I boarded WINGS III at noon on Sunday to set sail for the Whitsunday Islands. WINGS III is a brand new catamaran – with a hot tub on deck – that is decked out with all the dive gear you could ever dream of. Sigh…. heaven.
It was a lovely boat with an even more lovely crew! They kept us well entertained, and took good care of the folks that got sea sick.
The Whitsunday Islands are a chain of 74 islands near the Great Barrier Reef. There are ferries that scoot through the islands, but the area is too well known for sailing to pass up. We also stopped at the famous Whitehaven Beach. It was a cloudy/rainy morning, but ended up clearing up around the time we had to leave. Made for a beautiful sailing day!
To be honest, I got on the boat with no intention of going diving. I suppose that I had decided that all the doom and gloom of climate change had already completely destroyed the Great Barrier Reef. There was only one other certified diver on board, so that meant there would only be 3 of us down there… very tempting because dive groups to the reef can get up to 80 people! The price was affordable too – $50, so I figured I’d do just one dive to take a look around.
My initial assumptions about the reef were a little off! It was beautiful! Don’t get me wrong, the Reef is definitely in trouble – only 15% will remain 40 years from now. However, it is still an amazing sight to be seen! I’ve never seen so much diversity of hard and soft corals, with vibrant colours, and lots of fish. I can’t imagine how incredible these reefs were 150 years ago… or even 1000 years ago! Magnificent I’m sure. In total I did three dives. We saw a shark, eel, barracuda, Nemo and Marlin, anemones, lots of corals, bat fish, angel fish, parrot fish, and lots more!