Boxing with the fish

Trip Start Nov 01, 2005
Trip End Apr 14, 2006

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Flag of Australia  ,
Tuesday, December 27, 2005

I was going off to the outer barrier reef today on my own so I could get some diving done, while mum stayed back in Cairns. I got picked up at 7 (bluegh too early) in a big coach which drove us all the way up the coast to Port Douglas (which took about an hour). I paid at the booking desk, and then brought some brekkie before boarding the huge new catermaran which would take us out to the reef. It took us about and hour and a half to get to the reef, during which they briefed us about the dive, and showed us all the equipment- a lot more professional than the other day! (then again it was a lot more expensive too) Christmas present from the 'rents. We got suited and booted and then jumped off the side of the boat into the crystal clear, warm (29degrees) water. Much better than New Zealand where we froze!

Our first dive site was called Gary's Gut. Not sure why, but these divers go a bit crazy naming their sites. Throughout the day, we saw huge humpnosed parrotfish, sweet lipped fish about a metre long, baby anenomes, orange and white butterfly fish (apparently quite rare), a sea eel, a school of red sea bass (about 30 of them, 1/2 a m long each), bright orange and purple queen fish, unicorn fish (so cool- looked like they had really long pointy noses!), bright reds and blue coral, giant clams that clammed up if you went near them, cabbage coral, sea cucumbers (look like a big fat worm- obergine size), and the coolest of them all- Christmas tree worms. They looked like tiny mini xmas trees, jutting out holes in the rock, bright blue, and if you moved near them, they'd dart back into the hole! Had lots of fun scaring them.

After the first dive we waited 20 mins for the snorkellers to get back, and then it was a 10 min journey to the next site, during which there was a talk about the reef on the deck. The reef is over millions of years old, and is on the brink of the continental plate- where the sea is deeper than a kilometer. I met a couple of people- Kim and Chris, a couple on their honeymoon by inadvertadly sitting in their seats and an Irish guy who was also diving on his own. Its true you meet a lot more people when you're travelling alone! Turns out Kim and Chris were booked on the same flight as us to go to Sydney too.

I got a bit tired in the 2nd dive, and so decided maybe I should just snorkel instead of doing the 3rd dive since I would have had to pay extra (albeit $15) to dive again. But Irish guy persuaded me that there wasnt any point coming out to the outer barrier reef if you werent going to dive as much as possible so I thought I'd go for it- and it was probably the best one! It was a drift dive, meaning that we jump off the boat and then swim after it, not having to swim in a circle, and we saw lots more fish and coral because it was a bit shallower. Perfect day too- bright clear skies, hot sun but nice breeze...

We got back on the boat about 3pm and i was feeling pretty tired so I slept most of the 3 hour journey back to the hotel. I considered packing, but decided to leave it to tomorrow.
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