Snorkeling over multicolored corals of many varieties feels somewhat like looking down on a living fireworks display. The Great Barrier Reef certainly lives up to the name great, with many varieties of fish and coral to see. Such a vast reef would take far more time to explore than the average vacationer has, but with a stay on the small cruise ship, Reef Encounter, for a couple nights we got to see several different places.
When it came time to hand out the snorkel gear, I asked if they had the sort of snorkel that does not let water in if you dive under. They gave me a look usually reserved for the village idiot. Seriously, I said, such a thing exists, we used them in Hawaii. Perhaps they have them now, as this happened several years ago, but at that time they had not heard of them. Still eying me like a crazy lady, they passed me a normal 2-way snorkel that you have to blow the water out of if you dive under.
The reef cruise and snorkeling was the highlight of our trip to Cairns. My son, Chris, mainly dove, but he did some snorkeling. My daughter Sheri set up this trip for us, and her husband Aaron came along as well. He brought an underwater camera and took some great photos. Sheri used it some too.
Some of the types of coral we saw in addition to multitudes of staghorn coral included plate coral, brain coral,
and hard coral.
Brightly colored fish in a variety of shapes and sizes call the coral home.
One day Sheri found a turtle. Another time we had to swim over a small reef shark to get back to the boat. It posed no threat though, and stayed well below us in the deep spot where the boat anchored.
People are not allowed to touch the coral, which keeps it healthy and beautiful.