The Great Barrier Reef Through the Eyes of a Runner.

Under the sea, under the sea, darling it’s better down where it’s wetter take it from me!

If you do not get the above reference I am giving you homework before you read this post: go watch The Little Mermaid right now!

Okay now that I am done with my Disney moment it’s time to share Day 2 of my spring break trip up to Cairns: The Great Barrier Reef!

Starting off with Monday morning!

I awoke at 6:30am before the heat of the day set in and dressed myself in a swimsuit and fun boating clothes: flip flops (that would soon become barefeet), a nice flowy skirt and a versatile hiding from the sun and keeping the wind off shirt.

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I was ready to face the day! After a yummy breakfast of passionfruit yogurt and muesli I walked over to the Wharf where my Down Under Dive boat was waiting! While waiting in line to get the forms to sign our lives away I met a Swedish girl and German girl who were traveling and going out snorkeling on the same boat. We hit it off right away and chatted while we filled out the forms and boarded the sea vessel.

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The second we stepped on the boat we were greeted with laughs, smiles, fins, snorkels, wetsuits, excitement, entertainers, coffee, biscuits, and some cute guys! I knew today was going to be a fun day.

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Once we got settled and I got my PADI checked, because EEEEEKKKKK!! I’m a certified diver!!!! We split up for our debriefs: the two girls for their snorkeling debrief and myself for my diving brief!

At this point I met my scuba guide and found out I was one of 4 certified divers going out for a dive during the day! I was the only person to get the guided dive for our first dive site as the other 3 certified guys were doing their advanced certification and had tasks they had to complete on their own.

At this point I wasn’t 100% sold on the whole scuba diving thing and was quite nervous still. But with a two hour (very rough) seasick sort of boat ride out to the reef that was intermixed with laying out on the bow to get some sun, joking around with the boat guys, and getting to know my fellow reef goers, I was much more calm and ready to get off the boat and get less seasick! Luckily the only place to go was in the open sea!

After getting suited up with my extremely light wetsuit (remember I got my certification in sub 50 degree Farenheight, sub 10 degree Celcius water in Melbourne and was wearing a 7mm long wetsuit with a hood and gloves, so the 3mm shortie wetsuit felt like pure joy) and my tank, Sam, my scuba guide, jumped into the water and motioned for me to follow suit! I wasn’t ready for this! I couldn’t even remember what to do! But the second I hit the water it all came back and we quickly began our descent!

Oh my goodness!!!!!!! MAGICAL!!! That was my first reaction to being under the water at the Great Barrier Reef! The bright fish surrounded huge corals and the water was perfect!

I was worried about not being able to equalize properly and worried about my buoyancy and nervous about my waterproof camera (I hired one on board) wouldn’t work properly; however, all of this was no worry at all the second I started looking around!

The first cool thing Sam showed me was a Murray Eel! Next up was a little clown fish, tons of sea cucumbers, AN OCTOPUS and cool fishes! However the two highlights of my first 36 minute dive was the shark and the puffer fish!

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Sam was THE BEST guide! He wouldn’t just point to show me something cool he would grab me and push me right up to where I should be to see whatever cool thing it was!

About 15 minutes into our dive Sam grabbed my camera (I had been in the wrong setting for everything) and got it set up for a video, at that point he began recording, gave me back the camera and grabbed me and pushed me towards this shark!!! RIGHT TOWARDS A SHARK!!

He motioned for me to touch it! I was like “man you are crazy! I am not touching that shark it will kill me!!” But then he proceeded to show me it wasn’t going to do anything because it was a harmless reef shark and I went for it! We swam after it quickly for about a minute before I got distracted by a beautiful school of yellow fish!

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SUCH A COOL EXPERIENCE!

My other favorite part of my first dive was when I was out exploring and Sam cornered this fish and grabbed it! Just like hand catching fish was his normal daily thing! He then hands this fish to me… And it grew… and grew… and grew… It got slimier, slimier, and slimier! I was holding a pufferfish!!!!!! It was a harmless dogfaced puffer fish and SOOOOO cool!! Unfortunately by now my camera battery had died but I still have the memory of what it felt like!

After we ran out of air and surfaced I was ecstatic and signed up for dive number 2! But before we left the reef spot I hopped back in the water for a quick snorkel before a wonderful lunch of prawns, sausages, fruit, potato salad, and yummy tea! I ate my lunch on the front deck with amazing people! I had such a good time getting to know the fellow passengers, including my favorite, a couple celebrating their anniversary Vanessa and John and a fellow scuba diver Allister!

We had just a short boat ride til our next dive spot where Allister and a fun German guy joined Sam and I for a guided tour! This dive I was ready!!! In we went and it was even more beautiful than the first spot!! The corals were stunning and the fish were even more abundant! We saw another Murray Eel and more clown fish!

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My highlight for this dive and possibly my entire Great Barrier Reef experience was RIDING ON A SEA TURTLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Like legit RIDING on a sea turtle!!!! I have a video that Sam took and a ton of amazing pictures!!!

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After this 35 minute dive I was walking on sunshine and the boat ride back was full of fun and chatting!

Once we had docked I didn’t want to change back to the terrestrial way of life! I wanted to keep my sea legs forever! After parting and saying Au Revoir to my wonderful crew and new friends, I went and laid out by the lagoon for a bit before coming back to the hostel, making some dinner, and getting dolled up for a night walking around Cairns!

Out for my walk I passed a guy I knew from my hostel and we walked and chatted for a while before parting ways at the Night Market! It was totally a tourist market with souvenirs out the wazoo, however, my favorite part was the sign I just happened to spot that said 60 minute massage for $15!

Um, YES!!!

I spent the next hour getting pampered and massaged to pure relaxation! After my hour was up the plan was a nice slow stroll along the pier before headed back to go to bed, but as I was out for my stroll I saw a bunch of exchange friends from Melbourne Uni and Melbourne Welcome Week!

So we went out for a round of drinks at what was said to be a hopping place. On Mondays, not so hopping, but still very fun to catch up and just chat!

After a lovely devotional my bed beckoned and thus completed Day 2 of spring break 2.0, my first recreational dives, and a new found hobby!

Diving is AWESOME! And Mondays were meant to be spent like this!!

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70 thoughts on “The Great Barrier Reef Through the Eyes of a Runner.

  1. You have balls! I’m super jealous because I thought I’d be a scuba diving master and when I traveled to hawaii years ago I went on a boat, jumped in the water and began screaming immedietately. Apparently, the captain threw a bunch of food to the fish and they swarmed me. I did not like it at all lol But had I just held out, I would have had an amazing experience like you!

  2. These pictures are incredible. I’m planning a trip to Australia for 2015, specifically for the Great Barrier Reef. This post only helped solidify my plans 🙂
    ps. Your outfit in the first picture is very cute! I like your style!

    Cheers!
    JoAnna
    foreverinparadise.net

    • Thank you so much for the style affirmation JoAnna!!! Being a girl it is always very nice to hear 🙂 AND YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m so glad you are doing the Great Barrier Reef!!!!!! It is SOOO good! If you need any tips on the travel please ask away!!

  3. What a wonderful experience. I have always wanted to scuba dive of some exotic reef. Your pictures show the glory of it all!

  4. Amazing! Getting dive certified is definitely worthwhile, there is such an amazing world down there. I’m surprised to see you riding the turtle, around here they’re super-protected and we give them lots of space. The fish are beautiful!

  5. Wow Mel. You are out doing things I have dreamed of. I’m so thrilled for you and your adventures. Keep the posts coming I do enjoy reading them. I love you sweetie. Enjoy enjoy enjoy

  6. I guess you had a break from running. 🙂 I would so love to scuba dive but I think you need a permit or formal lesson to do so, right? I would so love to be there to witness it myself! Love the colors!

  7. What an amazing time. I always wanted to snorkel but I’m afraid of not being able to breath or swim. One day, I’m going to just do it, because it looks like an experience that can only be enjoyed under water.

    • I find snorkeling actually a little harder than diving because you have to worry about cleaning out your snorkel from splash water all the time, I definitely recommend doing the diving instead where you are guaranteed water free air! You can do it 🙂

  8. This is many people’s travel fantasy – what an amazing experience. The water is SO clear! My biggest fear in life is sharks so I am sure I would have been freaking out, but that turtle kind of makes it all worth it!

  9. Wow! I am definitely living vicariously through these pictures. I’ve always wanted to visit the great barrier reef…and begin land-locked in Texas makes it seem all the more fascinating!!

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