Great Barrier Reef

After lots of planning and years of dreaming, I finally conquered scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef. I have never been as happy to be back on land, however, as our trip coincided with a tropical storm (cyclone watch). Dubbed the worst Pro-Dive has seen the conditions on the Reef, our trip was still a-go. But before we get out to the Reef, we have two days in the classroom and in the pool. Let me take you thru our week. We arrive in Cairns early Saturday morning to heavy rains….all day rains. Our hopes of sunbathing and swimming in the Lagoon (which was closed for repairs when Matty and I were there back in June) were flooded. So after as much sitting, reading, eating and watching the rain, other than shopping, there are movies to watch. Lee and I signed up for a learn to dive course for Open Water Diving. This would allow us to dive up to 18 meters (60 feet) certified PADI divers. The pool was a fantastic way to ease into the wonders and fears of scuba. Test after test performed in small groups with an instructor went off without a hitch; mask removal, regulator exchange, proper descending and ascending techniques, etc. With a few quizzes and a test at the end of day 2, the lot of us were packed and ready to get on the boat. Mind you, rainy weather and gusty winds still prevail. With a 6:20am departure Wednesday morning, ‘Scubapro II’ made its’ 3 hour journey to the reef. Shockingly this first day I did not feel seasick, although most everyone else felt it..or worse. I’ll spare you the chunky details. Upon arrival we suited up and went in the ocean for the first time as scuba divers! (for most at least). With choppy waters (swells, not the choppy kind we know and love at the Cape) and only 5m of visibility, I felt as if I were diving in the murky ick of Cape Cod. This was certainly not the dream I had of the GBR, but I will say that our group now has now accomplished what most (recreational) divers will never do and at the end of the 3 day at sea torture we are all comfortable in these less than desirable conditions. One day I’ll have to come back to the GBR to see it in it’s flat, sunny and endless clear water we all know it to be. (at sea) Day 1 of diving consisted of 2 dives, 12m and 10m, in which we performed all the skills we learned in the pool, below and above water; site seeing, of course, as much as the murk allowed. Upon completion of dive 2/day 1 my stomach started the oh so familiar flips and uneasiness. Bring on all the seasick pills, gravel tablets and anything else as we are here for the duration! (later I find that lying in bed immediately after dives and taking a short nap significantly helps with all hurly/twirly feelings) Day 2 was our long day with 4 dives altogether; 18m/16m/14m/14m, again with skills to prove our value as capable divers, more site seeing (sort of) and the mental horror of our first night dive. Let me say that the instructors must love the torture they put us through before this dive (tales of shark attacks, preventative circles of steal, bumping creatures in the night, on and on)… not a single diver felt comfortable going in. But what creatures come to life at night! Never mind the reef sharks, but cray fish, lobsters, worms .. funny how you see more at night because you are focused only where your light is. All divers came up satisfied and calm after this night dive; far less heart pounding and nervous than during our gear up time. I am so proud of myself for doing this dive in such bad (visibility) waters. Next time, however, any night dives will happen in clear waters. Day 3 was our chance to become Adventure Divers. Both Lee and I opted for this, as the dive was to 30m (99 feet). There are many (ship) wreck dives within this 30m limit all over the world. I may never use it, but it was a great test and fantastic to have for the future. Once at 30m we did a few things; passed around a coke bottle, cracked an egg (which stayed in tacked), tested ourselves for any nitrogen narcosis. Dive 2 and our last dive was a fun dive, we got to take a camera out…see photos! I’m happy to be back on land and out of the rainy flooding Queensland! Next dive … Pavelics/the Keys … ?

1 Response to "Great Barrier Reef"

Heather Tribe Says:

It's been flooding and raining in SA to! Wow...Cara, I am so proud of you! Diving the GBR is one of my dreams!!!

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