Meeting up with sharks, turtles and stingrays
Cairns Travel Blog› entry 41 of 99 › view all entries
We had an uneventful flight up to Cairns and settled into our Hostal. Despite some immediate objections from Ana in regards to our room, she eventually was able to get comfortable. Cairns is more a basic resort town that serves as a base for boat trips to the Great Barrier Reef which was exactly why we were there.
We took our SCUBA diving course with Deep Sea Divers Den which started off with two days at their shop which lasted from about 9-5pm and included educational videos, physicals and a few hours of scuba training in their pool every day. On the third day we headed out to sea for the beginning of our 4 training dives to become certified SCUBA divers. We did 3 of these dives on the first day and 1 on the second and were quickly certified scuba divers.
It was on the first day that I had my first sighting of a shark while I was still out of the water. After dinner I went to the upper deck to watch people doing their night dive and with the light from the boat could see the sharks swimming around. Since these reef sharks tend to sleep during the day and hunt at night this was a good opportunity to see them on the move.
I saw my first sharks in the water the next day. After swimming over a beautiful blue spotted sting ray and past a big school of barracudas we saw a shark lying on the ground sleeping and he just ignored us. Later that night it was time for our night dive and we of course we jumped into the same pool of water where we had seen the sharks a few hours earlier. It is really weird jumping into the ocean 20 miles from shore when you can’t see what is in the water. We did have flashlights, but that limits your viewing to the small area covered by the light.
On the dive the next morning the instructor encouraged us to play a game and see who could get the closest to a shark. You find a sleeping shark and slowly crawl in the sand to see how close you can get without waking him up. Ana voluntarily lost this game and I only got to about 6 feet before waking him up. By the last dive I would see a shark and point it out to Ana, she would shrug her shoulders as if she didn’t care and keep on swimming.
It took us all 10 dives to feel really comfortable in the water and by then we were ready to get back to land.