Scubadventures – Diving on the Great Barrier Reef
See what a did with the title there? It’s scuba and adven…
Alright I’ll stop.
One of the ‘pillars’ we set for this trip (i.e. activities we were okay spending what would normally be an uncomfortable amount of money on) was to dive the Great Barrier Reef. Being the scuba enthusiasts we are (with a grand combined total of 9 dives under our belt) we thought doing a 4-day liveaboard trip that would more than triple our lifetime dives would hit the spot. In hindsight, this may have been a bit aggressive, but man did it turn out.
I’m going to keep the text to a minimum here mostly because of the ever-shortening human attention span and because we have some absolutely stellar photos/videos.
The short of it is that we lucked out with an amazing boat from Taka Deep Sea Divers, one of the only companies that ventures to the Outer Great Barrier Reef. The Inner Reef has unfortunately been roughed up from a combination of tourist flipper damage and warming water temperatures and therefore isn’t quite as magical as it once was. Some areas are just plain depressing with the coral and wildlife all but disappeared according to some veteran Reef divers.
Fortunately for us, the Outer Reef’s extreme distance from shore (we steamed for 6-9 hours per night to achieve our dive sites) eliminates much of the mass traffic of the closer areas which allows for much more life and much more pristine environments. Wish I could say this distance also shielded the reef from the rising water temperatures but unfortunately it’s suffering from that as well – the damage just isn’t quite as dramatic.
The crew on the ship was absolutely amazing, notably for their phenomenal knowledge of the dive sites, their organization which had even the most inexperienced of divers (ahem, yours truly) feeling comfortable and last but not least, the food from our Dutch gourmet chef Joel was like nothing we could have ever expected from a budget dive boat. It was spectacular. I’m not exaggerating. I mean the entire boat was excited for every meal – even the crew who work with him every other week. He even catered to my gluten free diet and managed to do so in mind-blowingly delicious fashion.
Did I mention that food was good?
Our fellow divers were equally as wonderful – Jackie, Aron, Russ, Erika, Joey, Cormac, Victor, Team China, Mick, Gustavo – the list goes on! Made the dive sites all that much better that we were able to share the experiences with such great people.
Guess I didn’t keep the text short huh? Sorry. But now for the photos and videos! Part of the amazing crew was Dan, the engineer, who doubled as an underwater photographer and got some great shots of everyone. The ones that are his are quite obvious.
The rest are a mix between my and Aron’s photos!
Three of our dives were at night which was at first an intimidating concept – but one we quickly realized was magical. There’s nothing to be afraid of in these waters and with only have a torch (flashlight) to guide your way, it makes for an extremely exciting 40minutes!
The first dive I saw a couple reef sharks in the distance but the second dive was a different story. We had several reef sharks swimming within feet of us (in some instances 1 foot!) in addition to some really big, really fast hunting fish which apparently would have done significantly more damage than the sharks had they mistaken our hand for a snack (which never happens by the way – I repeat, nothing to be scared of near the reef).
Here’s a video of this magical night (never thought I’d find myself chasing after a shark…):
The next night we took part in what is called ‘fluoro diving’ which is a concept pioneered by Taka on the Great Barrier Reef. Basically, you dive with an ultraviolet torch and wear a yellow filter on your goggles (and camera if you bring one). The coral, for reasons I didn’t quite grasp, reacts to the ultraviolet light and glows like it’s an EDM DJ’s stage prop.
It is the craziest thing. Fortunately this video actually does do it justice:
And that was it! What an amazing way to triple our dive count! It was without doubt one of the coolest thing either Jenna or I have ever done and we cannot wait to get back under the water later in the trip to see how other places stack up.
The standard has been set!