Delane and I took a slightly different approach to visiting the GBR; We booked an overnight trip to stay on a boat for the night. We were in a town called Port Douglas the day before our visit to the GBR and were departing Cairns (about 1 hour drive south) at 8-8:15AM. So we hopped in the car at 6:45 and made quick work of the first 50 minutes. We got 10K away from Cairns and started CRAWLING at like 5K per hour. The clock ticked by and next thing we know we've moved like 2 miles in 20 minutes. Anyone that knows me well knows that being late SERIOUSLY stresses me out! But a quick call to the Dive store let us know that the traffic (an bad car accident) was holding up others and they would wait for us made me relax a bit.
So we departed Cairns for Norman Reef on a boat with like 150 other people....and they should have probably capped it at 100. It was CROWDED. The trip to the outer reef was about 90 minutes and when we arrived it was time to snorkle! We hit the water for about 45 minutes in wet suits, back in the boat, moved sites, then another 45 minutes at another location. By this time I was getting a tad tired of the crowds. But the very bright side was the crew telling Delane and I that the overnight boat we would be transferring too was meant to have 48 people and that there wold only be 28 for the evening! We motored over to the overnight boat around 2:30 and went from crowds to luxury! It was an amazing boat.......huge, with 24 rooms, 2 huge decks, a dive platform, dining room, bar, the works!
Now, about the reef; It is very difficult to describe how amazing the GBR is! Delane and I have had the pleasure to snorkel at many amazing locations around the world and this by far takes the cake! The water was flawless, the fish abundant, and the coral alive, colorful, and EVERYWHERE! I can't begin to count the different varieties of fish in the water........we even saw a Stringray!
We snorkeled a total of 5 times before re boarding the transfer boat for the trip back to shore the next day. We were both fairly surprised at how much we truly enjoyed the reef! It was even better than expected. And I can certainly recommend staying on a boat for a night or two.