on Apr 13th, 2007
Cairns is my last stop before returning to Christchurch. I had planned on just relaxing and not doing much other than going to the great barrier reef. My best time in Cairns were getting on a catamaran and heading off to Michaelmas Cay for snorkeling. It was shear luck because I was suppose to go on a cheaper tour (AUD99) which includes a small boat and stops at Upolu Cay and Oyster Reef. But on the morning off the tour, the sea was too choppy. Ocean Spirit decided to upgrade me to the Michaelmas Cay tour instead (AUD 189). Whoppee!!! I have never ridden on a catamaran before. The sea was still choppy but it was still fun for me. I sat on the starboard of the ship and rode the wave on the front deck (i am probably using all the wrong terms when referring to the ship). To get to the snorkeling spot, it took us 2 hours off the wharf from Cairns CBD.
I had to put on a lycra suit due to the jellyfish that exist in the waters (box jelly fish and another one the size of a thumbnail). The two mentioned will cause severe pain and is also fatal. So for AUD6 dollars, I rented the suit. We had to be taken from the catamaran to a small little cay and start snorkeling from there. The reef were quite close to the surface. I just had to go in as deep as 5 feet and they were all over the bottom. It is definitely a sight to see. There were a lot of colorful fishes, and various types of corals. I am not at all comfortable swimming in the ocean so I had a life jacket on. As for the guided tour with the marine biologist, there is a floating tube that I held onto to get into the deeper waters. It was quite crowded so all of us swam over each other, sort of like sardines. I met an elderly couple from Idaho. They were doing the snorkeling tours too. We had a good time chatting.
PS: The catamaran had two CAT marine engines (diesel) but the guide I spoke to did not know the rating of the engine. Quote:”Cat is very reliable”.
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