07.06.2016 - 07.08.2016
Wednesday morning we woke up a little early so that we would have time for a small breakfast and to make sure we were packed for the day. Our check in time at the boat terminal was 0720 so we were out the door by 6:45am. We checked and made our way down the pier to the boat, the MV Evolution. The Evolution is a really big catamaran style boat with 3 levels. We find a large table with room for our gear and start filling out paperwork for the snorkeling and the dives. Standard stuff about getting eating by sharks and whatnot. We then get fitted for our snorkeling gear and stow it in an outdoor locker. Before we know it the boat is heading out.
Dive Boat Website
The trip out to the reef takes a little over an hour and the waves in the open sea were about 2 feet. When we arrive at the reef it is an amazing site. You can see the reef just under the surface and it is crazy with color.
We all dress out in our snorkeling gear and hit the water.
There is so much diversity to the reef it is hard to describe. Tons of fish swimming about, coral heads with all sorts of different types of coral, it is all just amazing. Before too long Patrick and I are called to our dive group for our dive. The dive was a ton of fun, we were able to see a reef shark and so much more sea life. After the dive we continued to snorkel and spent about 2 hours at this site.
After everybody is back on board (they do a very thorough check) we head over to the next site. While motoring over we enjoy the buffet lunch. For a lunch at sea it was pretty good! We arrive at the second site and it is even better than the first. The reef area is larger and more colorful. Patrick elects to do a second dive and has a blast. The rest of us snorkel about for close to 2 hours before it is time to head in.
We arrive back at harbor around 5:00pm and are all pretty wiped out. We elect to do a drive through at Macca’s and everybody calls it an early night back at the hotel.
Thursday is our last full day and we decide to drive up to Port Douglas (about 30 minutes northwest of Palm Cove). The drive follows the coast line and is really scenic. We souvenir shop in Port Douglas and enjoy coffees and drinks while walking around all the shops.
We had some road snacks and had lunch at a food truck near Palm Cove. The kids are pretty much beached out so the two young ones decide to swim in the hotel pool. Patrick decides to get his hair cut in Australia and visits the stylist at the hotel. Mary and I enjoy some Australian beers while sitting in the breeze overlooking the esplanade and the beach.
Our last night’s dinner is at Wok On and we were not disappointed. Dinner was great and we followed up with ice cream while strolling the beach. We head back to our rooms to pack and try to get some sleep as we are waking up early to drive to the airport for our flight to Tokyo.
Friday morning comes quickly and we are out the door by 3:45am. On the drive to the airport we see tons of kangaroos lurking just along the shoulder of the highway. Kinda spooky looking. We arrive at the airport, drop off the rental and check in for our flight. We are using Qantas again to fly to Brisbane and then connect to the Qantas flight from Brisbane to Tokyo’s Narita airport.
All the Qantas staff are again very helpful and we have our seats in no time. It was sad to be leaving such a beautiful place but exciting to be heading to Japan. We enjoyed breakfast on the flight and arrive in Brisbane right on time. We make the transfer to the international terminal and upon check in we get our seats to Tokyo.
Up until this point we had not made any hotel arrangements in Tokyo. We did not want to get too far in front of ourselves with accommodations since we did not know how the flights would work out. We knew Tokyo had plenty of places available so we had decided to wait until we were sure we would make the flight there. Once we had our seats we started looking for an apartment in the Tokyo area. Looking for an immediate booking we found a three bedroom apartment in the Yokohama area that, although a little south of where we were wanting to stay, had everything we wanted. We sent in the booking request and boarded our flight without receiving the confirmation. Plan B was a hotel room. Always have a plan B or C or D.
The flight to Tokyo was about 8.5 hours and was great. We had plenty of space and the cabin crew spoiled us! Between the meals, movies and naps we were arriving in Tokyo before we knew it!