It is the largest single structure made by living organisms. Being huge marine life fans we just had to visit it. It stretches along most of Australia’s east coast, but the main hub is Cairns due to the fact that here the reef comes the closest to the mainland.
There are many ways to see the reef. Skydiving, panoramic flights, diving and snorkelling. Because we don’t have a diving license (have no idea why we haven’t done that by now) we decided for snorkelling. We snorkelled before (Egypt, Tanzania, Thailand, Cuba, Martinique, the Galapagos, Colombia, The Bahamas, Hawaii) so the bar was set pretty high. There are many companies operating snorkelling tours, the cheapest being 99 $ and the most expensive being 199$. Why the difference? Apparently the 199$ have the fastest boats, are the only ones where you visit three different sites, and you get to spend the most time in the water. We were thinking of taking the cheap version, but everyone said if you snorkelled before in those places you will be disappointed. So we chose the expensive version and didn’t regret one bit.
The tour was done extremely professionally (even though everything seemed so, because we just came from South America), the ride was smooth, buffet and service excellent.
They took us out on Flynn’s reef to three different locations. It was amazing and we’re not exaggerating. It was Jure’s favourite snorkelling, Simona still praises Galapagos and playful sea lions. We saw: reef tip sharks, sting rays, sea turtles, clown fish (a.k.a. Nemo, and his friend Dori 🙂 ) and the most amazing coral structures ever. There are many swimmthroughs, where you swim through narrow passages and just loads of beautiful corals.
Do you see more if you go diving? In our opinion: NO. But everyone who has ever gone diving knows that diving is something completely else. You are in a totally different world, you can get closer.
What we also liked was the environmental awareness of the companies. Although Simona had to tap one »roookie« snorkeller on the head and remind him not to step on the corals (some people just don’t get it).
Did the Great Barrier Reef live up to our expectations? Yes it did. 😀