Saturday, September 19, 2009

Bobbing along on the bottom of the beautiful briny sea

Thursday morning I was up bright and early and off to the airport to grab my flight to Cairns (Pronounced "Cans" as Aussie's are r-prejudice). Flight was great, and stepped off the plane into 30 degree heat surrounded by rainforest and mountains.
Made my way to the hostel which was a hole in the wall across from the Esplanade Lagoon. There is no swimming or beach right on the coast of Cairns as the water is FULL of crocodiles and jelly fish. After meeting another lovely Canadian, Siobhan, we went out for the night, followed by a tough day eating tim tam's and drinking wine by the pool.
Saturday consisted of the coolest thing I have ever done in my life...yet. Siobhan and I began our tour on a "rustic" looking boat, choosing functionality over comfort. All I can say is I started to get my sea legs for about the first 1.5 hour of the trek on the rocky ocean almost losing it the last 1/2 an hour at which point we had to slow down to reach our destination. I'd never been more willing to throw myself into unknown water.
After we got into our wet wetsuits (it's like, trying to put on a second skin that chafes through the entire process) we slapped on our snorkel masks and went for it.
Snorkeling is the most peaceful experience to begin with; floating around and the only thing audible is your breathing. And then, to top it off with unbelievable fish, and coral in every shape, size, colour, design you can think of is breathtaking (Although, this is ok when snorkeling because you have your breathing tube).
Next, it was time for the intro dive. We had a weight belt slapped on, followed by the enormous backpack, horked in our masks, held the breathing piece and were gently shoved in. We learned a few tricks on land about equalizing your ears, getting water out of your mask, and what to do if your "Life" (mouthpiece) falls out.
Sure enough, I was overly excited, able to coordinate the skills on top of the water, and the guy told me to "hold the rope on the way down, don't forget to equalize your ears, and I'll meet you down there mate, once I help these guys." WHAT?! Before I could take my life out of my mouth to object, he pressed the blue button that deflated my jacket and I began to sink. The only thing I could do, was breathe like Luke's father, and pop my ears as frequently as I could remember.
Before I knew it, I was literally sitting on the bottom of the ocean (because the weights were too heavy at this moment) watching the other's come down. So what to do in the mean time? Have a stroll on the ocean floor.
After we were all sorted and I was able to swim, he showed us a few things we could touch, but mostly just look at as close as possible without falling on it. I touched the inside of a clam which made it close, rubbed a few sea cucumbers, saw a school of buffalo fish, maybe saw a shark, but am in denial about it, nemo fish, and way too many other things to describe.
Diving was REALLY fun. I would definitely try it again as this time around it was difficult getting used to breathing underwater, the equipment, etc.
That's all for now as I'm off to book the next destination. Chat ya from Townsville.

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