Today was the most anticipated and expensive part of the trip. I had booked a tour of the Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef is the biggest reef in the world and is known for the beautiful sea life and coral. Things did not go as planned on this trip and it quickly became the worst five hours of my life to date.
I should have known from looking at the weather that it would be a rough journey. We booked a day cruise that would be taking us to the outer reef where we could go on a glass boat tour and submarine. There would also be a buffet and snorkelling.
The crew warned us that we would be experiencing choppy waves due to the rainy weather. They said there was a potential that we would experience seasickness. Paul and I were not worried as we had been on boats before and never got seasick. The first few times the boat heaved, we laughed because it was exciting but afterwards the nausea kicked in.
Pretty soon, there were a bunch of queasy people and the staff started handing out sick bags. They told anyone who felt sick to go outside to the back of the boat to the most stable part of the boat. Paul and I were on the second floor and it was a little scary going down the stairs while the boat pitched. I was worried that I would break my neck. I had to hold the banister with two hands and go downstairs backwards.
When I arrived outside, there were already a bunch of people suffering from seasickness. It was just a bunch of puking, pale faces. I even vomited twice. The staff was really busy handing out bags and ice to everyone. There wasn’t much they could do. We were assured that once we got to the pontoon that it would be better because we would be out in the fresh air and the pontoon would be more stable.
At the pontoon I didn’t feel much better. A pontoon is just a platform out in the middle of the ocean. It was storming but people would get wet anyway because they were off for water activities. The rain was heavy and the wind was coming in sideways. As I was exiting off the boat, the wind blew my glasses off my face and they skidded onto the platform. I saw that one of my lenses had popped out and so I spent some time looking for it.
Unfortunately, I could not find the lens anywhere but I did inform the staff that I was missing one should anyone find it. It is probably in the ocean. My left lens sometimes popped out due to a screw being loose in the glass frame. I was soaking wet and still feeling queasy and dejected from losing the lens so I went back on the boat.
I spent the remainder of the day at the back of the boat. I just felt a bit sick from time to time so I didn't do anything but wait for when we would return to the mainland. The tour was from 9am to 5pm. Paul felt better when we reached the platform so he went on the glass bottom boat tour. He said it was interesting but that I wouldn't have been able to survive it. The glass boat was rocking even more than the main boat and the pontoon.
During the middle of the day, something tragic almost happened. A woman had drowned but thankfully was resuscitated. I remember that suddenly one of the lifeguards was ringing a bell and some of the staff ran into the boat to grab a medical kit and an oxygen tank. Paul said he saw what happened as he was sitting in the sun lounge on the pontoon. He saw a woman being dragged back to the boat in snorkelling gear. She was unconscious and the staff quickly went to help her. I don’t know what happened to her afterwards but I don’t think she returned back to the boat. The boat tour has a helicopter at the pontoon so perhaps they flew her back to the mainland.
After that episode, the boat returned back to normal. People still snorkelled, went on the boat tours and hung out. I felt a little better so I went to join Paul on the sun deck. I wasn't well enough to do anything else so I just laid down on a deck chair until it was time to go home.
Thankfully on the ride home, the weather was much calmer. It was still a dreary grey day but the waves were not as bad. I was so appreciative of being on dry land again. So, I learned that I can get seasickness if the weather is rough. Paul wants to go whale watching during the next school vacation but I said it might be something he has to do alone. I am a bit fearful about getting seasick again.
I still it is worthwhile to see The Great Barrier Reef, it was just a bad day.