The Great BARFier Reef

When I found out I would be moving to Australia, seeing the colourful Great Barrier Reef topped my list of things to see. However, what I didn’t expect to see was so much… well ummm… barf.

We woke up early in Cairns to board a large catamaran that would take us, plus 100 people, on an hour long trip to a pontoon, on Moore Reef. I wasn’t worried about taking a boat into the middle of the ocean because I don’t get sea sick. What I failed to take into account is that just because you don’t get sea sick doesn’t mean everyone around you won’t…

The captain came on the loudspeaker to warn everyone about the rough waves and take us through a set of rules:

  1. Don’t stand up, unless you want to go over broad.
  2. Raise your hand to be brought a barf bag.
  3. Raise your hand for your barf bag to be collected.
  4. Raise your hand for a new barf bag.

Forget safety, these rules were all about barfing, which I thought was a little overdramatic. I also thought it was weird that there was a staff of about 20 people, getting into position like they were about to run a race, making sure that they had their shoes tied, rubber gloves on, and 50 barf bags in hand. Yes, I thought that this was all very strange until the boat started moving and the the tsunami of barf started.

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All smiles before the tsunami of barf

Almost immediately the waves were so big I thought the huge catamaran was going to be thrown upside down. Even I was starting to feel a little sea sick, which was not helped by a lady near me who literally threw up 20 times in one minute. The staff were running around like turkeys with their heads cut off, trying to distribute the barf bags to all the sick people (everyone), collect the barf bags, dispose of the barf bags and then do it all again, over and over and over, all while trying not to fall overboard. I bet they were wishing to get tossed overboard; this has got to be the worst job ever! At this point we were laughing because the whole scenario was just so ridiculous.

After an hour of pure hell we made it to the pontoon. The entire boat was dead. Seriously, people were lying on the floor, not moving. Luckily, I was still alive and ready to snorkel, although I’d say 80% were not and never got up off the floor.

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We spent 4 hours at the reef where we snorkeled, went on a glass bottom boat, visited an underwater observatory, and relaxed on the pontoon. The Great Barfier Barrier Reef was honestly everything that I had imaged it to be, as we saw sea turtles, a HUGE fish, giant clams and thousands of colourful tropical fish. Unfortunately, the story of how I got there continues to overshadow any story about the actual reef.

Weirdly everyone recovered enough to eat the buffet lunch that included curry, the worst thing to serve to a bunch of people who are about to be sick on the way home! Why couldn’t they have served chicken noodle soup? As you can imagine, the trip home was even more disgusting.

35 Comments Add yours

  1. Globetrotter says:

    Hahaha, the tsunami of barf. Sounds disgusting but also like a great story. Were there a lot of fish the size of the big one in the picture? Were there any reef sharks? Thanks for posting!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jessica Lim says:

      There was only one huge fish, the one in the picture. I think he hangs out by the reef because the staff had named him. There were small sharks but sadly I didn’t see them. 🙂

      Like

  2. Ha! Ha! So funny! 🙂 I suppose you were feeling too queasy to notice where the barf bags were disposed? Hope it wasn’t thrown in the sea. Urghs!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jessica Lim says:

      I wasn’t feeling too bad so I noticed that they had special disposal bins. I would have been even more grossed out and annoyed if they were throwing them in the ocean! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Unlikely that they would pollute the ocean with their puke! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hammad Rais says:

    I suppose now you would go solo or with someone who can control his barf like you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jessica Lim says:

      Everyone in my group was fine. Haha it was basically everyone else who got sick!

      Like

  4. Willemijn says:

    Thanks for sharing a true story behind all the great pictures. I am sure many people will leave out that part.

    Reminds my of Olivers first diving trip. He took a diving course in Germany, where you can see one fish if you get really lucky. So when we went to South Africa and Oliver took his first dive I expected a very excited return. But that did not happen, he stayed close to the boat, head down. That got me worried for a second, until he looked at me with an expression that was not matching his words saying that it was sooooo cool. He just found it necessary to feed the fish while in the water.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jessica Lim says:

      Yes, it seems that this is a common experience when going to these big reefs in the middle of the ocean. However, I would have to agree with Oliver that it is sooooo cool and definitely worth it (unless of course you’re sick and can’t get off the floor haha).

      Like

  5. BARFier reef.. haha.. i like the title! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Jessica Lim says:

      Thanks, I think it’s one of my better blog post titles haha! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Legitimately laughed while reading this! Had a similar experience on a much smaller scale in Vietnam a few months ago. Why do people take these boats if they get so violently ill?? Like you I learned that although seasickness is not an issue, seeing/hearing other people puking can become one!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jessica Lim says:

      Haha it seems like a common experience. Glad you also survived your trip to tell the tale!

      Like

  7. 1944april says:

    Seasickness can be the worst feeling, and thoughts of death become attractive. :-o)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jessica Lim says:

      Totally. Those thoughts even become attractive to the innocent bystanders. 😉

      Like

  8. Oh my goodness, what an experience! Luckily you were ok to get into the ocean and see so many fantastic sights… that first picture with the giant fish is awesome! I can’t imagine how horrendous that journey would have been, but luckily you were, well, one of the lucky ones not to be affected!

    Like

    1. Jessica Lim says:

      That giant fish was honestly so amazing that it made the entire trip completely worth it. Thanks for your comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. that was a great story jesicca, mind to follow me back ? thankyou

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jessica Lim says:

      Thanks, and absolutely!

      Like

      1. yeaaaah im waiting for that keep writing keep inspiring

        Like

  10. This is hilarious! Great story too. That big fish looks like a Napoleon or Humphead Wrasse – a fish that’s been listed as endangered. I used to snorkel a lot here in the Philippines and only saw it once.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jessica Lim says:

      Wow, I had no idea what the name of the fish was and that it was endangered. I feel even more honoured to have swam with it now. Thanks for that info!

      Like

  11. Ha ha, I love it! I mean, I don’t love barf, but I love this story because I’ve been there. I don’t get seasick, either – well, I didn’t until the boat ride to go SCUBA diving at the Great Barrier Reef. I’d never felt so sick in all of my life!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jessica Lim says:

      Haha so glad that I’m not alone in this experience!

      Like

  12. LOL, really funny post. I love the picture with the huge fish! I have never seen anything like it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jessica Lim says:

      Thanks! It was my first time seeing that fish also. Apparently it is called a Napoleon fish. 🙂

      Like

  13. Stefan says:

    Oh man – snorkelling there must have been such a paradise – the variety of sea life – it’s a dream of ours. We scuba dived in the Komodo National Park and that was our highlight – but the things we’ve heard about the GBR… top Bucket List place for us 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jessica Lim says:

      I hope you make it there one day. Once I was at the reef it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. It’s a very special place. 🙂

      Like

  14. Oh my god, reading this made me feel so queasy! I don’t think o could handle being near so many people barfing. Your photos look like it was worth it though! Was the water cold?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jessica Lim says:

      I will honestly never take a big boat out there again because it can carry too many sick people haha. The water was a bit cold because we were there in the Fall, but wasn’t uncomfortable at all.

      Like

  15. arzotravels says:

    Wow, the pictures are stunning. I wish I could make it there anytime soon. Try to think about the positive experiences and forget about the bad ones 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jessica Lim says:

      Thank you! This was a great experience but the trip there was just so crazy that I had to tell it. 🙂

      Like

  16. Well I plan on doing something similar when I get up North as I’m down in Victoria at the moment. I may have to save my arse off and charter my own boat as I don’t get sea sick either but seeing all around me barfing like there’s some airborne infection about I think will be my limit.

    Thanks for an amusing if slightly stomach curdling read!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Jessica Lim says:

    I’ve been telling people to charter a helicopter if they can because they actually do that. Haha but unfortunately for now I’ll have to suffer on the boat with all the sick people. Thanks for reading!

    Like

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