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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.