Scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef!

Cairns Travel Blog

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One of the fish on the reef that have a beak like a peacock.

When I signed up for scuba diving on the great barrier reef, I was super excited and super nervous.  The flight over to Cairns was pretty uneventful.  I love how there are such cheap flights to get across the huge distances from place to place in Australia.  Mon dropped me off at the train station and it went strait to the Brisbane airport where I caught my flight to Cairns.

Cairns is such a cool city.  Okay, well it is actually a very hot city and so humid but great....not too big. It feels very relaxed and laid back.  I checked into my hostel which was nice and pretty central and found out that my PADI course started the next a.m. at 7:30 am when they would pick me up.

More fish hanging out on the reef...apparently we were really lucky to be on the reef during "sex on the reef" when all the mating goes on.
  Down Under Dive was not too far away.  I probably could've walked but it was so freakin' hot.  The dive school was really nice.  Organized with a nice classroom and a great pool all set up for learning to dive.  My instructor, Heath seemed really great....nice and laid back but took his job seriously and wasn't going to let anyone pass if they couldn't do the skills.  I guess they are responsible for 7 years for the people they certify to dive.

The first step was a medical where we were checked out and either approved or denied.  I was so nervous to pop my ears but it was no problem.  Yayo!  Next step was the classroom which I actually really enjoyed since it was all about pressure, etc.  I had no problems with it.

Some amazing coral to see...everywhere. I love my underwater camera! Thanks mom and dad!
  Next step, swimming test.  One Korean girl jumped in and couldn't swim at all....Heath had to throw her a life preserver and almost had to jump in to rescue her.  Insane.  She didn't continue the course. 

Then we actually started with all the gear, breathing underwater for the first time.  It was so weird!!  Felt really scary at first and then was great!!  We also had a new instructor since the class split into two group with Heath and my group with Scott who was also a really good instructor.  My dive buddy dropped out because he couldn't clear water out of his mask and kept getting freaked out underwater so I ended up having the instructor as a dive buddy which was nice.  I was nervous to have a dive buddy who looked completely freaked out.

The group getting ready to dive.
...especially if we were going into the ocean.

I really enjoyed the pool course which went for two days but was super nervous at the idea of actually going 10-18m deep into the ocean...AND, since Scott has something else to do, we got a new instructor, Dave, who also turned out to be pretty great.  All good instructors.  I was so nervous that I would have troubles equalizing my ears, etc. but it was a piece of cake and I felt really good in the water and I was so excited to look at all the fish and the feeling of weightlessness that I had a blast.  The only bad thing was that there were 8 people in the group and without much of a sense of 3D direction (people can be anywhere), I ended up bumbing into people a few times....not so nice.  I can't wait to go scuba diving again!  If I was staying in oz any longed, I would probably have applied to do their Dive master course where you work on board for a few months and get certified as a Dive Master.

Me snorkelling in between dives.
  Oh to Thailand I go.

To get to the reef, we took a boat for about an hour or so.  I was a little worried about getting seasick so I took Dramamine throughout the day and was a little sleepy, but not seasick at all!  The only slight problem I had was that everytime I came up from a dive, my nose would start bleeding.  It's pretty normal though since all the little blood vessels in my nose were feeling lots of pressure for the first time.  It still freaked me out a bit the first time.

On the last night, Dave and Heath and all of us newly certified divers went out to celebrate, etc.  It was a great time!  Met some really nice people and it went by so fast! 

Tomorrow, I leave Australia and head to Thailand.  It is weird to be leaving.  I really love australia but I miss my family a ton.  It feels weird with so many Christmas decorations up and no snow....I'm not complaining though.  Tomorrow, I am back to the beach for some surf and sand.  My plane doesn't leave until midnight!  I sure hope to return to oz sometime soon.

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One of the fish on the reef that h…
One of the fish on the reef that …
More fish hanging out on the reef.…
More fish hanging out on the reef…
Some amazing coral to see...everyw…
Some amazing coral to see...every…
The group getting ready to dive.
The group getting ready to dive.
Me snorkelling in between dives.
Me snorkelling in between dives.
On the boat headed out to the reef.
On the boat headed out to the reef.
photo by: Katie_Kate