Day 54 - Journey to GBR and first dives
Trip Start Sep 30, 2012
105Trip End Jan 09, 2013
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The mini van arrived at around 7 and we headed to the dive shop to fill in forms etc. We then got a ride to the pier where we loaded onto a largish boat which would ferry us out to our liveaboard boat, the MV Kangaroo Explorer. It took us around two and a half hours to get to the liveaboard. The ride was fun although a little too bumpy for Tess and the early morning wake up tummy so she felt a bit grim. Anyway we boarded the big boat and were given an orientation talk by one of the crew. There were lots of people on board as there is an overlap of those people leaving the boat, those arriving and those doing a one day dive or snorkel experience
Anyway after feeling a bit overwhelmed we headed into the saloon cabin where they served lunch. It was a very nice veggie pasta and a bolognaise with salads, cold meat and bread. We enjoyed it very much.
We then had an hour or so to relax before our first dive. Our cabin is great. It has a double bed, a small cupboard, a little sitting bench and a bathroom with a shower, loo and basin. We also have a window looking out over the sea. The water is a lovely colour and the reefs are quite visible from the surface.
As with all first dives we were slightly nervous about the setup and everything but it was done very well and made easy for us. We were each allocated a number and our corresponding tank, bcd, regulator were set up and waiting at our station. We were advised to wear stinger suits as there are jelly fish in the area. The water is around 26 degrees so its warm enough not to need a wetsuit. Our first dive was a guided dive. We were in a group of 8 divers and our dive master, Ned, was very relaxed. We kitted up, stepped off the back of the boat and had a dive for just over half and hour. The reef is so vibrant and very well looked after. We saw fields of beautiful corals, some enormous sea cucumbers, lots of lovely fish and even some rather large Nemos. It was a good dive to orientate ourselves and get our rigs just right
We then rested for a while before heading out again at 4 for our second dive. The boat had moved so were at a new site. This dive we had to do on our own so Anton took the lead. It was our first dive ever with no guide and was lots of fun. Tess had a few floating issues having pulled on a wetsuit to stay warm but it was a special dive and we saw a lovely white tip reef shark, a stingray chilling out in the sand and just spectacular fish and corals. The dive site is called the Fishbowl and you can totally see why. We just couldn't make our eyes see enough. The reef was teaming with fish of every shape and colour. They were playing in the corals, anemones, and swimming in the open water and we just loved it. Absolutely brilliant colours.
We hopped out feeling very privileged and enjoyed dinner with our fellow divers. There are around 30 guests sleeping on the boat tonight. We met a few of the divers and had some good chats about their dive experiences and travelling in general.
Then it was time for our first night dive. Ooooooo scary and exhilarating. Because it was our first time we had to be guided so Ned took four of us in his group. We were kitted out with a torch and then plopped in. It was amazing. Since it was around 7 it was dark but not pitch black and the boat had an underwater light that illuminates the water surrounding it. We headed off with the group and had a great adventure dive. We spotted another white tip reef shark and a sleeping turtle. So sweet. We also found an octopus hiding in his hole and saw giant clams and some lovely fish. The fish are quite inquisitive about the torch light and come quite close to it. We really had a lovely dive and it wasn't scary at all. We also believe however that this must be one of the best places to do a night dive as the visibility is perfect and the reefs are really shallow. Well after all those dives and thrilling experiences, we glugged down a tea and headed for bed. Shoo it's been a great day and one we will always remember. To the gentle rocking of the sea, we were quickly in the land of Nod.