Exploring Australia: The Great Barrier Reef

The third part of our trip to Australia was the Great Barrier Reef, one of Katy’s bucket list events. Katy had wanted to get certified to scuba dive for the past 15 years and thought this was a good time to get certified. We decided to do an e-learning class, pool day, and a three day liveaboard on the Great Barrier Reef. Since I had not been scuba diving in the past twenty years, I decided to do the class with Katy. It was also cheaper to redo the class than do a refresher dive along with the liveaboard fee.

The first day of our class was pretty uneventful, and there were only three of us which made it go pretty fast. The van pickup in the morning was pretty amusing, and they seemed to do the pickup in order of the cheapest accommodation to most expensive accommodation. Naturally, we were picked up first, and the couple staying at the Shrangra-la was picked up last. That evening we wandered around Cairns some more and discovered a giant lagoon pool in the center of town. Cairns for being the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, actually does not have a beach in town, and this giant pool is what they do to compensate. Katy was rather bummed that she was wearing sneakers, so she was deprived of the privilege of stomping through the shallow section. We stopped by Hemmingway’s Brewery, which was better than the average microbrewery we have encountered in Australia/New Zealand.

We had a nice and early 6:10am pickup and were transferred to ScubaPro, our boat for the next three days. We were given one of the three cabins that had a window, but not one of the two double bed cabins. Katy immediately chose the top bunk since it looked out the window. The boat headed out, and we were advised to not hang out inside for the four-hour cruise to the reef due to the prevalence of people getting seasick. Since Katy has a solid history of getting motion sick, she was the among the first that headed out to the sundeck. I waited a quick minute to grab our reef safe sunscreen and headed up with Katy to put a solid application on to try to avoid becoming a lobster, something I am genetically predispositions to become in the sun. After a peaceful, uneventful ride, with only one victim of seasickness, we arrived at our first dive site.

The first day we did two training dives and one snorkeling trip. The coral on the Great Barrier Reef is more impressive than I remember other coral that I have seen. Plus there are a ton of fish and more than a few sea turtles hanging around. The second day involved two dives as part of the class, and the rest were on your own. We had the privilege of having a rather annoying gentleman join our lesson on the boat, and we were rather excited not to have to dive with him anymore. The day ended with a guided night dive where I saw sharks and Katy saw giant spheres of light. Her night vision is not good yet for night diving we discovered.

Our last day, we had two more dives before we headed back to Cairns. It was a great learning to dive experience. It was also a great cap to our trip. We had one night in Brisbane and then we flew back to New Zealand.

Read about part 1, part 2, and part 3 of our Australia trip.

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