Thursday, July 12, 2012

Winter Holiday Trip (Part 2 of 4)

We made it to Airlie Beach and our day cruise out to the Great Barrier Reef.  Papa Echo found us a really nice hotel.
Here I am updating my facebook post from our balcony.

The following morning we were up bright and early for our cruise.  You know the boat ride will be rough when the crew begs everyone to take 'motion sickness pills' before they even get on the boat.
We followed their advice.

 We are ready for the cruise to begin!!

 Don't we look calm and happy?  This is before the boat began to move.

Just before we left for the three hour trip out to Hardy Reef on FantaSea, the captain said that the waves were high and that hopefully we could make it there.  After an hour and a half of bumpy waves and people getting sick all around us, the captain turned the boat around and our reef tour was called off for the day.  Our kids were so sad until we told them that we would reschedule instead of getting a refund.  Sometimes it's good to not have a strict schedule while on vacation. 

The next day we were back on the boat.  We had all taken our motion sickness pills, ate a light breakfast and were prepared for another bumpy ride.  Our second day our family made it without anyone getting sick.  The other passengers were not as fortunate.  A three hour boat ride is a LONG time.
 Passing by one of the many islands on our way to Hardy Reef.

 Here's a little section of where we were snorkeling and scuba diving.

I have never been snorkeling before so I was pretty nervous. (In fact, I haven't gone into the ocean once since we've been here...  until this trip...) I've also been really nervous about all the jelly fish.  We picked this time of year to go specifically because it's NOT stinger season.  (We still wore the stinger suits.)  And these jellyfish don't just sting and hurt...  these are the ones that will kill you.  There are signs all over the beaches warning about jellyfish.  Big sigh...  Let's just say I was nervous.
But the kids weren't nervous at all, so I kept quiet and just tried to keep up with them.

Jonathan wanted to go scuba diving, but he needed to be 12 years old to do that.  So he and I went snorkeling and went on the special tour with the marine biologist.  The tour guide pointed out so many things to see.  It was hard to catch everything he was talking about because of the amount of animals that were there.  It was a magical experience to see the huge amounts of fish.  After about an hour we were pretty cold (it's winter here) and so we got out to warm up and went on the glass bottom boat ride.
Jonathan and I snorkeling.
Do you like our 'teletubby looking' stinger suits under the wetsuits?  The stinger suits cover everything but the face.

Papa Echo and the girls took the quick scuba class for beginners and went scuba diving for the first time ever.  They LOVED it!! The girls are looking forward to going again.

Papa Echo



 It was wonderful and I'm so glad we were able to mark this off our bucket list.

In the captain's chair.

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