Arguably the best diving in the world
Trip Start Oct 14, 2007
92Trip End Jul 25, 2008
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We got a deal on a sail boat, Rum Runner, for 3 days with 7 dives on different parts of the reef. There was 10 passengers and 4 crew members on our sailing boat but due to sea sickness, 2 of the girls on the boat transferred onto a different one to go back to Cairns (a waste of $220!) making the boat more roomy for us! I nearly succumbed to sea sickness myself at one point when the sea became real choppy but managed to get over it and not let it ruin the amazing diving experiences we were about to have. At one point even Nick looked a little green and he has an iron stomach!
The weirdest thing about being on the boat was watching the thunderstorms over Cairns and having beautiful blistering sunshine on the boat
Our dive instructor Jason and divemaster Terry, offered to take a dive camera down on the dives for us and take photos of the marine life and us (for an additional cost of course) and load the photos onto a CD for us to take away. As we anchored for the first dive and started to get our dive gear on, a school of dolphins swam up to and around the boat leaping out of the water. Everyone dumped their gear, grabbed their mask and snorkel and jumped off the boat but the dolphins were already swimming away. If only that had been 10 minutes later when we were in the water but it was still so cool to have them swim right up to the boat. We were sure then that we would see some amazing stuff and nearly bit Jason's hand off with the offer of the CD!
Once in the water, our dive skills came flooding back that we had learnt in Thailand and we were off exploring the reef. The colours of the coral and reef itself were amazing. Most of the reef and marine life was actually the best between 5 and 10 metres down, meaning the colours were stronger and more vivid then if we were further down. The photos don't really do it justice (like most things!). At one point we had about 20 sharks surrounding us and our divemasters. A little scary at first since all you can think is IT'S A BLOODY SHARK!!!! But once you realise it doesn't want to actually eat you and prefers a vegetarian option for lunch, you relax and just stare in awe at these fascinating creatures but I did use a bit much of my air up at this point! These were black tipped reef sharks and some were as big as 2 metres long. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.
After the first dive being guided we were able to explore the reef with our divemasters close by to take photos, but it actually felt like we were the ones in control and we could dictate what we saw and where we went. Something obviously you don't get on the courses. It was the first time we could actually explore on our own (except for our camera man!). We saw on every dive very colourful fishes and we kept seeing turtles lazily floating by
On the first night we were able to go on a night dive. Sadly there are no pics for it since you have to swim with torches and catch fishes and other things unawares to catch a glimpse at them. We saw lots of fishes and some very big ones too. We also did see a very cool lobster. He was massive and you could see the bright colours of him under the lights. He was scuttling away from us but everytime you shine the torch on him and any other marine life, they tend to freeze for a second stunned so you can get a real good look at them.
Enjoy the photos, I hope this gives you a little glimpse of some of the things we saw. There is a very scary picture of Nick with his mask and regulator out of his mouth underwater, that's one of my favourite!
The food on the boat was amazing. Our hosts really looked after us. The American family onboard also supplied a constant stream of sweets and chocolate, so we were really spoilt. The one thing which was a bit of a problem was trying to sleep
The whole thing was such an amazing experience. I heartily recommend diving to everyone. The Great Barrier Reef is amazing and arguably the best dive site in the world. My description is rubbish in comparison to actually being there.
After getting back onto terra firma, we got back to our hostel and slept like babies. I did have another run in with a cockroach (why are they attracted to me!!!) as it managed to get onto Nick's bed where I was sat at the time and crawl over my leg. Needless to say I shrieked like a girl and jumped about 10 feet in the air landing on my knees and flying across the room. Nick to the rescue again but after that we slept with one eye open...