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Jan 08

Family Day On Moore Reef On The Sunlover Pontoon… The Only One With A Watersilde!!!

Posted on January 8, 2018 by

Sunlover Pontoon – The Only One With A Waterslide – Photo courtesy of Sunlover Cruises

My family and I were lucky enough to recently be guests aboard Sunlover Cruises Moore Reef Pontoon – yes the only one with a waterslide!

This was my two young nephews’ first trip to the reef so I was crossing my fingers for a great day and I wasn’t disappointed.

My youngest nephew Oscar smiling all the way to the pontoon, very eager to try the waterslide – Photo Tanith Barrie

We checked in at the Sunlover Cruises counter inside the Reef Fleet Terminal in Cairns at 8:30 am and the staff were great – handling our disorganised entry with ease as we juggled kids and payments. Once presented with our boarding pass and down at the boat, we were welcomed on board with a group photo.

The catamaran is certainly well set out with plenty of room around the entry way and bar area (and free newspapers on hand!).  We headed upstairs to the rear deck as my son’s friend is a bit prone to seasickness and we were not quite sure how the 2 younger kids would be on their first reef trip.  Heading out of the leads however, it was clear we had picked the best day ever with next to no winds and nearly flat seas.  Even my son’s friend was doing well and the younger two were stoked.

Sunlover Boat – Photo Courtesy of Sunlover Cruises

The cruise along East Trinity and Yarrabah is a beautiful one and today we kicked off our marine life sightings with a pod of dolphins passing us and putting on a bit of a show.  A white bellied sea eagle followed us nearly all the way to Fitzroy Island and it was hard for the kids to choose between the sea life outside and the amazing marine presentation on offer inside.  In the end the inside presentation (and cool air-con) won over and off they all went to find out a bit more about some of the fish and corals we would see at Moore Reef.

After a brief stop at Fitzroy Island, we soon arrived at the pontoon and right there was a huge sea turtle feeding on the moon jelly fish that were out and about today.  These jellies are completely harmless and a great feed for the turtle who ignored us and continued scoffing his lunch.

The disembarking didn’t take too long and we were soon set up on the pontoon with plenty of space to begin getting our snorkel gear on.  There were life jackets on hand to provide buoyancy and confidence for the first timers and while my youngest nephew made use of the enclosed kid’s pool, we made our way down to the spacious platform where we could sit comfortably on the bench seat to put on our gear and get into the water.  I was impressed to see 3 life guards on hand keeping an eye on those in the water.

Heaps of space on the pontoon that day

As soon as we got in, Wally the local Maori Wrasse was there to say hi and get a picture with us (he is huge so this took a bit of bravery for my first time snorkeler nephew!)  Close by the pontoon are several rest stations positioned to see the corals below.  This is ideal as it is not a far swim and was a great way to get the kids looking and talking about what they were seeing – Giant Clams, Unicorn Fish, Emperors, Long Toms and Parrot Fish were all right there.  While the kids left the snorkelling to join the first glass bottom boat tour, I went for a snorkel across the bommie and closer to the wall.

I am happy to say I was really impressed to see the condition of the reef here.  There was plenty of colour, huge sea anemone beds, large boulder corals and giant clams.  The most impressive part however was the Black Tip Reef shark that greeted me at the other side of the bommie and let me tag along across the reef and into the shallower waters.  All up, we were lucky enough to see 3 reef sharks this day and the kids were stoked.

One perfect day to be on the Great Barrier Reef, couldn’t have been better – Photo Tanith Barrie

Lunch was a good time to take a break and then, after the semi-submersible tour, the kids hit the slide.  The life guards were great and super encouraging to let the littlies have a go.  It was nice to kick back in the bean bags upstairs and watch the boys have a great time.

Healthy salads – part of the lunch

I don’t know how they fit it in but they all managed to have another snorkel, more slides and soon it was time to pack up and get back on board the boat to head for home.  Thanks goodness the interior decks are comfortable and roomy because there were 2 little boys and 2 big boys crashed out asleep for the trip home.

That smile says it all… “Thanks Aunty Tan I had so much fun today”. This is Angus, my second nephew

A great day on the reef for families with kids of all ages – and a day I look forward to enjoying again.

Author: Tanith Barrie (Aunty Tan) – Tropical North Queensland & Great Barrier Reef Destination Specialists

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