The Great Barrier Reef is one of those iconic places that has forever eluded me. Fifteen years ago I got close, but the inclement weather stopped our boat from venturing any further. Well, a couple of weeks ago I set forth again, this time on a Great Barrier Reef snorkel tour with photographer Dee Kramer.
With the wind blowing a slight gale we boarded a Calypso boat bound for Opal Reef. Not halfway through the trip and a south-easterly greeted us, which bounced the boat off choppy seas in frisky fashion. After being lucky enough to see some humpback whales breach not far from our boat, we ploughed onwards to the reef.
Fifty kilometres and lots of sick bags later, the Calypso pulled in to Opal Reef, our first snorkelling spot. Wearing spring suits (it was August and slightly chilly), we plunged in to experience this thriving wonderland first hand. I had finally gotten here, the largest living organism in the world, and the only living thing visible from space.
Our Great Barrier Reef snorkel adventure took us to coral trenches, where giant clams, profuse coral colonies and lots of handsome looking fish crossed our path. Clownfish, spotted sweetlips, trevally, parrot fish and juvenile batfish swam past with an air of indifference. They were used to the flopping tourists. Swimming down, about five metres, I peered under a ledge and saw a school of hefty-looking angelfish that appeared in suspended animation.
It was fun poking my snorkel around a colourful kingdom of fascinating creatures, and Dee was having an underwater ball with his new housing. It was also great to see the faces of the dive crew as they surfaced. While they diligently recorded their submersion times, and relayed them to each other, I could see the buzz on their faces. “Woo hoo”, shouted one of the girls, “green turtles, giant manta rays and sharks!”.