Great Barrier Reef and Cairns

Trip Start Dec 14, 2007
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Trip End Mar 16, 2009


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Where I stayed
Vagabond

Flag of Australia  ,
Tuesday, February 19, 2008

We left the harbour in Cairns under heavy clouds and I must admit we were a little anxious that we might spend the next few days wet and sea sick. We were to spend the next two days and one night on boat call Vagabond which moors for a night in the reef. It was a smallish sailing boat, approx 25m in length and accommodated only 11 passengers and crew. We wanted to avoid the "sausage machine" diving trips which take 200 divers to a pontoon on the reef as fast as possible, dump you in the water and race you back to Cairns. The Vagabond Dive n Sail trip is focused on a much more personal experience and when it comes to diving allow you to work out your own diving schedules and most dives are unguided so you pretty much do our own thing.
 
The trip out to the reef was a breeze and we had a steady 10 knots of wind which meant both sails were up and we were cruising along swiftly. It takes just over 3 hours to get to the first dive site, approximately 40km out to sea. In total we visited 3 different dive sites and had 5 very relaxed dives and saw turtles, white tip reef sharks up close, a few clown fish (or Nemo as they are called out here) and all sorts of other fish we had not seen on any previous dice trips. Considering the Great Barrier Reef if hundreds of kilometres long you could say we've barely seen the tip of the iceberg, and it's an iceberg we'd love to see more of.
 
The crew onboard were great, we ate and drank like kings and were also 'treated' to some live entertainment in the form of Karaoke on a 6 inch portable TV. We each had to sing a song to earn our dessert after dinner and the performances had most of us in stitches or withering in pain. I was convinced we would find a few reef dwellers floating bottom up the next morning with blood seeping out there ears, fortunately fish don't have ears and sound does not travel too far under water. 
 
Safely back in Cairns we decided to splash out on our last night in Australia and have an expensive meal. Driving through Cairns as the sun is setting was quite an experience as massive Flying foxes come out to hunt. The sky is literally filled with the prehistoric looking bats cruising the skies sending most the lorikeets (small colourful parrots) into a frenzy as they dart and dive through the trees trying to escape the bats, quite a sight to behold. The dinner wasn't quite as spectacular and it just goes to prove that just by paying more does not mean you get better food.
 
The next morning I was up early as the credit in the air conditioning ran out and deicide to let Inge-Marie sleep in take a walk around the marina and boardwalk to watch the sunrise. Cairns really is a wonderful place, remove the humidity and it would be perfect, I guess that's what you get when living in the tropics.
 
We will be back for another visit.
 
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