19 Nov 2006 - Snorkel day
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Some fish The underwater viewing chamber Wally the Wrass 

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Wally has a look through the glass




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Today was snorkel day. Our chauffeur driven buggy took us down to the jetty where we boarded our catamaran to the reef. Luckily we'd taken sea sickness pills because it was REALLY rough - pretty easy to spot the people who'd thought they'd be ok and hadn't taken one. The waves were enormous once we got out of the shelter of the Whitsunday islands - the boat was rocking so much. We were both ok though, thanks to Kwells, and arrived at the company's permanant reef platform (which is at Hardy reef) in one piece with all our breakfast.

We donned our delightful stinger suits to protect us from jellyfish stings. These are like cottoney cat suits with some lycra in them - Alice of course looked much better than Michelle Pfeifer when she was catwoman, and Justin could give spiderman a run for his money any day. Got into the water - not as warm as we'd hoped but the suits helped a bit. We had a good snorkel around and saw lots of fish, especially little blue ones, and some with very long noses that all swam one behind the other in a line. We got out after about 40 minutes to have a rest before our guided snorkel tour.

The snorkel tour was good - there was only one other person in our group. You had some orange ring things to hold onto and the guide took you around and showed you things - we saw some different corals, and then Wally the Wrass appeared - he lives under the permanant reef thing and comes out to have a look at people. He is enormous, about 8ft long and was swimming right up to us, brushing against us! And he has enormous eyes that swivel round and have a good look at you - you get the impression he's really in charge of the whole show.

After our tour we'd done quite a lot of snorkelling so we had our lunch then decided that rather than put our cold, wet stinger suits back on we'd try some of the other facilities. So we went down into the underwater viewing chamber which was really good - they have lots of long glass windows that you can look through, and Wally came around to have another look at us. Then we went for a trip on the semi-submersible which is like a submarine except the driver sits on a tower at the top, above the water, and all the passengers sit in a chamber with glass windows that goes under the water. It was good.

Once we'd finished that we just about had time for a quick walk around the permanant thing, saw a turtle floating around, and then we had to get back on our boat. I can tell you that a lot more people chose to have the sea sickness tablet on the way back. Funny that. There were still a few casualties though.

Unfortunately when we got back we heard our canoeing for tomorrow had been cancelled due to the extremely high winds we're having here so we were a bit disappointed about that but it would have been pretty difficult paddling in these conditions.

This evening we had dinner at the hotel - seafood barbeque. We had a lovely poolside table and were just starting our soft shell crab starters when it started raining. We braved it for a bit, but it got too heavy and we had to move inside. Stupid weather. At least we could see our dinner though. We had lots of crayfish type things, prawns, scallops (which Alice ate, I hope you're impressed) and oysters. Hmmm. Well Justin managed to get one oyster eaten which was pretty impressive. Alice managed to get one in her mouth, but that's as far as it went. It spent the rest of the meal on the plate.

Finished the evening with cocktails in the bar. Always nice.


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