We wake up at 6am. Our dive is at 7am and we want to take the buffet breakfast before.
Jules changes his mind at the last moment and decides not to dive. We don’t really know why. I know that he was very cold during the snorkeling yesterday afternoon and that he’s afraid of the jelly fish stings. We don’t insist.
Contrary to Philippines, where the guys were preparing everything for us (including putting the BCD with the bottle on our back at the last moment), here we have to prepare our equipment and put it on the trailer. This trailer is quite convenient; we put all the (prepared) gear on it and we sit on another (covered) trailer. We enter the water near the lighthouse. The boat has a ramp for easy access. Everything is well organized.
We first drop a group of 6 at the spot where they usually see the manta rays (their cleaning stations). Then our dive master, Pedro, says that we are going to see Nemo fish during our easy current-free “orientation” dive. Isabelle and I look at each other, quite upset (we came here for the mantas!). I then tell Pedro that we don’t want such orientation dive and that we want to see the mantas. It must have been convincing since he asks the boat driver to go back to where they dropped the others. Great.
It will turn out to be one of the best dives in our lives!
We see 5 mantas swimming around 3 different cleaning stations, slowly. We spend plenty of time (probably 45′) admiring them, swimming so gracefully towards us, above us, very close by. What a incredible spectacle! Unforgettable. The girls are just speechless and very much impressed. I take a lot of pictures (and even videos, which is rather exceptional for me) while fully enjoying the show. I love these creatures! I could stay hours watching them. Pedro even takes pictures of the 4 of us in front of one of the cleaning stations. We also see an eagle ray passing by, and Isabelle sees a shark.
It was so great that I even posted a movie on our Facebook page (Gift World Tour), for the first time. I’ve also added this movie below, after the pictures.
When back on the boat, Pedro tells the girls that it was a good lesson in life: always be persistent. We wanted to see the mantas and we insisted to see them… and we saw them! We are so happy.
We come back around 10am.
Kids do a homeschooling session. I select the pictures from the ‘bursts’ that I took. I believe I took some 1,000 pictures during these dives (including 3 bursts of 100 each (of the girls).
Isabelle and Jules attend the tour that explains how the resort is sustainable and their many initiatives to make it 100% sustainable by 2020 (production of water, power generation with an hybrid solar power station, waste management, re-greening of this island…).
We eat early (noon). We are hungry (we ate early this morning) and I have another dive at 1pm. I’m the only one of the family going for this second dive of the day. It’s a bit early I think (hence too close to the lunch) but we are not very often on the Great Barrier Reef.
This second dive (lasting also 1 hour) was also great. We saw 6 turtles (very close), twice a (shy) leopard shark, a manta passing by, a very big grouper and a huge (more than 1 m long) Napoleon fish (they call it humphead Maori wrasse here). The corals at the end of the dive are very colorful.
Isabelle did snorkeling during this time (while the kids relaxed in the room). She saw many small sharks very near the shore.
As soon as we’re back to the resort, Isabelle and I attend a presentation about the turtles. It’s currently the nesting season and we want to know more in order to go and try to see a turtle laying her eggs in the beach. The girl tells us where to go and when to go: it’s at high tide (+/- 2 hours) and during the night, i.e. we must go around 5am… We decide to go and try to spot them on the beach, before our 7am dive tomorrow. The girl reminds us that only 1 baby turtle out of 1,000 eggs survives (and a turtle lays 600 eggs per season) and that a turtle always comes back to lay her eggs where she was born (even if that means traveling 15,000 km!), which amazes me.
Isabelle goes to do some snorkeling with the kids in the beautiful lagoon in front of the resort.
I then take an ice cream with Florence.
We play at the ‘Colons de Catane’ board game before the dinner. Most of the people eat at 6pm! We eat around 7:15pm. It’s quite good. We enjoy the pork medallions and the sirloin steaks.
After dinner, we attend another interesting presentation about whales and dolphins.
We are all in bed at 8:30pm! I write the story of this amazing day till 9:30pm.