Won­der­land of reef fish seen at your leisure

A sleep­over on the Fan­tasea pon­toon of­fers a mag­i­cal ex­pe­ri­ence, writes Ali­son Cotes

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - Escape - - NEWS -

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

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