Diving on the Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef Travel Blog

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We just spent three glorious days diving on the Great Barrier Reef, living aboard the Reef Encounter. John had planned to take his Open water course, but a cold he had picked up scuttled those plans so he went snorkling instead. Lydia and I had a bonanza of diving - we did ten dives in our three days. It was the most luxurious way of diving, the water was so warm I didn't bother with a wet-suit, and the staff on the boat kept our tanks full and the scuba outfit set up, so we could just strap it on and set off the boat. When the water was choppy they even lowered us and picked us up using the boat lift. Except for our two night dives, we did all the dives by ourselves, the first time I have ever dived without a guide. ent surprisingly well, despite not diving for a year we had our bouyancy and diving skills fairly polished and we even navigated fairly well, especially on our second and third dives of a site.

I certainly felt more competent under the water than I ever had before, and the sting was taken off by being able to hop into the hot tub afterwards.

As well as being easy, the diving was fantastic. We saw giant clams (with flesh that glowed and sparkled in colours you would not expect), green sea turtles, white-tipped reef sharks, lion fish, clown fish and sting rays, not to mention the innumerable tropical reef fish in their spectacular colours, and the enchanting corals. Most spectacular to me were the two night dives (my first under the ocean at night). Being under the water at night must be one of the most alien experiences possible. Gravity and direction are weakened, replaced instead by the pressure of water in every direction. Your senses are distorted, sound becomes bizzare and light is absent, save for the sparks of bioluminescence created by your every movement.

In the first the reef seemed abandened, with the small fish almost absent. A glance at the corals instead revealed a plethera of tiny orange lights, with our torchlight reflecting back on the eyes of the delicate cleaner shrimp. Our second night dive explained the absence of small fish in the first. We jumped into the water only to be surrounded by a pack of hundreds of Giant Travelli, each around a metre long and armed with savage jaws. They prowled around the reef like a hunting wolf pack, taking full advantage of our weak torch light to seize any small fish that wandered out from safety, with half a dozen Giant Travelli darting in from all directions whenever we spotted a fish. The swarm of GTs in hunt were much more intimidating than the solitary sharks we saw. As a final pleasure, at the very end we came across a sleeping green turtle, resting on the reef floor.

We spent around five hours under the sea during our three day stay, with the rest of the trip being spent with pleasant company. We talked to John and Gavin, our new chatty and cheerful British friend, spent time in the hot tub, watched the bottle-nose dolphins follow our boat, took abundant naps and played board games, a most relaxing interlude to our hectic travels.

jtumminia says:
Who is that hot guy in the speedos? Oh wait - its me!
Posted on: Feb 04, 2009
rotorhead85 says:
First time I ever snorkeled was here making the few times since pretty boring. Awesome blog, thanks!
Posted on: Jan 30, 2009
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Great Barrier Reef
photo by: Makkattack