Monday, August 11, 2014

Ya Know, Just Scuba Diving in the Great Barrier Reef

Yet another amazing day in Australia - possibly the best one yet. Katherine and I got up early this morning and hopped on a shuttle from the hostel to the wharf in Cairns where we got on the Silverswift boat to go diving in the Great Barrier Reef!!!
The Great Barrier Reef

Me and Nigel
The photographer kissing Nigel
The weather was absolutely beautiful today (sunny and 27 degrees Celsius)but the sea was a little rough and lots of people were getting seasick on the boat though, fortunately, I wasn't one of them. It took us about an hour and 20 minutes to get to our first dive site and on the way there, the crew briefed us over morning tea. Once we arrived at the first site, we suited up in sting suits (full-body lycra suits) and wet suits and then got all our scuba gear on and we were ready to dive! Since I was doing the introductory dive, we first had to practice a few skills before we could actually dive. It was my first time diving and I didn't know what to expect but it was so cool! The hardest part for me was getting used to breathing through the mouthpiece, known as the regulator, since it feels really different from normal breathing. The pressure also makes you need to pop your ears almost constantly as you descend and it can hurt if you don't pop them. After I got used to it, though, it was so great and actually really relaxing. The coral and fish were incredible and we got to hold sea cucumbers and met the huge local Napoleon fish, named Nigel, who always comes to see the divers from the boat. It felt like we had just started when our guide signaled for us to come to the surface and we all had to get back on the boat.

Sea turtle!!!
We then toweled off and went inside for lunch as the boat took off for our next dive site. Certified divers had the option of diving at each of the three dive sites but I could only dive twice so after lunch I went snorkeling. The second dive site was even better than the first, with huge coral towers that were so colorful and intricate it didn't seem real. There were also so many amazing fish - some were rainbow, some were leopard-spotted, some were zebra-striped - I could hardly believe they were real. My favorite part of the       whole dive, though, was seeing a Green Sea Turtle right below where I was snorkeling!!! I wish I had been diving so I could've swum right down next to her.

Our last dive site was only about 10 minutes from the second one so we put all our gear on on the way and were ready to hop in when we got there. This time it was just me, the guide, and one other person and we got to swim freely and explore a little more. The guide showed us some giant clams, which are actually surprisingly gorgeous inside and if you watch them you can see them opening and closing their shell as they eat! He also showed some coral that changes color when you touch it. I can't believe how many amazing creatures there are living underwater that you wouldn't ever see without going in the water!

We got back from diving around 5:00 and walked back to the hostel (with a quick ice cream stop along the way) and I think tonight will be another night in since we're both tired from our day on the water. Maybe we'll finish the movie we started last night. :) Tomorrow we're off for our last two days of adventures before Katherine heads back to the states and I head to Perth for a job.

Take care,

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