Friday May 20
*NOTE: I haven’t been having much luck when it comes to receiving professional pictures during excursions. For example, I bought 5 photos for $20 at Spot X Surf Camp and I yet to still receive them (they are no where to be found on the website). And of course, the pictures snapped of my Scuba Diving group malfunctioned. I may be able to still buy my Scuba Diving photos if they turn out, but we’ll have to wait and see. My apologies for the lack of Scuba photos. 😦
Today, Ian and I were picked up by Tusa Dive (website here) at 7:25am. We drove for about 5 minutes to the pier where we hopped on a Snorkeling and Scuba Diving Boat!!!!!
Tusa Dive really hooked us up – Ian and I were each given a snorkeling pass and a complimentary introductory scuba dive (gives those without a Scuba Diving License a chance to dive)! So, for a girl like me who is dying to go diving and doesn’t have her license – this was amazing!!!!
My small group of 3 was given basic instructions during the boat ride to The Great Barrier Reef by dive instructor, Jay. Jay was helpful, enthusiastic and created a comfortable atmosphere for us newbies. However, as I was sitting there listening to the basics, I started to feel a little bit nervous! I’ve done some pretty wild things before like skydiving and bungee jumping, and usually I’m not nervous at all… but all the rules about breathing and hand signals and oxygen and air pressure and ears popping and lungs expanding kind of freaked me out.
Before I knew it, we were at the part of the reef called Hastings and I was slipping on a wet wetsuit, shoes, a mask, weights on my back, an oxygen tank, and flippers. We jumped into the water and held on to the side of the boat to practice some of the steps one would need to take if they got water in their mask, or if there oxygen tube got knocked out of their mouth.
We swam over to a rope leading down to the bottom of the sea. It was covered in living moss, and we slowly (you have to de-pressurize your ears and lungs, so you have to go down slow… basically if you go down too fast you will explode, or something crazy) started to go deeper and deeper down. The girl above me in my group was having problems with her ears, so Jay had to tend to her for a few minutes while myself and my other fellow diver chilled and held onto the rope. Because I wasn’t being distracted by instructions, I started to think. I started to think about the “what ifs” and all these crazy thoughts started running through my head while being submerged in the cloudy water and breathing deeply through an oxygen mask. In my head, I started to panic. Then I realized what I was doing – I was thinking. I was totally freaking myself out. I quickly got out of that stage and started thinking positively (it was at this point in time where I gave kudos to anyone who has scuba dived before) – mind over matter!!!
Next thing I knew we were at the reef. Everything from here felt like a dream. It honestly didn’t feel like real life. I saw fish and plants I had only seen on the discovery channel, I saw coral that glowed neon blue. I felt like Alice in Alice in Wonderland. Clams that I would usually hold in the palm of my hand were the size of me; fish the size of my leg that I only saw in aquariums were right in front of me. Heaps of different kinds of fish were swimming around and interacting with each other. It was a whole new world.
After my first dive, I snorkeled for a bit (but it didn’t compare to diving), and then I decided to go on another dive! I knew that my second dive would be even better than my first because I would be more comfortable and know what to expect. Unfortunately, Ian fell a little sea sick and wasn’t allowed to dive due to his asthma, so I was able to go on two dives for free!
My prediction was true, and I was more comfortable and much more at ease during my second dive. I was able to see more diverse fish (a lionfish! – I really wanted to see one), however there were no sharks around, which I was actually disappointed about because I really wanted to see one!!!
By now it was noon, and a buffet-style lunch was served. For the rest of the afternoon I chilled out on the boat and enjoyed the gorgeous sunshine. We were so lucky today with the weather! The sea was a bit cloudy and rocky, but the sun was out for most of the day and it didn’t rain! Hooray!!!!!!!