Diving the Great Barrier Reef

I gained my divers license in Ko Toa, Thailand. I didn’t think much of it until I reached Cairns, Australia, a place that is sold on the Barrier Reef. I was there, so I had to dive the Reef right? It was the divers mecca, so we had to get the dives in our log books. It had about a year since I’d done any diving. We booked our trip, which wasn’t cheap and then got hammered drunk at Gilligan’s Hostel where we were staying.

We were picked up nice and early and taken to our boat. We boarded the boat and found a seat, my seasickness quickly kicked in. A professional diver approached us and tried to sell us a guided dive for $10 extra. Because we had attained our scuba diving licenses, we didn’t need supervising. We told the diver that we were capable of diving ourselves. He persisted with the offer but we showed no mercy.

The boat arrived at the Reef dive site and we geared up for the first of two dives. I didn’t remember how to put my gear on so I watched and copied others. I jumped in the sea and we descended to the bottom, we followed the guide for the first bit and then went our own way.

It was hard work. I wasn’t use to it but I quickly picked things up. We swam through corals and beautifully preserved sea life. Fish of all colours and sizes bypassed me. The dive lasted about forty-five minutes and we were back on the boat. Then it was another hour to the next dive site.

A buffet was included in the trip so I made the most of that and while I was eating my salmon I noticed a huge whale diving near the boat. I gasped with a ‘fucking hell’ before the whole boat surrounded me while I tried to eat my lunch. The whale diving was a majestic moment.

We eventually stopped at the next dive site and went through the gruelling regime of putting on the equipment. At this point one of the professional divers tried to convince us to pay for a guided dive again. Not interested.

We dived in and went our own way. We loved it, pointing at the surroundings and the weird looking fish you find. We swam through the rocks and chased small sharks. The time went fast and before we knew it, our air was running out.

We ascended to the surface and found ourselves about 500 metres away from the boat. They had to send another boat out to collect us. We laughed about it; it was fun and a great way to enjoy the Reef. We put our licenses to use and did something most people dream about.

I have never experienced a better way to see Mother Nature’s phenomenal creativity. That’s a big tick off the bucket list.

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