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Our Day at the Reef with Fantasea

07 June 2012

We had one of the best days of my life on Hardy Reef with Fantasea.

After weeks of rain, choppy ocean, clouds, and low visibility,
we boarded the boat with full sunshine above our heads, and a condition report promising calm waters.
The amazing thing about Fantasea is that all tickets are fully refundable, and fully transferable. 
We talked to their staff several times in the days leading up to our tour, and they were happy to discuss weather options and swap our tour date if there was a different day with better conditions.

As it turned out, we got amazing, once a year conditions, that resulted in a really special experience at the reef.  I'll get to that in minute.

The moment we stepped aboard the Fantasea boat, I knew it was going to be great.  The customer to staff ratio was about 5:1, and all the staff were super friendly and attentive.  They spent the two hour boat ride educating us on the reef, orienting us to the pontoon and where to snorkel, and going through trainings for scuba divers.

Thankfully, the water was calm, providing a fairly smooth ride out to the reef.  I took Travacalm and ginger tablets before we took off as a precautionary measure.

So basically I didn't have to use the barf bag...thank God!

Once we stepped aboard Fantasea's pontoon, the largest on the Great Barrier Reef, we changed into swim suits, put on colorful stinger suits, grabbed our gear, and away we went.

Superhero Seaman in his Stinger suit
Very cold after too much time in the water...and clearly I wore my mask too tight!
BFF representin'
  I was absolutely blown away by the reef.  The bright sunshine and good visibility allowed us to see the colors of the coral and fish in full vibrancy.  Everywhere I looked, coral, fish, and sea life danced across my eyes, fighting for my attention.  The magnitude of the reef is simply awe inspiring.  In fact, if you combined 70 million football fields, it still wouldn't be as large as the Great Barrier Reef.  The fish were not afraid of us, so you could peacefully drift, letting the current carry you so close to the fish and coral that you could reach out and touch them {but we didn't, because that's a big no-no.}

The buoys and ropes help you to navigate the Reef

The pictures don't even come close to doing it justice, but I'm so glad I took them anyway.

This bad boy was humongous, easily 4ft wide and 3ft tall!
Giant clam
Parrot fish

To top off the day, as we were leaving the reef, the boat was moving very slowly.  The captain announced that the super low tide resulted in a very special phenomenon, only seen about once per year.  You see, Hardy Reef is circular in shape, so it forms a lagoon.  The tide was lower inside the lagoon than in the rest of the ocean, which created a reef waterfall, where water from the ocean rushed over the reef and into the lagoon.

Remember, this is in the middle of the ocean, almost 50 nautical miles from shore!

completely unedited, all photos copyright of Emmy June

Fantasea, you blew away my expectations.  
Thank you so much for an amazing time on the Great Barrier Reef.

Fantasea offered me discounted tickets in exchange for this review.  
As always, the views and opinions expressed are purely my own.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. This looks absolutely incredible! What an experience ...

    Gorgeous pics and you guys were so lucky to have such a clear day!

  3. Wow!! What an awe-inspiring day! It looks, and sounds, like your trip is off to a fantastic start!

  4. Ok, so that reef waterfall is insane. SOO cool. I'd love to dive the great barrier reef someday! There are so pretty cool reefs here in Dominica, but none with that magnitude.

  5. That is SOO awesome!! I would love to see that. Beautiful pictures. Can't wait to see more!!


  6. your pictures are just beautiful. i'm so glad you had a picture perfect day. i hope to see australia someday. it just seems like a wonderful place to be.

  7. what an absolutely BREATHTAKING phenomenon!!!! i am so happy you got to experience that! it looks like it was an unforgettable i don't even know what to say because this is one of those things that is just bigger than us, bigger than words. crazy!

    although, since i am innundated with Finding Nemo playing on a constant loop in my backseat, all i could think of when i first started readong was "did you see nemo down there??"


    i need to get out more.

  8. Absolutely amazing! Looks like you had a blast.

  9. How amazing!! Thanks for sharing and for giving me a potential future company to explore the GBR with, if I make it out there at some point whilst living in the Pacific.
    Did you take even more pics than you shared? The clam was awesome!
    It looks like you're having a blast and can't wait to see more =)

  10. Wow - that looks unbelievably gorgeous! So jealous of you and your travels :)

  11. What great timing for you to see the reef waterfall! Looks amazing!

  12. Wowww this looks so much fun! I'm glad blogging could bring you a discounted adventure- that rocks! That waterfall looks amazing and that giant clam- what?! I've always been a little fearful of scuba diving because fish kinda freak me out, but I definitely want to try it now!

  13. NO WAY! Seriously, that looks so, so cool! I cannot believe that giant clam. And that huge fish?!? Awesome.

  14. As fearful as I am of the ocean - I desperately want to visit the Great Barrier Reef. Your pictures are amazing - and I can just imagine that they don't do this place justice. I am so glad you were able to experience. And discounted - what up with that?! Smart thinking.

  15. Amazing photos, that is a seriously gigantic fish! Whoa!

  16. So. Jealous. How freaking lucky are you?!? Your pictures of the reef waterfall are uuuhhhmazing!!! I have never been scuba diving but have always wanted to!! I'm gonna have to get the boyfriend to look at your pics so he will be as convinced as me to do it sooner rather than later! I am soooo happy you are finding time to blog your adventures with us!!! Yay!! p.s. Your mask line is pretty dang sexy! I bet the hubs was diggin it.

  17. That is SO COOL! It's bigger than 70+ million football fields?! That is massive! I love that you got to see the reef waterfall. Seriously, it was magical moment fate!

  18. How amazing!! What an experience ... the pics are really nice…thanks for sharing your Great Barrier Reef experiences


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