Day 41, 42 & 43 – The Great Barrier Reef

Our morning started at 5.45am when we were picked up from our hostel by our diving host ProDive. Since I completed my Open Water SSI Diving Qualification with ProDive back in April at their Manly school, and given that they come highly recommended, we thought we would book our Great Barrier Reef dive trip with them as well.

After dumping our extra baggage at their shop we headed to the marina to board the boat. I was so surprised when we arrived at how large our dive group was. The boat didn’t look big enough to house so many people, but there were about 20 of us piling on to this boat and so I hoped there would be enough room! The boat was made up of roughly 10 twin/double cabins, a saloon/kitchen, and top deck for those seasick prone passengers (of course that was me).

I won’t dwell too much on the seasickness side of things as that wasn’t the highlight of my trip, but I will say for the most part the seasickness tablets worked really well (100% take them even if you don’t get travel sick. Even the strongest of people would feel it after being thrown about for 3 days). There were two incidents where the tablets either wore off or it was just too rough, but other than that I felt okay for most of the time.

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^^ Getting geared up ^^

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^^ Looking the part ^^

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As for photographs of our trip, this post should be filled with hundreds of images of amazing fishes and colourful coral that we saw. However we have a GoPro and if any of you have one, you’ll know they are best for their videos. Which means most of our footage is saved in video content and to edit all that into images while we are on the road is just too time consuming. But here are some snaps I managed to take which I think gives you a pretty good idea of how amazing it is down there (and it really is amazing!) and when I am home and have the time to sit and edit the whole lot, I will do a re-post of more images.

^^ Can you spot the shark lying on the bottom of the sea? ^^

The trip we had booked on to was a three day, two night excursion, with a total of 11 dives. Alice and I were part of a small group of people who were either already qualified to dive alone, or was completing their Advanced Open Water. This meant we had free reign of the dive sights away from the classes to just enjoy ourselves and explore each reef at our own leisure.

It has been about 5 years since Alice had dived, and I have very little experience other than my course back in April, which meant we were both a little nervous at being told to pop our equipment on and jump on in! But I have to credit ProDive here, because as soon as we mentioned our nerves and lack of experience, they straight away assigned us a guide for the first dive who was so patient and great at reminding us of what we both knew but needed a little refreshing. Meaning that soon after our first dive we were off on our own exploring the reefs like pros.

^^ I can’t even begin to explain the colours that you see down there. The fishes, the coral, the blue blue sea that surrounds you is just so magical ^^ 

^^ Alice quote ‘I feel like we’re in a giant fish tank’ umm that’s the ocean Al!^^

^^ A giant clam ^^

^^ Blue ^^

Alice struggled a little with her ears and equalising, something she had problems with before. But she soon got to grips with how to ease the pain and just take it slow. Between Alice’s slow decent, and my big lungs guzzling up the oxygen quickly, we both had a similar bottom time and thus were a pretty good buddy team!

The one dive I was most nervous about, and surprisingly one of the most interesting of them all, was the night dive. The idea of jumping into the middle of the sea when its pitch black, is just insane in my mind, yet on this trip they offered it to us like it was the most normal thing ever. And like idiots we accepted the offer and jumped right in! Oh and did I mention the reef sharks that were swimming around the boat when we jumped in? It makes me nervous just thinking about it, but with a torch and a guide for our first night dive, the whole experience wasn’t that bad. In fact by the second night, we both actually really enjoyed it. Plus seeing a giant green sea turtle (his name is Brian) that is approx 3m-2m in size, sleeping in a underwater cave, totally makes up for the sharks and creepy eels that were lurking in the darkness. I wish wish wish I had footage to share of these dives as we saw so much amazing stuff, but with it being dark we didn’t think it worth taking the GoPro. But if you are thinking of doing a dive trip and they offer you the night dive option, do it and you’ll see what all the fuss is about!

^^ Doing a little gymnastics on the 5m bar under the boat ^^

There is so much more I could write about this trip. I could say how great I thought ProDive was in both experience and hospitality. Or the amazing colourful fishes, or the perfectly detailed coral that we saw. But this post can’t go on forever and who am I kidding, people want photographs not a rambling traveller. So I will end it here by saying, for me this is probably a once in a lifetime experience that I am so grateful to have experienced and witnessed. And The Great Barrier Reef, if you have the opportunity, do it while you can!

Oh and if you do go, say hello to Brian for me if you see him. I think he’s probably got another 100 years on him left!

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