Before I begin to tell you about my AMAZING day on the reef I must first share with you some news that made me very sad. I borrowed a camera for the day and the photos I took on it did not save. Not even one which I am extremely gutted about so I can’t share them with you. I have found some photos online though that look very similar to what I saw and so I will include them in this post instead. I hope to go out on the reef again before I leave Cairns and I will make sure that there are some photos definitely taken and saved then and I promise to share them with you all.
Yesterday morning at 7.30am I boarded the Ocean Freedom boat and headed off on a day trip to the reef.
The first stop for the day was at the Upolu Cay. Our first chance to see the reef here was in the glass bottom boat tour. This was a great way to have a glimpse at what you would later see snorkelling or scuba diving.
After that most people went snorkelling while waiting for their turn to dive. However, I did not. Why? You might ask. Well, you see, I am not the most confident person in the water and I don’t really like the idea of being pulled underwater by large weights. But honestly it just freaks me out. So instead of snorkelling I sat and watched. I now think that was stupid but I was so worked up about doing the dive that I was not thinking straight at all.
Then it was my turn to dive. I sat down put my fins on. (They were bright pink) and then the instructor fastened weights around my middle and then put the tank on my back. (At this point a very kind gentleman “took” some photos of me on the camera that did not save any photos…. anyway) I was then given a mask. Cleaned it out and watched as the rest of my group jumped in. By this point I had a racing heart and was extremely short of breath. As I attempted to stand up… DO YOU KNOW HOW HEAVY ALL THAT GEAR IS????… I shuffled over to the edge. Everyone could see how nervous I was and they all wished me luck.
As I stood with my feet on the edge of the boat I was in complete panic mode but somewhere inside me was a determination to do it. So I took and few deep breathes and took one big step forward. It helped that I was in a group of 3 with two instructors so some good looking dive instructor was waiting in the water for me to jump in and take me through the whole thing one step at and time. Suddenly I am surrounded by water and bubbles and I am holding onto a mask and regulator like my life deepens on it. Then I am no longer going down but bobbing back up to the surface. (Still freaking out) I choke on the air and struggle to breath. The instructor tells me that I did a perfect jump which helped my confidence at the time and I later realised that he is a professional dive instructor and knows all the right things to say so of course he built up my confidence. He then tells me to grab a bar at the back of the boat and slowly deflates my vest…
OH MY GOODNESS. There are two skills you have to complete to be able to dive. One is to empty your mask if it fills up with water and the other is to be able to out your regulator back if it falls out of your mouth. First up is the mask. Push down at the top and breath forcefully out of your nose. Easy. Second take your regulator out of your mouth…. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I am freaking out about breathing under water as it is and you want me to take out the thing that is helping me breathe? Nevertheless I managed to do it. Instructor now there were two both clapped and asked if I was ok… NO! I wanted to go back up. They simply said no. I was stuck under water.
I had an instructor to myself because of my panicking. I eventually convinced him to let me return to the air. I caught my breath and slowed my breathing right down and was ready to go. Back down I went. Holding on to the instructors hand probably too tightly but I definitely wasn’t letting go. As we got deeper I began to relax. It was easier to breathe. I couldn’t feel the waves anymore and then it appeared.
Scenes like this appeared in front of me and it was amazing. We saw so many different fish and coral. It was breath taking. (I was actually reminded to breathe a couple times haha)
You are swimming along and then you are surrounded by a million of tiny fish in the most beautiful colours. There are fish of every colour swimming in and out of the coral. The coral is amazing too. The most fascinating shape and beautiful swaying movements are awesome. I especially liked the little “zebra fish” (my name for them because they are fish with zebra stripes). They were so cute and were not scary at all. I was so glad I jumped in.
That dive lasted about 25mins and it was truly magical. Weirdly enough I now wanted to go again that afternoon. So I climbed up out of the water and back onto the boat. I had a lunch made my a great catering company with this really nice girl working there for the summer. 😉 (Yours Truly)
Then we went to the new dive location called the Wonder Wall. All of a sudden I was gearing back up for my second dive. This time I was not quite as nervous. Still took my time to breath slowly before stepping off the boat. I knew this time that it would be better once I was a couple of metres underwater and to focus on my breathing.
This time we went straight down to the sandy bottom. Out of the sand a few metres away a sting ray was shaking the sand off of itself and then slowly swam away. WOW! We continued to see more of the reef and so many more fish. One was just a bit bigger than my hand and was white with yellow stripes along its back and multi-coloured stripes on its middle. So beautiful. This time I got to touch some coral and hold a few huge and beautiful star fish.
The dive ended in a moment that was probably the best part of the whole day for me. Meet Leroy the Green Sea Turtle.
Isn’t he beautiful? He hangs out with the Scuba Divers and snorkelers daily and loves all the attention. As we slowly accessed to the boat we were spotted by Leroy who eagerly swam down to give us all a High Five. I can now say that I have high fived a turtle 🙂 How amazing is that? Then as I was attempting to put my flipper feet on the ladder to climb back up the cheeky turtle swims between me and the ladder giving me a fright but I guess it was his home I was standing in so he can swim where he wants when he wants.
I then sat on the front of the boat in the sun and enjoyed the view. I do have some photos of that though 🙂 Thanks to my iPod. YAY!
Beautiful and picture perfect!
Then as I was leaving the boat I got a certificate for completing my first dive. See I can prove I did actually do it.
I meet people from all around the world and had a great day. I would definitely go Scuba Diving and highly recommend Ocean Freedom. The crew were amazing and so kind throughout the day. I definitely want to get out on the reef again before my time in Cairns is up.
Thank you for reading that HUGE post!