Hannah Somasundaram: The Great Barrier Reef

“The sea is only the embodiment of a supernatural and wonderful existence.”

― Jules Verne, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

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There are more than 600 species of coral on the great barrier reef

Diving on the Great Barrier Reef has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. After completing my open water license in the Maldives in 2015, I was ready to finally do this.  When my family visited me in early August, I seized the opportunity to book a cruise on the outer reef. The company I went with was Down Under Cruise and Dive – although there were cheaper options, this cruise did not seem as crowded as some of the others.

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A friendly tomato clownfish

My tips:

  • Purchase a full days parking ticket at the Marina car park next to Shangri-La
  • Ask the cruise for a local’s discount when purchasing a ticket (make sure you have proof of address – electricity bills, bond lodgement form, etc)
  • Take sea sickness pills an hour before the cruise starts
  • Arrive early to get a good seat
  • The cost of snorkelling equipment is usually included in the price of the cruise – photos, wetsuits and dives require additional payment
  • Make sure you take someone with you if you are diving as you will need a dive buddy (or pair up with someone on the cruise)
  • I recommend going on a guided dive as the crew know where the best resident marine life live on the reef (giant clams, anemones, etc)
  • Make sure you don’t step on the coral
  • Take a waterproof camera with you – I use an Olympus Tough TG 5

 

In April, I visited Green island with friends who were visiting from Townsville. The time spent on the cruise is much shorter than an outer reef cruise, those of you who are prone to seasickness may prefer this option. My friends and I explored the island and then snorkelled on the left and right sides of the jetty. We were fortunate to see two turtles that did not seem spooked when they came across humans. I would recommend the glass bottom boat tour as you will be able to explore the reef beyond the jetty where the large fish and sharks reside, you may even spot a turtle or two!

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View of Green island from the jetty

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Green sea turtle grazing the seaweed fields to the left of the jetty

My tips:

  • Purchase a full days parking ticket at the Marina car park next to Shangri-La.
  • Ask the cruise for a local’s discount when purchasing a ticket and take proof of address with you
  • Arrive early to get a good seat
  • Take a waterproof camera with you
  • Take snorkelling equipment with you (the price of the cruise includes either one glass bottom boat tour or hiring snorkelling equipment)
  • Make sure you don’t step on the coral

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