The Great Barrier Reef

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The ride out to the Great Barrier Reef
The ride out to the Great Barrier Reef

I have waited for over two decades to visit the Great Barrier Reef. The first time I went diving on a ClubMed vacation back in the late 1980’s I always thought about the Great Barrier Reef. When Ilise and I were planning our wedding, Australia was a real option for us and I was so excited to possibly swim in the Great Barrier Reef, but it didn’t happen that way. Well, on Tuesday of this week I had my opportunity, and it was a great experience but not exactly what I expected.

First of all, we went to the reef from Cairns on an old sailboat called the Falla. This is an old pearl diving boat that has been re-purposed to conduct dive trips to the reef. Heading out in the morning the water was a bit choppy and Noah got a bit sick. He lost his breakfast over the side. I’m usually the one to get sea sick, but I was fine. On the trip we met some wonderful people, including a young couple from Amsterdam, Roy & Liz, who were at the end of their 3 month world tour after Roy left his mob at Apple. We plan on meeting up with them when we get to Amsterdam. It took over 2 hours to get to the first dive spot, known as The Aquarium. The captain of the ship, Doug, said they call it that because usually it is really calm and you can see everything like it was in an aquarium.

Captain Doug, from Florida
Captain Doug, from Florida

Well, on Tuesday it was anything but an aquarium. The current was flowing and when we got into the water you had to swim pretty hard just to stay where you were. When we went snorkeling on Whitsunday just a week earlier, that was the type of experience that I expected. This experience was actually work. In the end, I loved every minute of it. I felt at peace in the water, diving down to the bottom of the ocean, holding my breath and filming the fish with the GoPro. I saw so many different fish and sea creatures from tangs and clown fish to puffers, sting rays, star fish and huge clams. It was my own little fish tank and I was one of the fish in it. It seemed like we were in for about 45 minutes and Doug came along and said “time for lunch.” We had been in the water for 90 minutes!

We had lunch and then headed to another dive site just a few kilometers away. This dive site was more spread out but the current was much less so you could just hover over the coral and the fish. I mentioned after the first snorkeling trip that the salinity of the water made it great for snorkeling. I just floated on the top of the water and didn’t need any floatation devices. At the second site I continued to dive to the bottom and follow numerous fish around. It was amazing but a lot of physical work. In the end, it was a great workout as well as a great experience. I took over an hour of video which I will take some time on our flight this weekend to start editing. The part of the trip that wasn’t so pleasant was still to come, the boat ride back to Cairns.

To be continued …..




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