On Monday, I decided to splurge and go on another scuba diving trip, this time out of Port Douglas on the Silversonic Diving and Snorkling Adventures to the outer ribbon of the Great Barrier Reef at Agincourt Reef. We went to three diving sites and I went diving at the first and third. My goals of the day were simple: see Nemo and swim with a turtle. When I asked the day before about the weather conditions, the company said moderate, but our ride out was not moderate in my book. It was borderline rough. Thankfully I had taken a Dramamine and two ginger tablets before boarding.
The majority of the intro scuba divers had been diving before, so I ended up in a group with my new friends at my table on the boat, Brad and Harris (Australian/Greek) and a fellow American from California, Erin. At our first dive site, Tami got us suited up and went over all of the skills again. Erin and I went in the water before the guys and for some reason I started having mild anxiety. I came up to get some breaths out of the water and when I went back down it happened again. Tami told me to stay at the top while she did the skills with the guys and then come down. After it happened a third time, I was almost ready to give up and get back on the boat, but (thankfully!) Tami insisted I just close my eyes whenever I started to feel anxious and hold onto her for the first bit. Scuba anxiety crisis averted. I hadn’t felt any anxiety in the Whitsundays, so I had no clue why it happened then, but once I swam around underwater for a while, it was so much fun! We saw lots of pretty corals and Nemo’s cousin, a black clown fish, but nothing too crazy on our first dive.
I opted to wait for dive site number three to do my second dive, since it boasted Nemo and was called Turtle Bay…um, hello, Crush, I’m coming for youuu!! After the guys did the second dive site, they came back on the boat to let me know they had seen a turtle. I was going to be sooo disappointed if we missed out on turtles in Turtle Bay. The boat had a delicious lunch spread with fresh fruit, giant prawns, pastas, veggies and chicken skewers. At the second dive site, you could see the waves breaking on the reef at the edge of the Continental Shelf. Pretty cool.
After lunch, we arrived at dive site number three – Turtle Bay. Our original foursome got suited up again (it’s reallyyyy not fun putting back on a wet wetsuit, especially when it’s windy and slightly overcast) and got in the water. I was trying out my new GoPro dive lens, so I filmed the whole thing (unfortunately I put in the wrong ring in between the lens and filter, so filter seal wasn’t tight enough resulting in some water between the lens and filter and the footage isn’t the best). Turtle Bay was awesome! We had a giant Maori Wrasse following us around the whole dive and you could hold onto him and swim around. We saw Nemo protecting his anemone, found a string ray, saw lots of corals and sea cucumbers and finally found a turtle! I actually spotted the little sucker napping under some coral. I don’t know how I spotted him because I’m terrible at spotting things, but I saw his butt sticking out and started shouting “turtle, turtle, turtle” through my regulator and frantically making the turtle hand signal. Erin, who was right behind me thought I was shouting shark. I finally got the attention of Tami and the guys and they came down to check out the turtle. Unfortunately he was sleeping and wouldn’t budge, but it was still exciting. A few minutes later, Tami spotted another turtle and I was off like a shot to swim with him. She told me later on the boat, she thought to herself, oh crap, I shouldn’t have pointed that out to them because that turtle is about 14m deep and as intro divers we were only allowed to go 12m deep and she knew how much I was obsessed with turtles. I was almost at the turtle when Tami started pulling me back (at 11.9m deep) but I still got a good look and it was rad!
(Me & the Maori Wrasse)
(a blurry Nemo!! & ray)
(turtle #2; sign for turtle that I was frantically making)
The boat ride home was even rougher than the ride out and I may have had a mild bout of seasickness. All in all, a fantastic trip (even with the overcast weather, since the trip was mostly a dive trip) and I’m really glad I got in another scuba diving session in the Great Barrier Reef!