Cairns Trip - Mission Beach and the Great Barrier Reef

We sure saved the best for last with our Cairns trip.  After a fun few days exploring around Cairns, we headed a couple hours south to Mission Beach to go play on the Great Barrier Reef.  We had taken a big boat from Cairns to the reef before but it was incredibly disappointing - the reef was overcrowded, dead, and far from great.  I did some digging to find a better spot, and after reading the amazing reviews on Trip Advisor decided to do a day tour with Big Mama Sailing.  The family lives on the 60 foot boat and we only had to share it with a few other people.  
Setting sail from Mission Beach
      

Enjoying the ride
Boat dog
The trip out to the reef was so peaceful, we lounged on bean bags and just stared out at the gorgeous blue water.  After a couple hours we got out to the reef and suited up to go snorkelling.  We could see the reef and fish even just standing on the boat, but once we jumped in the water it was breathtaking.  We set off to explore, and after a few minutes on our own I grabbed on to Phil's legs and he paddled me around the reef.  We saw giant clams, lots of fishies, and beautiful coral.  Phil kept laughing at me because every now and then I would squeal with delight at the next sight.  

Arriving at the reef
Looking at the beautiful fish form the boat
We went back to the boat and had lunch, then moved on to another part of the reef.  The second part was covered in giant stag horns, and once again Phil paddled me around while I squealed in wonder.  Thoroughly exhausted, we went back to the boat to relax.  It was really neat to watch Phil's parents keep exploring.  The Great Barrier Reef was something they had really wanted to see and this was the perfect way to do it.  This isn't something you get to see in Utah.
That blue!
Exploring the reef
Snorkeling
Starfish and coral (picture from Big Mama Sailing)
Stunning clams (picture from Big Mama Sailing)
Colorful coral (picture from Big Mama Sailing)
Stag horn coral (picture from Big Mama Sailing)
Snorkel face
After all of the excitement out on the reef we set back towards the beach.  We all lounged with our eyes half open just enjoying the afternoon.  What a way to end a great trip, with great memories of the perfect day out on the reef.
My favourite colour



Heading back in

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