The Great Barrier Reef (by KCT)

Trip Start Aug 11, 2009
Trip End Feb 19, 2010

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Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Thursday, December 3, 2009

After spending few days in Sydney, it was now time to explore the rest of Oz. Yet, we had to reduce the rest of the country to just the East coast due to our tight schedule. However, as we decided to fly up to Cairns and to travel back down to Sydney by Greyhound, we still had 2,420 km road trip in front of us. Did you know by the way that you can actually compare the size of the Oz Island to entire Europe? 

Well, back to Cairns. We chose Cairns as our destination, as the Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest coral reef system which can be seen from outer space, can be reached in less than one hour by boat. Having snorkeled at the Brazilian Abrolhos Marine National Park and on the Fiji Islands, we were very excited to experience one of the 7 natural wonders of the world. 

After a 1-day-tour on the sailing boat 'Ocean Free', we were very delighted. It was an amazing experience, yet it wasn't actually the Great Barrier Reef by itself or snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef but our first introductory scuba dive! I couldn't have imagined a dive before as I was always a little bit anxious in the water and hated all the waves, making your body going up and down and swallow a lot of water. However, I felt unexpectedly really comfortable in water while diving. It was a great feeling of being weightless and floating underneath water, and to get really close to the corals and fishes. In that way, we were even able to hover in front of anemones to see our first Nemo! Well, besides clown fish, we also saw his friends, some white tip reef sharks. But who is interested in sharks when you see Nemo? :)

After that day, Mihai and I knew our mission: To certificate us for scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef and to go out to the Outer Reef which we missed on our sailing tour but where the diversity of under water life is supposedly more stunning than the one we experienced.

And yes, the Outer Reef was indeed a spectacular experience. After struggling ourselves in a pool to do our preps for the open water for the first two days of our PADI Open Water Course, accomplishing a swim of 200 m (an indeed great accomplishment for me!!), floating for 10 minutes at the surface, then finally passing a final written exam, we went out two days in a row to the Outer Reef. There, we had to do our skills again in four dives and barely saw more than sand. But right after we got certificated, we jumped backed into the water again and did our first dive by ourselves, without any dive instructors or masters. 

It was far one of the most amazing experience in my life. There were beautiful hard and soft corals arranged at a steep dropping wall, plenty of coral fishes, small and big ones, and and and - actually words cannot describe how amazing it was! Unfortunately, we had to end our dive earlier than necessary as I haven't yet mastered the art of buoyancy. But because of that, we are eagerly looking forward to our next dive. Maybe in Thailand? 

Unfortunately, dear friends, we can't provide any pictures of Australia but Sydney as our USB-Stick with all the Aussie pics got stolen. Again... arrggh! Yet, we hope to be able to recover the pics from our memorable card when we master the art of programming. Thus, there is still some hope... Sorry anyways for the inconvenience!   
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