KANGAROO EXPLORER Volunteer (cont.)

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August 13th 2014
Published: August 25th 2014
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8/13/14 (early a.m.)

I really don’t have much to say…and I have lots to say. I am nearing the end of my trip. I took a few photos today…did two dives, one at sixish and one at eleven a.m. It was very dark at six and I had to take all photos with the flash. I was expecting a mess and almost every photo was a keeper. I did do some photo shop to lighten them a bit but I was happy with what I got. Such a surprise.

The weather has really started to blow so I imagine we will be diving here all day and tomorrow as well. We saw two turtles yesterday so maybe we will see something new. If not I will continue to take photos of the corals.

I enjoy being on the boat every day. The new volunteer is from Israel and is pretty nice, but he even thinks there is an awful lot to do, and expressed doubts about whether it was worth it. He is helpful with the
Clear WaterClear WaterClear Water

Underwater Photography books say the first key to great photos is clear water...it is true.
heavy stuff and is willing to scrub lots of pots and pans. My lower back is killing me, from leaning over the deep kitchen sink, vacuuming, and carrying the scuba tank. Which reminds me that I hurt my Achilles. I was hurrying down the stairs to the wheelhouse and as I took a step I raised the foot too high and the metal lip under the stair sliced it right on the Achilles tendon. Thank goodness it wasn’t deeper. I cried from the shock and the pain but then I was all right, except it bled freely and it is right where I must place the fin strap when diving. I have been covering it with a Band-Aid and wearing a tennis sock over it. That helps while I am in the water. After the dive I coat it in betadine and a new Band-Aid. I hope it heals quickly.

We change crew members almost every day. It is interesting. The new dive masters were doing rock, paper, or scissors to see who would dive with me today. I think it was in a good way. The guy won (or lost). Tomorrow I will dive with Camilla,
Look CloselyLook CloselyLook Closely

I can't resist taking photos of "Nemo" and there is always a baby. See him?
from Chile.

The food is wonderful. Tonight we had fresh green beans and oven fried home fries with lots of butter to brown them (and the pans were a nightmare, but Guy scrubbed one so it was easier than doing them all myself). Also leeks and chicken in some sort of delicious sauce and there were brownies with black walnuts and vanilla ice cream for dessert. Only two more tough days. The last day is usually easier for the departing vollie (volunteer). They call the hostesses hosties, too. Silly, but the girls are really nice.

I am so glad my strobes are working and I am beginning to figure out the lighting. Underwater photography is a whole new ballgame with light. I am back at square one, except maybe it is step four out of ten.

For some reason I only brought one t-shirt and two very thin long sleeved shirts with me on the boat, and only one pair of pants. So I must be creative just to stay decent. I am switching off with my long john bottoms, like black tights, sometimes. I feel sort of silly and exposed, but the cook wears the same pair of skimpy shorts every day (on her it looks good and is sensible, due to the heat in the kitchen) and the other girls wear tights. I am just too old for tights, but people seem to accept it.

Oh, yes. I also got my Kindle back. It took two days but I have it and am enjoying reading my novel. I also got my new wristlets for sea sickness back. I loaned them to a very green French teen. I could have let him keep them, if he had still needed them but he seemed to have recovered nicely. I don’t know if they really worked or it was just a placebo, but both he and his mom were grateful. Thanks goodness I have been fine since the second morning. I only wore them for the first night. They are a nice back up prevention plan.

I am getting psyched to go home. It will be nice to be back with family and my regular schedule. I guess. I will really miss the diving, since it is so much easier to dive from a boat wearing
Wobbegong SharkWobbegong SharkWobbegong Shark

I was fortunate two photograph two of these sharks on the Barrier Reef. My buddies found both of them.
a wet suit and six pounds of weight. At home I dive mostly shore dives, carrying my dive gear from the car to the entry point, wearing a dry suit and thirty pounds of weight to sink all the warm clothing I wear under the neoprene. I feel really lucky about volunteering and diving this last week. I really couldn’t afford to pay $600 every three days for the boat diving; that’s an approximate cost for a three day live aboard. I paid it once, then worked eight days for room and board and three dives a day. Being a volunteer is a lot of work, and an interesting experience. The volunteers are from all over the world and it is fun to exchange bits and pieces of our lives. Each day the guests change too so I had different dive buddies and talked with lots of different divers and underwater photographers.

Guess I will start the last load of cups and go to bed. I can sleep in a bit…not diving the early dive. I will miss seeing the sun come up, but I will do the dive on the 14th and 15th.

Giant Clam and Second GenerationGiant Clam and Second GenerationGiant Clam and Second Generation

These huge clams are captivating and host to numerous other life forms. See the brown baby clam. It was about platter size.

I am going to have a massage the last two days I am in Cairns. I can hardly wait.

And I am saddened by Robin Williams’ death. I will say a little prayer for him, or for me?

My bunk is calling me…Signing off.


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