Ocean spirit at great barrier reef, Australia

Ocean Spirit

Ocean Spirit

An ocean spirit tour to great barrier reef is a must if you come to Australia, which is the worlds largest coral reef system. But be prepared, as it is a long and tiring day out with children.

Our day started very early in the morning, with the pick up of the tour company from our hotel for ocean spirit. However, we found out that, we were not the only one to be picked, and the bus that took us, would also visit another dozen of hotels and look for the other attendees of the tour. So it took us more than an hour to reach the harbor-not a nice start. Than we queued at the harbor for check-in, which meant another half hour or so waiting everyone to come. Finally, it was about 10:00 when we started our journey.

Looks like a wonderful boat

Looks like a wonderful boat

Our boat was a nice, big, white catamaran with enough space inside and outside. We preferred to settle down on the top deck, at a rather secluded corner to keep away from the wind.

Michaelmas Cay

Michaelmas Cay

It took us another 2 hours to reach our destination-Michaelmas Cay. So it was already noon and everyone was already tired when we finally got there. After listening the safety information in the most attractive and fun way, presented by the staff, we were told that we had 3 hours there, to eat, swim, snorkeling, explore the coral reef with the glass boat and enjoy the sand.

First we decided to get off on the beach, for our son to swim and for us to enjoy the birds and the sand.

Lovely beach?

Lovely beach?

No need to be jealous of me. First of all, there was a rope around a very small part of the beach, and it was forbidden to go beyond, in order to protect the wildlife, especially the birds. Secondly, when I say “the birds” I mean an Alfred Hitchcock film-like birds, zillions of them shouting all the time, but more importantly smelling really really awful.

No passing the rope

No passing the rope

You should hear them and smell them

You should hear them and smell them

So it took our son just a few minutes to swim and we returned to our boat immediately to have lunch. The lunch was not bad. Sushi for our sushi-monster-son, nice seafood and vegetables. After lunch, we took the glass boat, where about 50 people sit in a boat-let me say a semi-sub-marine, where the majority of the boat is under the sea. A bit depressive if you are claustrophobic, but you can sit at the very back of the boat and have some fresh air over there.

Coral Reef

Coral Reef

This is a really enjoyable experience for the children. You can both explore the underwater beauty and stay dry at the same time. Moreover, there is a guide, telling about the fish and the reef and you can search for Nemo, for sure you will find him.

Our return to our hotel was about another 4 hours, 2 hours on boat, 1 hour for everyone to find the right bus back and 1 hour to the hotel, with many stops on the way. So as I said, it is a nice experience, but there should be an easier or leaner way to do this tour. The main activity of the day takes just a few hours, but it takes all day, so make sure to take enough books or whatever to kill time on the way.

Feeding the fish

Feeding the fish

 

So Mediterenian, so France

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Monaco

A few years ago, on a very nice weekend in a spring time, we made a trip to the South of France with our son. Well, let’s say a long weekend. The sea was so Mediteranian, the food were so French, the blue was so deep, the sky was so clear, we were so happy, our son was so happy.

Actually, everything started in Italy, arriving to Milano airport late in the evening. Going to a hotel. In the morning, we went back to the airport to rent our car. Once more I have tried to rent an Alfa Romeo 159, and received a Mercedes instead.

Driving souther, passing the border, our first stop was Monaco. Unfortunately, with our son we could not get into to any Casinos, but enjoyed a drive on Formula 1 Route and a fine lunch in Cafe de Paris.

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Hop on hop of in Cannes

In mid May, a week after Monaco Grand Prix and a week before Cannes film festival, it was really crowded around but was a perfect time to do this trip.

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daddy, all time driver

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Grasse, learning how parfumes are made

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St Paul

St. Tropez, St. Paul, Eze, Nice, Cannes… Colorful people, good food, lovely scenery. Instead of spending time in center of Nice, which did not look so fascinating to us, we prefered to go to little villages around. St Paul and Eze were by far the best of all. Although parking, leaving our car behind and walking uphill is a bit tirding for our son (and for us). St Tropez was a dissappointment, probably because we did not know so well, where to eat, where to go and where the high society were.

But leaving all these places on one side, I think we all loved Menton most:-). Is our preferances strange? What we look in a tiny town is: convenient parking close to nice restaurants, preferably with a nice view, shopping street within easy walking and warm people. Menton had them all, parked our car by the sea, walked on the shopping street, bought our melon ice screams, and felt the warm people felt like more Italian than French.

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Residues of our son’s pizza, made our desperate waiter smile a bit.

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Eze. Sooo cute town, with lanes to loose yourself, tiny shops and a surprize in top of the hill, a tropic paradise letting you enjoying the view of deep blue Medditeranian sea. Of course whenever you come to such a place, someone asks you to take their photograph. Eze is not an exception.

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Photo of the photographer daddy

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Eze

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