Not Scuba Diving

Today was spent visiting one

of the great natural wonders of this world, the Great Barrier Reef. An early start (warmer) took us to a bus which,

in turn, took us to a boat for the two hour crossing to the reef. I’d booked in with James and Heather to do a

scuba intro, something which I’ve been wanting to do for years, but was disappointed to discover that due to my

asthma, they wouldn’t let me dive. Apparently it doesn’t mean I can’t dive, just company policy doesn’t permit

it without a full medical, and as I hadn’t had mine, it meant no dive. I was understandably irritated. Instead I

booked myself onto a snorkelling tour, and then later a helicopter ride to see the reef from above, and the see

reef’s most photographed icon, The Heart.

Thankfully I wasn’t disappointed. The boat moors up at a large

platform which everyone disembarks onto and can get changed into the appropriate equipment for whatever they are

doing. Activities included the three mentioned above, plus an underwater viewing gallery, sunbathing on an upper

deck, and going for a trip in a semi-submersible (the posh way of saying a boat with a glass bottom, but we knew

what they meant).

The weather was hot; clear skies for the most part and the boat journeys there and back were

vomit-filled for many of the passengers. Thankfully this is the sea I like the best (the movable type) and while

most people were reaching for the sickbags, I was soaking in the sun and salt air.

The snorkelling allowed

fantastic access to the reef walls. Hundreds of fish and corals line the steep banks where we swam, and most of the

fish are fairly friendly. You could drift through large shoals of brightly coloured things, some very inquisitive,

some very small, some very large. There was a chance to hold starfish, coral and to watch clown fish amongst the

reef. Although a bit cold in the water, it was worth every penny. I decided to compensate my lack of scuba with a

helicopter ride, and after chatting with the pilot for a while, was able to get a reduced rate. The view was

spectacular, and if I hadn’t forgotten to bring my camera to the internet cafe, you’d be able to see for

yourself.

The ride back was even more tempestuous, but I lapped it up. We arrived back at 5ish, went shopping

and cooked bolognase on the fire. A good day, despite spilling coffee on myself, forgetting my sunglasses and the

initial disappointment.