Cairns, the city of adrenaline and home to the infamous Great Barrier Reef – a world of adventure ready for me to explore… again.
An early morning shuttle bus began my journey up the East Coast; courtesy of the Byron Easy Bus I was taken from Byron Bay to Brisbane airport. I had a couple hours to kill in the airport before flying through to Cairns.
I didn’t pay for a scenic Great Barrier Reef tour? .. oh well I’ll take it 🙂
When I arrived in Cairns, I was pleasantly greeted by my complimentary airport shuttle courtesy of Calypso Backpackers (my accommodation for my stay in Cairns).
Calypso Backpackers in Cairns is located just outside the busy city centre… in my personal opinion the “perfect distance” away. A short scenic walk along the esplanade and you are right in the action! When you arrive at Calypso you instantly feel like you have arrived into a tropical “Jamaican” rainforest. Palm trees and a beautiful swimming pool welcome you in and the chill music and bar are ready for you to begin relaxing in the paradise.
Welcome to Calypso Backpackers in paradise!
My room for the weekend – Time to get cozy in paradise
After a bit of freshening up I headed into the city, taking in the beautiful Cairns Esplanade on the way. Cairns is a bustling little city – lots of people wandering the streets, sunbathing around the lagoon and enjoying the Queensland sunshine.
My first and last stop of the evening was the Peterpans city shop to meet up with the Pans crew. Every Thursday night it’s the epic Peterpans Party Night and everyone meets at the shop to play some games and head to the Woolshed for the evening. It’s a great opportunity for travellers to make friends and network with each other over a drink… or two!
Silversonic Adventures – Agincourt Ribbon Reef
Whilst holidaying in Cairns, I had the opportunity of getting on board one of the most EPIC Great Barrier Reef boats around. Visiting 3 different dive/snorkel sites on the infamous Agincourt Ribbon Reef (voted one of the best dive sites in the WORLD), Silversonic Adventures delivered such an incredible experience.
An early morning transfer from my Cairns accommodation (Calypso Backpackers) up to Port Douglas began my experience on board Silversonic. When we finally arrived in Port Douglas, we were given our boarding passes and directed toward the boat in the marina.
Excited for the day ahead!
“When you step aboard the ultramodern Silversonic, you are set for an exhilarating day of fun, discovery and adventure in the natural wonderland of the Great Barrier Reef.”
As soon as we boarded the boat, we were pleasantly greeted by the crew and offered morning tea, biscuits and sandwiches. The introductory divers were given a safety and “what to expect” briefing for the day – you could feel the excitement within the group of first time divers!
The first dive site of the day was called Wreck Bay and it was where I did my first introductory dive of the day. As soon as we were all geared up, we headed into the water.
Silversonic crew and I about to go diving!
A few simple scuba skills later and we were off to explore the underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef. During our dive we were guided through the reef; spotting big clam shells, “Nemos” in their anemones, starfish, cuttlefish and even a REEF SHARK! As we were heading back to the boat after our first dive, the dive photographer came over to our group to snap a shot, but I couldn’t focus as a reef shark was about 2 metres away swimming overtop of the photographer! Close call 😉
Following lunch, we arrived at the second dive site of the day, which was called Turtle Bay. It was time for this explorer to bring out her camera and capture some scuba shots!
Hello little friend!
As this was my second intro dive of the day, I was given a bit more freedom underwater… I kept getting in trouble by my instructor because of my extreme “keenness” to go explore further away and deeper then my group – I think this was a sign it’s time for me to get PADI Certified and dive unguided.
The third dive site of the day was called Castle Rock. Castle Rock was even better than the first two dive sites, which was extremely hard to believe could be possible. I decided to take advantage of this site to do a bit of snorkeling.
Uh oh… who’s flippers are who’s?
The coolest part of Castle Rock is the fact you are able to swim right over the massive section of reef, being only about a metre away from the coral and marine life underneath of you.
Swimming right onto of a bed of coral reef!
One of the funniest moments I remember while snorkeling over Castle Rock was when I started following this really vibrant and colour fish (bright purple, blue, green and yellows) and I must of “scared the shit” out of it cause he/she started to leave a poop trail as he/she was swimming away from me.
The drop off – explore at your own risk 😉
As you make your way across the section of reef, you hit a massive drop off which seems to goes on forever. As I could see the scuba divers below me exploring the depth of this drop off, this is when it hit me… I was swimming on the continental shelf of the Great Barrier Reef! Such an EPIC experience that still manages to blows my mind.
Overall, putting the experience on Silversonic into words is quite difficult. It is an experience better done than read. I was extremely impressed by the quality of dive instructors, dive equipment and dive sites that Silversonic Dive Adventures utilize.
“Silversonic has access to a selection of 22 stunning and exclusive reef sites at the Agincourt Reef, which is on the outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef. Here, special reefs known as ‘ribbons’ run parallel to the Continental Shelf. Adjacent to the Coral Sea trench, these ribbon reefs are recognized as the most pristine eco-systems in the reef’s environment.”
Thanks for an amazing day Silversonic!
For someone who is a keen diver wanting to explore one of the most beautiful parts of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, this trip will not only meet, but will blow away all your expectations.
AJ Hackett Cairns – Bungee
Have you ever experienced a moment that in order to be successful you had to overcome “mind over matter?” Something that was so unnatural, and subsequently against everything your body and mind has been trained to believe in and feel comfortable with doing? This my friends, happened to me last week when I decided to conquer my fear of… Bungee Jumping.
As I anxiously wait at the Calypso Backpackers reception desk, hoping the AJ Hackett Cairns bus driver forgets to pick me up for my Bungee Jump – it hit me I was about to throw myself off a 50 metre platform where I would be rushing towards the earth… definitely not the most settling feeling.
When we arrived at the AJ Hackett jump site… I couldn’t help but look up. Up, up and up… I thought, dang that was high. Even thought I was terrified… I put on a brave face and volunteered to be the first jumper of the day! I ran up the winding steps, taking in the beautiful rainforest views along the way and before I knew it… I had made it to the top… 50 metres high! The AJ Hackett crew at the top didn’t waste anytime to get my legs strapped in, and all geared up to jump. It was time… and I couldn’t believe it.
As I looked over the edge I panicked… I couldn’t do it. This was so against everything I have been taught before. My dad’s voice kept going on in my head, “you shouldn’t be jumping off a 50 metre platform attached by your ankles Sam.” It seemed a bit twisted in my mind. I couldn’t even fathom the thought of me being able to throw myself off. It wasn’t happening – No chance. I then latched onto the closest bar behind me and held on for dear life. The crew behind me put his hand on my harness and held onto me so I wouldn’t accidentally fall off. To be honest I was terrified he was going to push me to be funny (which they aren’t allowed to do). I almost started to cry. Through the ping pong emotions that were going through my mind and body, all I could remember hearing was the crew saying, “I’m going to count down from 5, 4,” and by then a wave of courage overtook me and I was off.
Bucket List Item- CHECK!
The first couple seconds of my jump I can’t even remember… it was like my body was in shock and was overwhelmed by emotion and adrenalin… it was SICK. By the time I touched down at the lowest point I realized what had just happened and started laughing and screaming uncontrollably – this was the coolest feeling in the world. I felt like a superhero – I could do anything! The crew at the bottle rescued me in the AJ Hackett raft and I could finally relax with the satisfaction I could do anything I put my mind to. Thank you AJ Hackett Cairns for giving me that confidence back – I will be back for the BMX bike bungee 😉
My weekend in Cairns, Queensland was such a success. Big thanks to Calypso Backpackers for your exceptional hospitality, Silversonic Adventures for showing me the magnificent underwater world of the Agincourt Ribbon Reef, and AJ Hackett Cairns for causing my parents blood pressure to reach extreme high levels when they saw my photos on Facebook 😉
Until next adventure,