Why You Must Add Scuba Diving at the Great Barrier Reef To Your Bucketlist
Recently I wrote about my trip to Cairns and briefly covered my experience at the Great Barrier Reef. I knew right away that I needed to delve deeper into my amazing experience. Never fear, this is where I’m going to tell you EVERYTHING you need to know about taking a trip out to the Great Barrier Reef and what to expect. To discover more about the rest of my trip to Cairns click here.
Going to the Great Barrier Reef has been on my bucket list since…well, since I saw Finding Nemo. Regardless of my Disney inspiration I have always been fascinated by this vast, underwater beauty. The news of late that the Great Barrier Reef is dying off and being bleached has pressured me to visit while I still had the opportunity.
I did a lot of research on what type of tour I wanted to go on and ended up going with a company called Down Under Cruise and Dive. I was so pleased with my decision to go with them. Everyone was super friendly and I seriously considered working for them one day (and it to the list of my ever-growing dream jobs). I started off the day getting a safety training for my intro scuba dive and by the time we were finished I was arriving at the reef itching to get my feet in the water! The view above the water was spectacular and I was just about to find out how much better it was down where it’s wetter (had to throw in a Disney reference at some point right?)
The first reef our boat arrived at was Norman Reef which was chosen between two other reefs for the best visibility factoring in currents, weather, etc. My scuba group wasn’t scheduled until the second reef so I could relax and enjoy snorkeling, taking pictures, and following all the fish I saw while I was here. I loved how relaxed the trip felt and that our tour was the ONLY group at the reef! It made for a wonderful experience. I wasn’t sure what to expect the reef to be like since I was expecting it to be a bunch of dead coral. I was so glad when I saw so many fish swimming between healthy coral. I easily saw over fifty different types of fish and even got to see a bunch of GIANT clams! I’m not kidding, these things were HUGE!
After a little over an hour of snorkeling our boat headed over to Hastings Reef for our last stop. The ride was the perfect length to enjoy a traditional Aussie BBQ, catch some rays, have a drink (if you weren’t about to dive, so not me.) and take in the beautiful views. Once at the next reef there were tours other people booked like taking a helicopter ride, a semi-submersible submarine, and guided snorkeling trips. I would have loved to go on some of these but scuba diving was definitely higher on my must-do list.
Now was the time, I finally get to go scuba diving again after my first time almost a year to date. Since I’m not a certified diver I had to go through a few exercises before we went on our merry way. During our dive we went down about 12 meters (40 ft for my American friends). Being under the water like this was so humbling and made me appreciate the ocean that much more. We got to see more fish, even more giant clams, and sharks! Well actually I didn’t get to see the shark. I was getting out of the water after our dive and my instructor called me back and told me he just saw one under the boat because he knew I wanted to see them so badly. Needless to say I jumped back in the water with just my mask (because I’m reckless like that) and looked for him. Of course it had already swam away but since my instructor was so wonderful he decided to take a lap around the boat and guide him back to me. If I wasn’t so excited to see a shark I would have (and probably should have) been terrified. In the end I didn’t get to see my shark but to know there was one so close anyways was exciting.
After all of the snorkeling, diving, and helicopter rides were finished we started our journey back to Cairns and what better way to celebrate a fantastic day than with a wine and cheese platter!? Now it wasn’t anything fancy but since when have I ever passed on free food/drinks? The answer to that is never! The rest of the ride back was dedicated to getting some sun and enjoying the boat’s relaxation areas. It was the perfect ending.
My tour of the Great Barrier Reef was seriously so amazing. I know I’ve said that probably too many times but it’s because I really believe it. Getting to experience one of the natural wonders of the world before it completely dies was such a blessing and I’m eternally grateful that I was able to go. A trip back to more reefs is on the list one day and when I go I’m going to make sure I’m a certified diver!
Has anyone been to any other reefs and the Great Barrier Reef? Any other good experiences with tour companies? I’d love to hear what you all think!
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*Disclaimer: All thoughts and opinions are my own and I was not sponsored to write this article.
**Featured image borrowed from Stephanie Sykora