Great Barrier Reef
Yesterday evening, just after arriving at the Airlie Cove campsite at Airlie Beach, we booked a trip to the Great Barrier Reef with Fantasea, one of the two operators working from the area and the one recommended by Alison. However during the night we discovered that Marit had 39°C fever so she and Marjolein had to stay behind. All the same Saskia and I had a great time despite getting up at the crack of dawn for the bus. The journey out to Harvey Reef took 2.5 hours, likewise on the return leg, and we had 4 hours at the pontoon anchored at the reef. On the way out we saw a humpbacked whale doing its tricks, which understandably caused great excitement.
Saskia couldn't wait to go snorkelling so we did that right away. Fortunately I managed another small step in my campaign to overcome the fear of deep water I've had since I was a kid (and which was aided and abetted by my sadistic primary school swimming teacher...) and managed the deepest water so far with the help of an extra lifejacket. However the tide was low when we snorkelled, which made it difficult to approach the reef. After lunch and a trip in the semi-submersible we noticed that the tide had risen and it was now possible to float right over the top of the reef, but by that time it was too late to snorkel again.