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Published: February 6th 2008
The reason we're all there
I'm now a certified open water diver. They trust me to swim down to 18m without an intructor. I pity my dive buddy, I'm still terrified of anything that moves. That inclues big fish. There was an enornous fish swimming under the boat, stopped to take a few photo's then changed mind when it swam towards me. I could have eaten my arm in one go. Very impressive though.
Had faboulous time diving. After first dive when my mask flodded, continously, and I had a mild panic attack 3m down when it wouldn't clear, I was fine. Stopped to breathe and relax and let the ocean wash over me. The immense feeling of freedom of floating above the reef, thousands of fish appearing from nowhere to say hello. Have met Nemo, Dory and a turtle. Plus a sea cucumber, breathing out it's bum. Decided not to look up and see if anything was living up there.
Have achieved one more of those things you need to do before you die. Swimming with sharks. This also coincided with my desire too swim when I could see nothing. Diving at night was a really odd experience. You look around you and for the most part, you see nothing, just a massive expanse of nothing. It felt a bit like you were in space, floating away into nothing. We had torches, and glow sticks attached to our tanks, so at least I could see the instructor. Every now and then, another group of divers would appear out the gloom, with an odd green glow.
We had a look aroung the reef, spotting fish, crabs, a gigantic Moray Eel, thankfully asleep otherwise I'd have jumped out the water straight away. Just pointing your torch into the darkness, you could see lots of plankton, shrimps, (all watching us with little red eyes) and some really cute tiny fish just floating out there. Said hello to several.
Right, back to the shark. The whole experience was amazing, but what topped it off was the first and last few minutes. As we were jumping in, everyone on the boat was feeding the fish. Little fish arrived, then lots of big fish, red bass I think, up to 1m long. This obviously attracted a few predators. As soon as I jumped in and looked down, I could see 10-15 smallish sharks swiming a few metres below my fins. Really quite cute. Most were 50-150cm long, very graceful, but still enough to give me little adrenalin rush. Followed rope down to to bottom, in midst of them all. Yay! Lost track of them till we return to the boat, when I mainly saw the red bass, and a few of the little sharks. What got me out the water sharpish, was just a shaddow, about 2 metres below me. White Tip Reef Shark, must have been well over 2.5m long, and it wasn't alone. Harmless to humans, but there are more dangerous sharks down there and I challenge you to watch Jaws once and not have a fit when you see him below you.
It was very entertaining watching every end of the food chain panic. The tiny fish were hoping on the surface trying to escape everyone, the red bass were looking distinctly stressed whenever the sharks stalked by.
Slight change of pace for next few days, rainforrest, and hopefully a few bats. Then heading down the coast. Yipee, buses.
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