Helicopter Tour & Scuba Diving in The Great Barrier Reef
Today has been one of those days that will stand out in my mind indefinitely as the rest of the usual ones fade to black and spend time in the dark recesses of my mind. It all started with a close call concerning some cheeky cockatoos followed by a trip to the one and only Great Barrier Reef with Cruise Whitsundays. There I got a great perspective of the place from a helicopter tour before going scuba diving to see what is transpiring beneath the surface. Following that I joined Explore Group for a slick sunset cruise…
The trip to the Great Barrier Reef left the marina on Hamilton Island at roughly 9am and took about two hours to reach a pontoon on Hardy Reef. There I immediately transferred to the helicopter pads and took a tour high in the sky looking down on one of the natural wonders of the world. The Great Barrier Reef is immense and these photos don’t do it justice, luckily I recorded lots of video but even that’s just a taste. It’s truly one of those places you need to experience to get an idea of what it’s really all about.
After the helicopter tour I joined my new friend Chelsea and we took a semi-submarine ride which is basically a glass bottom boat to see what’s occurring in the deep blue sea. We saw lots of marine activity and recommended for anyone and everyone who makes the trek out to the reef. Afterwards we visited the underwater observatory and I was floored at the amount of activity. It was cool watching the snorkelers interact with the fish; also highly recommended.
Following that we had a delicious lunch where I overdid it with peel and eat shrimp before going scuba diving. I’ve only gone scuba diving a few times since getting certified but today could have reignited my interest in it. There was lots of activity and countless interesting corals to observe while casually drifting with the current back to the pontoon. We probably went as deep as 15m and the highlights for me as seeing a grouper and this massive painted lobster which looked oh so divine and delicious, I dare say.
Following that we made our way back to Hamilton Island where I jumped off one vessel and onto another. I went with Explore Group to enjoy the sunset on their catamaran. We sailed slowly as it was a rather calm day which was perfect for the trek out to the reef and made for a somewhat serene sunset experience. It was mainly couples and families as to be expected so I engaged in casual banter with the captain and first mate while sipping on champagne. The sunset was sweet and we slowly made our way back to the marina.
For dinner it was open and decided to go back to coca chu restaurant as yesterday was just bliss, the staff was incredible and not sure where else I could get lobster. I ordered the betel leaves with lobster as lobster is without a doubt my favorite protein source on this planet and seemed fitting for the day. Apart from that I enjoyed another papaya salad as it was done perfectl to my liking and besides a flood of flavors, brought back a flood of memories from my pleasant trips to south-east Asia.
For a day that turned out to be near perfect, it started out odd. I woke up early as I’m jet lagged and decided to make a time lapse of the sunrise as I’m that kind of guy. Sure enough a cockatoo knocked my camera off or picked it up and dropped it and it fell 16 floors; landed on a tin roof and exploded on the sidewalk. The GoPro was not in the protective casing and feared I had just wasted my camera on some time lapse before the main event aka The Great Barrier Reef.
I got downstairs and slowly but surely found the pieces and it still worked fine! Not only that but the way it fell, it didn’t even damage the lens besides a slight scratch! My stress levels were through the roof but quickly subsided when I realized I had gotten a lucky break. Sure enough I came back upstairs and there were more than half a dozen cockatoos hanging on my patio; lesson learned. I also have 200 snippets from the day so stay tuned for lots of videos. This is just an overview and the main event is coming.
I’d continue but my energy has been near completely depleted; it’s time to drift into pleasant dreams before waking up and playing Hamilton Island Golf Course over on Dent Island. In closing, I’d like to thank the fine people at Tourism and Events Queensland as well as Hamilton Island for their unreal hospitality; thank you!