May
31

Turtles, Sharks & The Great Barrier Reef

Hello there and greetings from Airlee Beach, Whitsundays.

Before leaving Cairns we decided to go on a dive trip to check out this apparently large reef. Managed to find a pretty cheap deal ($560) for three days and two nights diving (including 11 dives, food and accomodation). So we were rudely awoken on the Friday morning at 05:00 to be collected at 05:30 by the dive company. Needless to say it was a struggle getting Al up but he only delayed us for a few minutes.

So we set off into Cairns and to the dive company picking up others en route. Picked up dive equipment and headed out to the boat.

Tired post diving Scubapro III

The divemaster had chosen our sizes and me thinks he was a little under generous at choosing cos both our wet suits looked like child sizes - particulalry mine.

As soon as we arrived on deck we were given a load of brekkie - croissants etc and off we went. We had been advised that it may be a little rough biut we hadn’t quite prepared for the 7 foot waves and the constant rocking and rolling of the boat. Also didn’t help that the first hour we had to spent coupled up oin the salon while we were assigned beds and emergency numbers. Al got number 23 and we had room 5 (2+3) so if anyone has seen the movie he was freaked.

The salon 

Anyway we were finally allowed out into the open where Al turned green and soon vomitted delicately into a bag. Several others vomitted not quite so delicately and the smell of vomit was in the air… nice…Don’t think croissants at 6-30 agreed with many. Al went to bed for the rest of the trip…

Al kippin after pukin 

So arrived at the outer reef, 3 hours later, where the water was much calmer and we immediately had a briefing and geared up for our first dive. Needless to say wetsuits too small but they did find me a size 3 (slightly better than a 2 but still tight). Poor Al had to poor himself into and out of his……

Great Barrier Reef5 All geared up5 All geared up3 All geared up2

This was our first dive without company and we though how hard could it be to find our way back to the boat. The answer to that is obviously quite hard as we got totally lost and used up our air in about 20 mins and had to surface. We then had a 10 min swim back to the boat. Anyway scenery was good and water warm, so we saw some pretty fishes.

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Although I think Al was still feeling a little peaky at this point.

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Anyway after some cake and tea it was back in the water for another dive and this one went much better - saw a turtle which was just fab - I swam around with him for ages and he was just beautiful and elegant, munching away at the plants.

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A much better dive and we came up nearer the boat so less torture swimming back!!

Food on board was fab and they fed us constantly and it was good too - all home made cakes, pastas, curries sald etc..

Big snag eat off 

In between dives we just sat on deck sunbathing and chatting and met some nice people such as Trischia from Northern Ireland,

Patricia from Belfast 

and Sam from South Africa…

Sam from South Africa 

and took in the view of course…

Us on the reef2 Pro dive boat two

Sunset was gorgeous and when it was picth black we jumped in with the sharks for another dive. I was shitting myself as the guys were feeding the sharks off the back of the boat and it was cold. Only manged about 25 mins under as cold and Al snuck up behind me and scared the shite out of me and I couldn’t relax after.

Sunset on the reef1 

The next day we did an early morning dive, where we saw more turtles and a couple of sharks,  

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- a mid morning dive and 2 in the afternoon followed by another night dive. A successful day of spotting stuff and a few good snaps..However we will need to invest in an underwater camera as quality poor.

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The Night dive was better and we saw about 3 sharks circling a head- not tooo scary but I made sure Al was either in front or behind depending on where the sharks were!!!As i was getting out the water something bit my finger where my wedding ring was and I had to prise it off which scared the life out of me. I think it was a small shrimp. However no one saw it and it didn’t leave a mark so I was presumed to be imagining things….umm.

Night dive return2 Night dive return4

That night we had a couple of beers and chatted to a few folk then off to bed knackered. Unfortunatley our cabin was next to the lounge and the young ones were playing games so we got made to join in some flexibility game before we could go to bed - no worries for us though!!!

The last morning and it was a sunrise dive at some ungodly hour. Visibiltiy not the nest adn we were diving with another guy who hadn’t done much diving before. We did see a turtle which again was fab but Chuck ran out of air pretty quick so we had to surface.

The last 2 dives were some of the best. The reef was gorgeous and the visibilty better. We also got much better at navigating back to the boat and just chilled out and enjoyed the views.

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Saw an excellent cuttlefish..

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So headed back and arrived back in Cairns with a much smoother ride. Said our goodbyes and got delivered back to Palm Cove and after a quick nap it was back to the BBQ for beer and snags….

From here we were supposed fo leave to go south but a slight change of plan and it didn’t happen !! - so you can read about that in the next blog……

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