Australia – Cairns Day Two – Great Barrier Reef

Poseidon, a large diving boat with a generous dining and sundeck area, was waiting to greet us at the Marina at 8:15am. Inside, tea and muffins greeted us, and a young and friendly crew of Aussies and an American. We were briefed about the day, a briefing which included an overly-long warning about sea-sickness, in which we were urged to buy sea sick tablets or chew the free ginger so much that I began to feel sick even though I’ve never actually been sea sick. Vero took the tablets just in case.

Vero and I then joined an overly-long briefing about the dives. There was much unnecessary warnings, and very little education in terms of maps of our route, expected things to see etc. Perhaps it’s Australia’s obsession with safety, but I suddenly felt like an absolute novice, and Vero and I joined the American Adam’s inexperienced group later. They used dive computers here. I’ve never used one before. They also had an air flow control next to the regulator. It was set on the lowest air flow, and could be adjusted if you found it hard to suck in the air. It was noisy on the boat, nobody could hear the instructions, and the whole thing felt like a divemaster trying to tick things off the ‘must explain’ list of the Australian diving rules and regulations, rather than actually educating us on our route or what we would see. It’s the opposite in Asia, of course, and therefore much more fun.

We got our tight wetsuits on, ‘stinger suits’, and into our gear. We did buddy checks, jumped in, and were off! Diving in the Great Barrier Reef… of the most beautiful places in the world to dive. Except, the diving in Indonesia and the Philippines is much better. I’ve dived in many places in the world, including the Red Sea. Bunaken Island in Indonesia and Balicasag in the Philippines are miles better. And so, the first dive was a bit of a disappointment. We got out and signed up for the next dive in 10 minutes time. This one was better – 45 minutes at a depth of 16m. We saw some huge blue-lipped clams, opening up and closing like giant mouths. We saw parrot fish, damselfish, shrimp, a reef-shark and a couple of sting rays. The coral was also magnificent. This was a great dive, and is certainly up there in my top 10. After a great lunch of ham, roast beef, potato salad, tandoori chicken and prawns, Vero and I opted for snorkeling instead of a third dive. We were rewarded with the best snorkeling I’ve ever done in my life. Colourful, beautiful corals shining in the sunlight everywhere. Stunning. And so many different kinds of fish. Well worth it.

We had tea and biscuits on the way back and, all in all, it was worth the money. We enjoyed a sun-drenched sundowner or two at Tube bar at the Marina, along with fish tempura and chips, and flash-fried baby calamari. We headed up Macrossan street and booked a trip on the train to Kurunda, then an afternoon / evening sunset cruise for the last day, Thursday. We then grabbed a beer at a bar, and enjoyed a delicious Mexican meal, which I made the mistake of lashing generous quantities of Blair’s Death Sauce on, and I spent most of the meal drinking cold water which made the burning in my mouth worse. A delicious coffee with Baileys and Kaluha and a helping of vanilla ice-cream drizzled with chocolate sauce rounded things off nicely.   What a day!IMG_1977 IMG_1959 IMG_1980 IMG_2006 IMG_1969

Author: Neil

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