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Hamilton Island (actually The Barrier Reef) – Day 4

November 26, 2012

So an early start today with breakfast at 7.15am – that is early for us as it’s generally been around 9am unless we were travelling. Today we were travelling – all the way to the centre of the Barrier Reef to one of the pontoons that’s been erected out in the ocean to provide safe access for visitors to the Reef. What fantastic day it turned out to be.

We set off from Hamilton Marina in a twin hulled motor cruiser – we were told it would take us around 2hrs to get to our destination. It was a fine day with moderate winds however it was rather choppy and it was fun watching people trying to walk as the boat was rolling about quite dramatically at times. After around 90mins we could see the shape of the pontoon on the horizon and by 11.15am we were alongside and ready for 4hrs of discovery and adventure.

Brenda is a certified scuba diver so she took the opportunity to go on dive with 3 other guys and the professional diver. While she was away I spent the time lazing in the sun as well as chatting with other guests and staff. Lunch was outstanding and loads of it – Lots of healthy fresh salads of all sorts and the choice of smoked ham, chicken or prawns. My choice was of course the prawns which were succulent and large. By the time I finished Brenda had returned and full of what she had seen and how she had enjoyed the dive.

Whilst she lunched I took a trip in a small submerged submarine type of craft which went along about 400yds of the reef. It was fascinating listening to the marine biologist as she described the life of coral and about many of the fish that live around it. What is interesting is most of it is brown and nothing like the multi-coloured ones you often see on nature programmes – our guide explained the tricks used by the cameramen to strengthen the colours. However it was still great to get up close to what is a living and organic vegetation and coral which is actually living animals – I found this a little difficult to get my head round that thought!!

On my return to the pontoon I donned my stinger wet suit, fins and face-mask to join Brenda in snorkling amongst the fish and getting a bit closer to the reef. You have to wear the wet suit as there is a risk of  being stung by Irukandji Jellyfish which are commonly found in deep water. If you get stung by one of these transparent jelly fish then you can suffer extreme pain and need to seek urgent medical attention. Earlier in the day I observed one of the crew advising a young man and women who were about to go swimming without the wet suit on to not be foolish and what the consequences were – he won the case.I’ve snorkelled in a few places in my lifetime and this is up amongst the best especially as the water was so warm.

So we boarded our boat for the return journey which was just like the outward journey with lots of rolling etc. The sun was beating down and everyone looked really tired form the activities they had been involved in. It had been a great day and one that will last in our memory for a long time.

We had a great view of the Whitsunday Islands as we journeyed back to Hamilton Island and once we entered these the sea became much calmer.

We got back to our resort around 5.30pm feeling very pleased with what we had been part of but also a little weary.

As previously mentioned our resort is right on Catseye Beach and we have an infinity pool. When we got back from our trip the pool was empty, there was no-one around.

 The water was still, the sun was still shining and the it was just tranquil – and this was the result, lovely and peaceful.

 

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