Tag Archives: Byron bay

The Great Barrier Reef Review and Introductory Dive!

This post is probably surprisingly coming from someone who actually has a fear of swimming in the ocean. I absolutely love being at the beach but i usually panic when anything touches my foot and come straight back out again. As you will know, Australia is home to some of the most deadly sea creatures that do actually make an appearance from time to time where people swim. A week after I was paddling on a beach in Byron bay a man was killed by a shark . Not exactly the most comforting of news! Before I set off for Oz The Reef was something at the top of my list of things I wanted to do, yet once we had booked it I couldn’t stop having nightmares about it! No jokes, I kept dreaming that Luke lost the camera under water and dived right down to get it and gets taken by a shark, it was really stressing me out lol !

It takes about an hour and a half to get to the outer reef from Cairns on the boat. The day was started by being given tea and bacon sandwiches on board and then followed by me sitting there quietly with Luke asking me if I was ok every five minuets. I wasn’t sure haha!
It was nice to see that Our boat wasn’t packed full, everyone had a seat and enough room to move about. Luke and I sat opposite a lovely German couple who looked so young for their age. Apparently being a gymnast can stop you ageing by about ten years! ha !

reef friends

So let’s get down to the bit you want to really hear about- I was in group 1 for the scuba dive. I got dressed into my wet suit, put my googles on and was told to sit down at the edge of the platform at the back of the boat. One of the crew put a belted weight around my waist and placed the oxygen tank etc on my back. It was so heavy!! I placed the regulator in my mouth and plonked myself in the water. Dylan the instructor took my hand and led me down to a bar to hold onto under the boat.reef bar

I could hear myself breathing , extremely quickly. I looked out in front of me and just saw a vast expanse of blue. My heart was pounding. Dylan looked at me and did the ‘ok’ hand signal, I did it back. You can tell from my eyes I was trying my best to remain calm haha.

reef clo

In front of me was a rather large fish with small teeth, it was getting nearer and nearer and I started to panic. I pushed myself up to the surface and managed to calm myself down. Once I was ready I made my way back down to the bar. After a few minuets of getting used to not breathing through your nose and relaxing into it all, Dylan then led me further down. I could see all the coral infront of me, it was a lightish brown colour with some patches of light pink and a brighter blue. Not like the illumines pictures you see on the internet but still beautiful all the same. The water was such a Lovely clear blue colour. If it had been cloudy I don’t think I could have done it. Being able to see so clearly made me feel safer.

.scar reef

As we got deeper more and more fish began to swim past us. Up close Parrot fish look so big. They have incredible colours! It’s easy to see how they got their name, they move their fins in a way like a bird up and down and their faces really do resemble beaks.parott fish

Shawls of tiny blue fish whirled past us and I held on to Dylan’s arm for dear life. He signalled to me that I could go off on my own but I wasn’t ready for that! I felt safe knowing he knew what he was doing, concentrating on breathing and looking at the fish was enough multitasking for me right now. We ventured lower together and he pointed to a clown fish doing little circles of his house. It was so amazing. For any first time diver we all want to say ‘I found Nemo’  Unfortunately we didn’t get a picture. Big shout out to Luke for taking all of these lovely photos by the way! I was too busy concentrating on breathing and looking at things in-front of me i couldn’t  multitask taking photos of it too!

busy fish

It was a great way to practice keeping calm in life actually! It sounds so silly but you don’t really have a choice to allow yourself to be overwhelmed down there, otherwise you might swallow water and start to drown! I think so much of the time in life we think we have the option to start ‘swallowing’ water and allow ourselves to ‘drown’ if you will… I think most of us our stronger than we realize. Everyone should go diving to realize that haha!!

For anyone who is considering going I really would recommend the company we went with ( obviously not being paid to say that and don’t have any mates that work there lol !)

REEF EXPERIENCE COMPANY
http://reefexperience.com.au

C

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The travelling girl who once had the brilliant idea of writing a blog but never did…Part two

I loved Sydney. I think it’s such a beautiful and iconic city. It’s got such a great mix of smartly dressed people scurrying around to their offices and people with dreadlocks, guitars and surfboards waiting for the bus to head to the nearest beach. It did leave me feeling confused at what to wear though. I could go outside wearing my smartish top, skirt and leopard print shoes and feel like I fitted in to then wonder ten minuets away and deeply regret my outfit choice. I soon decided shorts or a dress and flip flops were the way forward.My first taste of hostel life staying at BASE, next to Sydney’s well known scary canary bar was such a laugh. Everyone in my room had just arrived. We all got on so well, I remember not going to sleep until at least 4 am for the first week simply because we all couldn’t stop chatting and laughing hysterically from jet lag. Of course there was the token ‘I’m better than you and i’m going to try steal your boyfriend girl’ she drove me a bit crazy at times but in the end we just settled it with a mutual not acknowledging each other, and my boyfriend thinking she looked like a rat 🙂 a lovely girl called Kate who I met in my first week gave me a free surf lesson she didn’t want to use! I headed to Maroubra beach with the very dashing surf instructor for the day while he called me ‘Kate’ the whole time as that’s what the voucher said haha! I thought I better not tell him my name was Chloe In case I wasn’t allowed to then do it! Surprisingly, I loved surfing. Un surprisingly I’m not a pro.

Everything sounded so expensive when we first arrived ! As the figures are nearly double what they are in England. After our buzz of seeing all the main sites and eating ‘$10 steaks’ for the first 2 weeks we soon realised money would soon be gone if we carried on. I applied for so many jobs but the only thing that came back to me was an au pair job near Bondi. I decided to take a risk as it meant free accommodation and food. Looking back this was an incredibly strange decision seeming as this meant I had to live in with the family away from Luke while he stayed at the hostel in party Central. It was tough…

2 months of being an au pair for a family of 3 boys and 1 new born girl gave me an insight into the ozzy way of life if your under ten. The 2 year old Finn was … An absolute nightmare. I’ve never seen a two year old scream as loudly as he can, for as long, as often. My favourite times with him were spent walking to the park in the morning. He was a lot calmer, and the view from the park was incredible. It looked right over the city.
Being an au pair can be really lonely at times and there were many things I struggled with, such as the mother being very ‘hormonal’ from just having a baby and feeling like I was always on call. I now look back on this time with really fond memories though. I was really lucky to be in such a nice house in the beautiful area of Dover heights. I used to take the bus to Bondi all the time. There are some amazing local cafés along the beach front. I have to mention the ice cream shop ‘Messina’ omg you have to go there. It’s soo goooood. My favourite flavour was fig and Marsala wine. There is also a great little up cycle clothes shop down one of the side streets unfortunately I can’t remember the name!

I don’t know if any of you have Heard of the contraceptive implant called implanon? But NEVER get it! It turned me into a complete psycho. Fair enough I was feeling down with the situation I was in, missing home and Luke but my goodness that thing messed up my moods. I blame having that in my arm for my really low moods during the first 3 months of travelling. I finally got it out and Luke and I both noticed a huuugeee difference in my behaviour almost straight away. It was crazy.

I was relieved to leave Sydney to be honest as it had been a really stressful time for me towards the end. Me and Luke had had some horrendous arguments and it was time to chill out and spend some quality time together…. Byron bay was THE perfect remedy.

A German guy wearing harem style hippy trousers drove us from the bus stop to what has become our favourite hostel. If you go to Byron bay be sure to visit backpackers inn! It’s a magical little town full of floaty clothes wearing people, and raw food delights. I remember writing a post card while I was there and describing it as Byron ‘wheat grass’ bay, to sum it up :p Oh to be back in the sunshine, lying down in a hammock in the garden reading Anne frank. One of my best memories from this whole time is the morning we borrowed bikes from the hostel and drove up to the lighthouse. I hadn’t ridden since I was about ten and had to be re taught by Luke, it was so funny. It’s Also the most eastern point of mainland Australia which is pretty cool. I was exhausted by the time we got to the top of the hill and treated myself to some amazing mars bar ice cream from the lighthouse cafe. Everyone told me they had seen dolphins and whales up there and I’m sure I saw big splashes in the distance from one of the two, I still desperately want to see some up close.
Byron bay’s night life isn’t exactly the best thing you’ve ever seen but it was fun. I found it refreshing that you could go into a ‘club’ with flip flops and literally do nothing with your face and hair and no one would bat an eye lid. Oh yeah, I also entered a bikini competition, cringe. I genuinely thought, why an earth can’t I win this $300? I look so hot right now. Aka reaallyyyyyyy drunk. I think the fact the bar man told me he would give me free drinks all night if I entered also helped. I was stood up on a table along side tall, washboard stomached girls while my boyfriend bless him, cheered me on. He may of been the only one cheering. Haha!!! Safe to say I didn’t win! Screw them aaaallll haha!!! I had fun!
After all the relaxing, embarrassing myself, and gorging on $5 dominoes pizzas we set off up the coast to Brisbane…

C

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