Great Barrier Reef

Trip Start Feb 05, 2006
Trip End Jun 20, 2006

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Flag of Australia  ,
Thursday, February 9, 2006

Today was the day of scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef. AMAZING. We started off jumping on a catamaran with a total of 90 people, and a crew of 10. We then worked our way to sea, just the boat ride offered some amazing photos. The scenery was even better than the brochures. So after about a 2 hour boat ride, we arrived at the reef.

First I went snorkeling in a wet suit (so I wouldn't have issues with jellyfish). That on it's own was worth it. We had the reef about 10 feet under the surface. There were fish everywhere, like ones that cost $1000+ for people to put in their fish tanks in the states. They were so bright, colorful and numerous. Also, they would swim close enough for you to touch them.

Then I got to go do my scuba dive. We got all suited up, and got the lesson on the gear, and hand signals (I'm ok, surface, problem, down, etc.) This part was by far the best. I got to see so many things while breathing underwater. Simon was my dive instructor, and as with the rest of the crew, they were all super friendly, to the point that I considered them instant friends. So we got to the bottom, and I swam right on the reef (about 30ft down) at some points I actually touched it, and the fish. We saw these things that look like little blue bushes the size of a dime, and when you come near them, they retract into the reef instantly. We also saw clown fish, and numerous other species of fish that I didn't recognize, all very tropically colored (neon blues, greens, yellows, etc).

I also got to poke a jellyfish, well more like greet it, because it didn't seem to be very angry. It's hard to describe what it felt like... perhaps a squishy piece of plastic, pink and mostly transparent. It also seemed to like me, because it swam with me for a while.

So then we came back up, and got changed, to eat lunch. The main highlight was i got o eat shrimp, but with the head and shell still attached, and they were really really good too. Plus I noticed that pretty much everything I had was spicy (not unbearable, but it actually had a kick to it, including the potato salad).

So after lunch we went to a second location, Bird Island, also near the reef. It's named so for a reason, there are tons of birds. Also, they put some chum in the water, and there were lots of fish near the surface that I was able to get pictures of. People went on a second round of snorkeling and scuba, but I was really waterlogged at this point, so I decided to stay on the boat. I'm happy I did, because I had some really good conversations with the Australian crew, and my fellow AustraLearners. everyone I talked with basically came to the conclusion that the crew of this boat, who actually got paid to take the boat out into the ocean and scuba dive... have the best job ever. Most of the crew reluctantly agreed, which may or may not have been sarcasm. I guess doing that every day could get repetitive, but it's amazing!

So at the end of the trip, I walked out with a CD of two pictures of the scuba diving, taken by the photographer on the crew. Also, I have an underwater camera with about 20 photos I took underwater. Hopefully they turn out as awesome as the experience. Along with that, I took over 100 pictures from the boat. Honestly I would have to struggle to take a bad picture in that environment, everywhere was a postcard picture waiting to be taken. Also, I'm pretty sure I will never need a desktop image again, because I have so many on my camera from the trip.

Then we got back, showered, discovered that I was NOT sunburnt which was quite a feat. I think about 30% of the people were sunburnt, some were very painful just to look at.

Then I walked to the IGA and bought some beverages. Pepsi Samba, a tropical blend, with mango flavoring, which was pretty cool. Also, I got a BundABerg 'Ginger Beer', which is similar to ginger ale, but with more of a kick to it. The older bloke that rung me up was so nice, even though my first credit card was rejected twice. 'No worries mate'. 'No probs'.

That's all for day two, tomorrow we get to go to the zoo, and give bear hugs to koalas. It should prove just as awesome. Stay tuned!
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