Got an early breakfast so I could make the ferry that would take a group
of us to the FantaSea Reefworld, a platform built up on the edges of the Great Barrier
Reef! The day was a little cloudy, but not raining: perfect for me, since over the
past week I'd grown a completely new pelt from my original sunburn in Sydney!
The trip to FantaSea was a little rough, though: the sea was choppy and
the trip was about an hour, and I was feeling a more than a little queasy! One bit
that took my mind off of that was the lecture on scuba diving: I was going to do my first
scuba dive off this reef! Chantal and Mike were also going along with me, Marco and
a few other more experienced divers were going off to do a deeper dive: we caught up with
When we got there, we got into wetsuits for the scuba, but we weren't
going to dive for a few hours, so we got some snorkeling gear and jumped into the sea! The reef was much shallower than I thought it would be: the lower
depths where we were going to scuba were only 30 feet or so. We had to be really
careful as we swam near the reef not to touch or be touched by coral: it was really sharp
and a few of the girls got scratched!
I used my underwater camera to take lots
of pictures of the reef: if it had been a little brighter I think they would have come
out better, but I still got some great pictures of the wildlife. There were some
spectacular giant clams, all sorts of coral, and of course lots of fish! There was a really huge Mauri fish that
frequents the reef called "Wally" that would allow you to reach out and touch it
as it swam by.
Soon it was time for the scuba dive: we
got on our equipment and weight belts (to keep us down: those wesuits were very
buoyant!) We got onto a platform in the water and were led down a rope path into the
lower part of the reef. The closeup view of the reef was spectacular, and the guides
brought us various objects to look at: giant clams,
starfish, sea cucumbers, coral, etc. The dive
was just a little introductory dive, so it only lasted about half an hour, but I really
enjoyed the time: I hope to do some diving again soon!
After the dive there was a buffet lunch on the ferry (which was tied up
next to FantaSea) the ferry people reprimanded me for being wet: well, duh! Still
managed to grab a few sandwiches and relax a bit. I used up the rest of my
underwater camera with some more reef pics before we
headed off back to Whitsundays. For some reason, we had to stop off and change
ferrys, so we wandered around town for a bit and grabbed some hot chocolate to
celebrate the day.
That night we had another great buffet dinner. Nicci met with a few
of us that were going on to the Outback before we went off to meet everyone in the bar for
drinks. Tonight was the last night we were going to be all together, so I got a lot
of pictures of everyone. I was going to miss
the group: everyone had been really nice, despite having met me :-). But soon, I was
going to be flying off to the Outback!