Thursday, December 3, 2015

Imagine having nearly five hours to enjoy the magical Great Barrier Reef in Tropical North Queensland!

Well, part of the time you’re relaxing on a catamaran and then you get to hop off the boat into the clear turquoise waters of the Coral Sea. We enjoyed a wonderful snorkeling trip on the Silver Sonic through the Quicksilver group, based in Port Douglas. This is a smaller tour, with about 80 people maximum, compared to some tours which can be like 200 to 300 people. The tour isn’t cheap at 224aud ($164) per person, but we figured this was probably an once-in-a-lifetime experience so we went for it.
And we certainly were NOT disappointed either! The sea is teeming with more than 1500 different species of colorful tropical fish in every shade of the rainbow too. Our tour included three stopping points which allowed us to see a variety of fish and coral in the outer reefs, which are supposed to have some of the best diving and snorkeling sites.
Hubby braved his first diving experience and took to it like a fish in water. His dive (an additional 65aud ($47)) included personal instruction and a 30-minute intro dive. He loved it!
The biggest fish we saw was a Maori Wrasse, pictured above with my husband. This guy scared the crap out of me, but this species is really friendly and the boat staff fed it some bait so we could take photos of “George”. The Maori Wrasse can live up to 30 years and grow to over 2 meters in length.  Unfortunately, this fish is eaten in many southeast Asian countries but is listed as endangered on the Union for Conservation of Nature list, since 2004.

Meanwhile, I suited up in a lycra suit because the water was a bit chilly and to protect myself from sunburn or potential jellyfish. Then I went snorkeling. I’ll admit I was a bit freaked out in the middle of the sea by myself. So on our last two stops, I strapped on a life jacket vest to help keep me afloat in the water and then I felt much safer.
We also rented an underwater camera from the company for about 65aud, but again the cost was worth it. I took more than 300 photos of the marine life in the Great Barrier Reef, plus it kept me occupied instead of worrying about floating away. Ha! I saw so many different kinds of fish that I couldn’t even identify them all.
The Parrotfish are easy to spot thanks to their parrot-like ‘beak’ and they are abundant in the Great Barrier Reef. The Parrotfish use their ‘beaks’ to bite off and eat the soft and hard corals in the sea.
The yellow Butterfly Fish is another easy one to recognize because of its distinctive body shape and what looks like a long ‘nose’. One interesting fact is they usually travel in pairs and tend to mate for life.

And we found a Nemo (clown fish)!
Check out all these bright blue colored fish too!
If you visit Australia, I highly recommend taking a snorkeling trip in the Great Barrier Reef too! This trip was worth every penny, and I have a ton of colorful photos of our memories here!

Is snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef on your bucket list?

My Traveling Joys 

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Julia said...

Great photos, Joy - a great idea to rent the underwater camera. You were very brave to even go snorkelling. I would have to consult my wits even before I did that, I think. Barry's done a try-dive here so he would have been straight in the water. Looks like an mazing experience.

Unknown said...

What beautiful pictures. I am glad you and Jason had an amazing time. What amazing memories you are making.

Unknown said...

So cool! Will show the kids tonight!

Carrie @ Season It Already! said...

I am so glad you did this! When we were in Australia, this was a must-do and we took the same tour as you did as it was highly recommended as one of the better ones by Australians. I was a little apprehensive about being out in the water at first, even though I'd snorkeled before and that is why I didn't rent the underwater camera. Big regret! You got some great shots. The 4th photo down after the photo of you is a parrot fish! It was one of my favorites because it is coloroful, has a beak-like mouth and the fins are more like wings. And you got a shot of the giant clamshells! That is another great memory of my time at the GBR. Thanks for sharing and bringing this back for me. :-)

jaz@octoberfarm said...

not on my bucket list! i am not a fan of fish and that big one...i would have died right on the spot!

Joy said...

Lol @Joyce, yeah that big guy did scare the crap out of me too! Maybe safer just to stay on the boat then? ;)

Joy said...

@Julia, I'm so glad we did do this trip and the life jacket helped a ton. I just had this unnecessary fear that I would go floating off the reef into the empty sea! Yes, Barry would have loved it too! :)

Joy said...

Thanks Steph! I finally got around to posting all these!

Joy said...

Thanks Adam! Hope the kids enjoy how crazy their aunt and uncle are! :)

BacktoBodrum said...

Fish too pretty to eat - not good for a cook.

Rachel said...

Wow that is just beautiful! I can't believe how clear the water is there, too! We've been snorkeling a few places but never with the water so crystal clear, even in Hawaii!