A bucket list item for many people, snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef has to be one of the most amazing things I have ever done. There are lots of ways to do it, however going on a specific day trip from Cairns is one of the best ways to make sure you go to the clearest spots and get plenty of time to swim around.

While in Cairns I went on a one day snorkelling trip with Down Under Dive. Leaving at 7.30am in the morning you receive some general safety instructions onboard the boat that were very useful for first time snorkelers like myself, before heading upstairs on the boat to get fitted for your flippers. After a very beautiful hour and a half boat ride out to the ocean you arrive at your first reef location. During our trip we had five hours of snorkelling time over two locations which at first seemed like quite a long time. However as soon as I got into the water and started swimming around I found this the perfect amount of time.


Being underwater and able to swim the Great Barrier Reef at my own leisure and pace was really wonderful, while on the tour we visited both Norman Reef and Saxon Reef. Each were equally beautiful and absolutely packed with fish and reef, I was lucky enough to see a sting ray sitting on the seabed while others saw turtles and even a reef shark. 

For first time snorkelers like myself it can be quite daunting to dip your head into the water as this is instinctively an unnatural thing to do if you want to be able to keep breathing. On first entering the water and trying it out I found myself not able to catch my breath and struggling. I asked the boat crew for a noodle (a piece of foam that helps keep you afloat) and timed myself to breathe in and out for four seconds each which really helped. Once I'd mastered this I did not want to come out of the water and absolutely loved my time swimming around. 



Part of the Dive Under Dive tour is the option to have an introductory scuba diving lesson, however being asthmatic this isn't allowed without a medical professional onboard and specific medical clearance beforehand. While this is a shame I can see why it is done given the issues I had with breathing when first attempting to snorkel. There was also the option of a helicopter ride over the reef, however with this lasting only 10 minutes and costing $179 I didn't feel it was worth it. During stinger season you will be given a complimentary stinger suit, being bright blue may not be the most attractive, however sure beats the alternative of risking being stung which several girls on our boat seemed to think was a worthwhile risk. 




One of the other options while aboard the boat is to rent a camera which will allow you to take photos and film underwater. The camera was an Olympus and cost $55 for the day if you had your own memory card. If like me you really want to document your trip I would highly recommend this as the quality of the footage was amazing as you can see from these photos, you can check out my video from the trip in my week one travel vlog below: