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Published: October 7th 2009
This photo was taken in shallow water, so it shows the colours better
We have just returned from a two day dive cruise on the Great Barrier Reef. Neither words nor pictures can do it justice - amazing wouldn't even begin to describe it. The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest living organism, is visible from space, and is one of the Natural Wonders of the World. We were able to do six dives while on our cruise and we also enrolled in an Adventure Diver specialty program, where we took courses in deep diving, night diving, and navigation. The day after we arrived in Queensland, we took a two and a half hour journey to the Outer Reef. The water was beautiful and calm, and we spotted a manta flapping it's wings on the surface along the way. We arrived at the Kangaroo Explorer and checked into a wonderful and surprisingly large cabin. After lunch, we geared up and were ready for our first dive on the reef! The divemaster, Tom, took all the certified divers out for the first dive just to make sure everyone would be okay. The reef was incredible! Not too long into the dive, some of the others had sucked their air dry, so Tom brought them
back to the surface and then came back to continue the dive with ourselves and one other diver. At one point he picked up a large Pineapple Sea Cucumber and tossed it to us through the water. Awhile later, Andrew started to get low on air and before we knew it Tom had his dive gear off and he and Andrew did a mid-dive gear swap 10 metres below the surface. From here, we continued the dive and slowly made our way back to the boat. Back on board, it was time to move to a new dive site. We had afternoon tea and then jumped back into the water at Milln Reef, where we completed our first unguided ocean dive. We saw our first blue-spotted sting ray on the reef, but we ended up seeing more later. Our navigation was a little off, but we found our way back to the boat. I think we could smell dinner from under the sea! After a delicious meal, we had a lecture and briefing about night diving. We would be diving the same site as the previous dive so we would be familiar with it. There was a total of six
divers (ourselvles included) plus the divemaster partaking in the advanced courses. Once we all understood the procedures and the dive plan we were issued waterproof flashlights and began our dive. Only hours ago it had been wonderfully clear blue water, but now we were jumping into a dark abyss. We were both excited, though a little anxious as we got in, but once we began our descent the calming effects of the underwater world neutralized these feelings. Following the flashing red beacon on our divemaster's tank, we swam through the darkness, fish and coral illuminating beneath our lights. Half way through the dive, we all sat on the sea floor and turned our lights off. We swirled the water around with our hands and a bioluminescent glow speckled the sea surrounding us like fireflies in the night. We all made it back to the boat safe and sound and later we were gently rocked into a deep sleep as we spent the night on the reef.
In the morning, we were up before day break and in the water at 6:00 am for our first dive of the day. We went to a depth of about 25 metres for
our deep dive course, but we have dived this deep before so it was just like a fun dive for us. From the bottom, Andrew spotted a large sea turtle near the surface and also his first confirmed shark sighting! They were far away, and I managed to miss them both. Later, we found a large lionfish hiding behind a rock. What a way to wake up in the morning!! We were back on board for the 7:00 am breakfast, and back in the water shortly thereafter. We were issued a compass and practiced some underwater navigation skills before heading out for the rest of our dive, where we used natural navigation to find our way around. Paying close attention to our surroundings and taking our time to look around, we noticed many little things we had overlooked on our previous dives, including tube worms that suck themselves back into the coral as you swim by. We had no trouble finding our way back to the boat, and successully passed our final course! After relaxing a while on the sundeck it was time for our final dive. Six dives sounded like so many before we started, but they went so
quickly! It was hard to believe it was our final dive. We jumped in the water at "The Three Sisters." As soon as we descended and made our way over to the reef, we spotted a white-tip reef shark relaxing in the sand at the bottom. It was fairly small, about a metre, and swam away when it saw us coming, but it was a good sighting! We thought we would have seen more sharks on the reef, so we were happy to get this in before we left. The coral at this site was beautiful, as was the marine life to go with it. We circled around the pinnacle, spiralling our way slowly towards the surface. After our dive, we had a few hours to relax on board and take in the awesome beauty of the reef. The boat ride back to shore was a bumpy one this time, but we saw a dolphin jumping in the waves.
As we said before, we can't even begin to describe how amazing this experience was. This was also the reason we decided to learn to dive a year and a half ago, but we have had many great experiences since.
Inspired by the photos our divemaster took in Thailand, we decided to purchase our own dive case for our camera, so all of these pictures were taken by us. Underwater photography is quite difficult, but we think the photos turned out not too bad for our first attempt! We hope you all enjoy!!
Cass & Andrew
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