Just got back from Queensland and it was all a v. positive experience. We are a family of 2 adults and 3 teenage kids and were advised by our very helpful apartment owner (Coral Reef Apartments, Cairns - also excellent btw) to give Compass a shot as it was excellent value for money and was good as it took much smaller groups than some of the other boat trips. The staff were all so bright and perky and great fun without being over the top - they were safety conscious and helpful -nothing you could have asked would have been too much for them. They offered free ginger tablets for sea sickness or you could pay a small amount for medical tablets. Everyone took their advice about sea sickness and no one got sick. Just need to point out here that it was a 2 hour sail to the reef, and that we were overtaken by a few of the faster catamarans and other boats. However, on balance I think that that little extra travelling time was negated by the overall experience. We did snorkelling with the kids, but you could also go in a glass bottom boat or scuba dive. It was amazing and fabulous. We snorkelled at two different locations on the reef - both as good as each other and different from each other. As well as a plethora of colourful fish, my daughter saw a turtle. We hired wet suits, but actually the water was warm and we found that, although they are a good buoyancy aid if you are not so confident in the water (and protect against the coral if you happen by accident to scrape against it), it was difficult to dive down into the water with them on, so we abandoned ours. When the tide went out in some places you found yourself swimming very close to the coral and many of the fish really close up. On the way back our kids went on the boom net, which was hysterically funny to watch with people being flung off when the speed picked up (but immediately rescued by the follow boat), and many of the guests rested or sunbathed on deck. Food and drink was provided throughout the day, and the lunch was chicken and sausages (bbq'd on deck whilst we were snorkelling) and an array of amazing salads and fresh fruit. Tea or coffee avail if you wanted to warm up and water of course throughout day. The only disappointment, and this is nothing to do with Compass or the crew, is that the whales didn't want to play that day - all week they had been spotted, but not on our day out. BUT ... we did have dolphins speeding alongside the boat's stern (is that the right name for the front bit?) and jumping out of the water. All in all - I would thoroughly recommend this trip - the boat isn't the flashiest or fastest, but all the other good things about the trip way outweigh this fact. When we disembarked, I noticed crew from other ships solemnly wishing goodbye to their customers - not so our crew - still laughing and hugely energetic they were lined up to give us all a run of high fives! RECOMMENDED!!!!!
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