Wonderland of reef fish seen at your leisure
A sleepover on the Fantasea pontoon offers a magical experience, writes Alison Cotes
IT WAS an Alice-through-thelooking-glass experience, watching the huge viewing windows vibrant with flashing, floating tiny strips of silver, dancing in ever-changing random patterns as if the glass itself were alive.
We sat there enthralled for at least an hour, mesmerised by the sheer beauty of the movement. We were in the underwater observatory at the Fantasea pontoon, permanently moored at Hardy Reef, about 90 minutes northeast of the Whitsunday islands, and we were there for a very special treat, the Reef Sleep Experience. We were left on board the pontoon when the high-speed catamaran took the day-trippers back to Hamilton Island, to stay the night and have the whole kit and caboodle to ourselves, with Dave Main and his three trusty reef rats, as they’re affectionately called, to satisfy our every whim.
It sleeps only six, four in a bunk-bed cabin and two in the king-sized variety, without an ensuite bathroom but the pontoon itself is rock solid, and even during a storm that blew up in the night, my delicate constitution couldn’t detect any movement.
So I quaffed my good red wine and gobbled my excellent dinner without a qualm and woke up the next morning bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, all ready for another snorkelling trip after a beautiful breakfast.
The deal with the Reef Sleep