A name with the word “great” always caches. The great wall of China, the great pyramid of Cheops, the great canyon of Colorado … Because that “great” does not just say that it is the largest or whatever, it also makes clear that size matters. Humans are like that if we can go see the great Buddha of Leshan we are not going to settle for a smaller one. Marketing? Maybe so, but also a little lack of imagination. The Great Barrier Reef is the largest itself, so much so that it is difficult to locate it on a map.
How to explore the great barrier reef?
About 2,600 kilometers long – as many as the Wild Atlantic Way has, it has nothing to do with it, but we found it curious since we recently wrote about it – and an area of almost 350,000 km2 – little less than that of Germany. With these figures, it is evident that he deserves the adjective of “great”. Now, where is it hiding? Because, with that size, it should be visible –and, apparently, it is– even from space… but not on maps. That was our first “stage” at the time we decided we were going to visit the Great Barrier Reef: put it on a map.
Where is the great barrier reef?
OKAY. The great barrier reef is in Oceania. Great find. If we get closer – as if it were a movie zooming in on a map – we would see Australia. We continue without giving any news. Closer still, we would focus on Northeast Australia, on the coastline that runs from Cairms to Hervey Bay – north of Brisbane.
So yes, we already knew where the Great Barrier Reef was and that we would have to buy one more plane ticket to get there from Sydney.
How to get there? Excursions in the great barrier reef
Once you are on the Australian northeast coast you have to get to the great barrier. No, it is not seen from the shore, nor can you get there by swimming not only because the sea is full of sharks, jellyfish and water crocodiles, also because it is far away. You will have to hire excursions that take you to the great barrier reef, either from above – light aircraft, helicopter, balloon, sailing semi-submerged boat trips, with a transparent hull, swimming – snorkeling in the surroundings of the islands – or diving. Which to choose? It depends on what you want to do, now I tell you.
Wildlife in the great barrier reef
Thanks to Finding Nemo everyone knows that in the Great Barrier Reef there are clown fish, fish surgeons blue -yes, Dori is a blue surgeon fish, hammerhead sharks, white sharks, turtles marine, striped eagles, jellyfish, Barracudas … But the ones seen there are much prettier than cartoons, but also a little more dangerous.
We came across a few of them, some saw them and others saw us but not us them: diving in the SS Yongala they told us that, along with our group, there were a couple of bull sharks that we did not see … almost better.
What to do? Excursions in the great barrier reef
You may be thinking: I travel on my own, on my own, without agencies, without ties … We do too, but getting to an area in the middle of the ocean is not something you can do on your own. You can’t hitchhike a crocodile on the beach, or row an inflatable boat up there. Not to mention that we do not get along well with humans.
The only thing you can do to get there, see or touch eye, touch the water, nothing to touch the corals or the fish – that wonder is to hire an excursion in the great barrier reef. Life is like this … and, in Australia, besides this, it is expensive.
Fly over the great barrier reef
If you are not yet assimilating what is a coral reef almost as big as Germany, the best thing you can do is see it from well above. Since going to space to see it is not within everyone’s reach, the best option is to fly over it. The fundamental thing is not to be afraid to fly because, as in the Nazca lines, the flight is done in small planes and helicopters.
In our case we did it by plane from the Cairns airport. The excursions vary in price according to the duration of the ride –30, 40, 45 or 60 minutes, to the liking of the passenger. I have to say that if I had a bad time on the Nazca lines because I almost got dizzy, on the flight over the Great Barrier Reef I had no problem. What’s more, given that the pilot and co-pilot were taking photos with their mobile phones, we also took them and published them on Twitter live. The prices range from 110 to 170 dollars more or less plane, the helicopter flights are considerably more expensive. There is even skydiving for the brave.
Dive in the great barrier reef
First of all, say that our dive was not surrounded by corals and minnows. We wanted to do it, but we discovered that very close to the great barrier corals is the SS Yongala, a wreck with 101 years of history that is considered among the 10 best dives in the world. So, to the Yongala that we went.
The experience was bittersweet. The boat trip to the wreck area was complicated by the waves, but the waiting time between the first and the second dive was an ordeal. We both got dizzy and we were hardly able to jump back into the water. Note: when you are completely dizzy on a boat, jumping into the water is the best option: everything stops. Sure, if it’s on a dive boat and you have the equipment on …
Inside the water it was wonderful: banks of barracudas and giant manta rays and, as I mentioned before, there were also a couple of bull sharks that we didn’t see, luckily. We don’t know what would have happened to our stomachs if we had realized it, because it is one thing to get into a cage in South Africa to see the great white shark and another to be next to a shark without a cage. Finally, the SS Yongala appeared as peeking through the waters with all its history and life when ships sink they become cemeteries, if there were passengers or crew inside, but also in places where marine life explodes.
You may like also to read http://ngcatravel.com/