Despite spending quite some time researching the options I seem to have chosen the wrong trip. We had planned a special visit to Cairns as part of our Australian holiday just so my children could see the Great Barrier Reef. The extra flights and other expenses adding a few thousand dollars to our holiday, but it was a disaster…
1. The team on-board the catamaran were really nice and helpful. Couldn’t ask for a nicer crew.
2. The food looked really good. (Too sick to try it though.)
1. One of the reasons we chose this trip was because it catered for a small group of people. However a small group of people means small boat, and hence lots of bobbing about on the sea. It’s not the first time me or my partner have been to the Great Barrier Reef so I thought I knew what to expect but I was wrong. The sea was rough and both myself and my partner were seasick to the extent that we couldn’t do very much but feel very ill the whole day. “You should have seen it yesterday” they said “it was much worse”, that didn’t really make us feel any better. Several of the other guests were also ill but I am not sure of the extent as I tend not to socialise much when I’m ill. This is despite taking sickness tablets beforehand – we wish we had taken more. This also meant that our children missed out on the Great Barrier Reef too. I felt so sorry for them but was too ill to be able to change things. I did manage one short trip with my son but this lasted for 5 minutes and we saw virtually nothing because of the conditions…
2. Beware that if you go out snorkelling on a high tide then the coral is going to be that much further away, and if the sea is choppy then the water quality is going to be cloudy. Hence in the only time I managed to get in the water all I saw was a murky grey piece of coral several feet down. It was hopeless and the waves were so high that we couldn’t stay out for very long as my son was understandably scared under these conditions despite the crew helping all they could.
3. Because the boat is small, it was also very slow. They said it would take 2 hours to get to the reef but it took 2.5 hours. They said it would take 1.5 hours going back as they would put the sail up but it still took 2.5 hours nevertheless. So that’s 5 hours of rough sailing while bigger less wobbly boats glided past us. Taking 5 hours of the day out just for travelling means less time on the reef than the other faster boats for snorkelling.
Well what did I expect? Well to be honest I can only review our experience and we had a terrible one. There was no attempt to warn people of the possible conditions and precautions that should be considered. If we had been warned then at least we would have had the chance of taking an appropriate dose of sickness tablets. With hindsight we should have chosen a company with a bigger boat. Sorry about the one star guys I known you did your best once the trip started, but I wish I could have just thrown all the money in the toilet without getting on that boat…
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