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 !
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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