Scubapro II & Diving The Great Barrier Reef
24 Mar 2005
|We'd been around to Prodive the evening before to sort out our dive kit so we got a lie in and only needed to turn up this morning at a bright and breezy 6:20am!!! Slowly but surely the other 30 divers turned up, we all loaded our gear onto Prodive's little truck then hoped into their minibuses to get down to the dock and onto the boat. Jan took sea sickness tablets just in case and around 8am we were on our way out to the Great Barrier Reef. Russell was our skipper, Taka was our typically boisterous Japanese/Australian Dive Supervisor who seemed to have endless energy and enthusiasm, there were three other dive instructors on board: Lydia, Ben & Dennis, and last but not least, the typically loud aussie sheila chef, Hannah with a trainee in tow!!!
Having been given breakfast and the various boat & dive safety briefings including a rough itinerary (4 dives today and tomorrow and 3 on the last day), we were directed to our twin bunk cabins then called out to the back deck to get our kit sorted. There were 13 trainee open water divers on board, 3 guys doing their advanced open water then the rest of us who were just your average recreational divers... turned out we were about the most experienced of them all!!!
As Cairns disappeared into the distance, the Great Barrier Reef drew nearer... the colour of the ocean was impossible to describe... the most beautiful aquamarine blue... doesn't matter how many photos and postcards you've seen of this place, it doesn't prepare you for the reality... it was stunning!!! Couldn't wait to dive in!!!
As became the ritual before every dive, Taka did the dive site briefings and we soon got used to the term "Bommie", a large mound of coral. Knowing the trainees would be taking their time to get sorted and possibly getting in the way under water, we were soon kitted up and off into the blue... There was quite a bit of coral damage from El Nino but there was still plenty of colourful coral left and fish... everywhere!!! Dive after dive we just disappeared off to discover the underwater world in our time, avoiding as many other divers as possible!!! Each dive was followed by food!!! Not much chance of losing a few pounds here!!! Then a rest and some sun/socialising on deck before diving in again!!!
On the first night, after dinner, Taka did a night dive briefing and escorted those of us interested/elligible around the underwater world. Was fun and a bit different, but not mind blowing! On the second night, we did the night dive on our own and found the most enormous crayfish, a sleeping turtle and millions of pairs of orange eyes reflecting back at us (shrimps).
Each evening, Lydia entertained us with a series of pointless mind games... one after another... logic was the last thing you needed to work out what she was up to!!!
By the end of the second day, all the trainees had passed and were free to roam the crystal blue waters on their own. The lad now known as "Jesus" had had a close call when the hose between his 1st and 2nd stages started expelling air at a frantic rate 10m BSL. Lydia moved in quickly with her octopus, removed his reg and shoved it in his mouth... he thought it was an exercise and removed it again... at which point she thrust her octopus back at him... all was right in the end!!!
On the last day, Steve & Roberta asked if they could come along with us to "see how it should be done!". Quite a complement!!! We got on with them really well so didn't mind guiding them around a bit!!!
Having completed 11 dives, it was finally time to head back to Cairns. Skip did the final roll-call and we cleared all our dive gear away before catching the last few rays of sun. The the final drama... suddenly there was a shout of "Man Overboard"!!! All the crew snapped into action, some keeping an eye and a hand pointing out to sea, another threw a life-ring over board, the boat turned sharply to the left, heading back towards the site, another crew member got ready with the pole to pull the individual back onboard... "Where's Pete!!!" For one dreadful moment Jan thought it was him, but later found out he'd been on the dunnie and missed the whole thing!!! It was a drill... and a bloody good one!!!
Had been a good trip, no sea sickness for us... HOORAH! although some had been less fortunate!!! Managed to sleep OK each night!!! Looked forward to our next dive trip in a couple of days time. Back on land we all agreed to meet up for a social in the Rattle & Hum pub... a great end to a great trip!!!