Diving in the Great Barrier Reef!

Trip Start Nov 20, 2013
Trip End Nov 24, 2014

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Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Sunday, February 2, 2014

Wow! There are not enough words to describe our experience from today. After days of looking up which GBR tour to take, we realized they are all pretty much the same, but we've heard, and Sen confirmed, that going out to the reefs from Port Douglas is better than from Cairns. We knew we wanted a smaller boat, so we opted for Silver Sonic which brings out about 80 people at a time as opposed to others that bring out about 300. The morning started out with "cuppa", how Australians refer to tea. I had coffee and a muffin and Jason thought the cookies were worth the steep price of admission.

We filled out the forms to do an introductory scuba dive, which was followed by a briefing on the boat about the suit, signals, equalizing our air spaces, and breathing. Shortly after it was time to suit up. We were both nervous, but excited to try another new thing. Since this was our first dive, there were a couple skills we had to practice before going deep under the water. The water at the first reef was quite choppy, so our instructor Luca decided to split our small group of four into pairs. He took Jason and I in the water first. Before I could get in, I had to take a couple minutes to get used to breathing through my mouth. Once we were in, we held on to a rope and practiced the necessary skills of how to get water out of our masks, equalizing our ears, and how to switch from the primary breathing tube to the secondary one in case of emergency. The last skill took me a few tries to get, but once I relaxed instead of panicked, it was easy. While we waited on the rope, we saw some big fish and even a reef shark. Soon after the other two in our group completed their skills, we headed down linking arms all together. It was incredible! What an amazing experience that made me feel so small. The colours of the coral were outstanding. However, since this was our first dive, Jason and I both spent more time focusing on what we were supposed to be doing than admiring the reef. 

The dive was done way too quickly when Luca helped us out of the water. Since the water was choppy, getting in and out were the most difficult parts of the dive. At the second reef stop, we went snorkelling instead. Again, wow! The beauty of what we saw was amazing. It was so much fun swimming side by side and seeing fantastic things to point out to each other. We finally got to use our underwater camera that we bought in Dallas back at the very start of our travels. The colours of the fish and corals are remarkable. It's amazing how from the boat we just see the blues of the water, but as soon as we got in it, it is literally an entirely different world to explore. 

After lunch, Jason and I split up for the third and final reef. He chose to dive again and I chose to snorkel again. I took the camera and joined a short tour of the reef. I got to see a giant blue clam that the instructor dove close to so we could all watch it close up. Everything I saw was amazing and I could hear myself gasp at all the beauty around me without thinking about it. On the short tour, the instructor dove down and picked up a piece of certain coral that is not harmed by human touch. This coral can grow and spread to be massive, but it's fragile and breaks easily which helps ensure it doesn't take over the reefs. Jason loved his second dive and couldn't stop raving about it. He got to hold a sea cucumber and a harmless jellyfish. Jason's second dive was much more relaxed and familiar than the first so he enjoyed it more, even though he wasn't linking arms with me this time!  Since there was no instruction this time around, all of his time in the water was spent exploring in his small group.  
After another cuppa and cheese and crackers and cake, we bought some photos, something we always seem to do with all of our new adventures, and enjoyed the ride back to Port Douglas. The Great Barrier Reef was the most amazing "classroom" we have ever been in!

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Dale Jenkins on

Jason - so envious of your diving on the Great Reef!!! Hope to do so one day. Thanks for sharing with us!

jasonandgaryn on

Dale, it was definitely one of the coolest things we have ever done!

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