headed down to the dive area a few minutes early and squeezed into our wet suits ready for our helmet dive experience.
There are no words for how I felt, so here is a quick video: helmet diving experience
After our helmet dive, we had a little break with a cuppa tea before heading out for more snorkelling. We were very happy floating on the surface of the water of the Great Barrier Reef, surrounded by colourful coral and arrays of fishes swimming back and forth.
It really was a dream come true 🙂 but our Great Barrier Reef experience did to stop there.That night we travelled from Port Douglas to our accommodation in Cairns . The following morning we were travelling to Green Island, a Coral Cay in the reef ecosystem by helicopter. We had booked with the tour company gbrhelicopters, who picked us up from our accommodation bright and early. We checked in for our flight and following a brief safety video, we headed on board.
We popped on our head-gear and awaited departure.
When the helicopter departed it glided off the ground and headed over the cairns coastline
Just beautiful, the view from above was amazing. On our headphones we could hear the aviation information such as the visibility and our distance from the island. After 10-15 minutes we arrived over the reefs near Green Island. The view was magnificent. We circled for about 10 mins getting an amazing view of the reef and allowing for a photo opportunity.
We then docked in Green Island. Once we arrived there was plenty to do for the day. We were escorted from the helipad to the main island information point. During our day trip we could do snorkelling, glass bottom boat tour, rain forest walks as well as meet the crocodiles but we decided to take a glass bottom boat with snorkelling after lunch.
One of the main reasons for visiting Green Island was to increase our chances of seeing a sea turtle. Green Island is meant to be a good place to see a turtle because it has an abundant of seagrass and boy was we not disappointed seeing a few on our glass bottom boat tour. Sea turtles were not the only animals we saw, our list seen that day even included a shark. Green Island being a Coral Cay, has an abundant of rainforest, which you can walk around in about 45 minutes.
My trip to the Great Barrier Reef was beyond my wildest dreams and diving was on my list of things that I always wanted to try but was too scared to do before. This is a perfect example of conquering your fears, if you are scared of something then you have to just go out and do it. Next step, PADI course 🙂