Why were you inspired to do this?
I qualified as a scuba diver in November 1989 in the cold Bay of Fundy Waters. The water was 4 degrees celcius and it was not a pleasant diving experience. After I walked up the snow-covered beach I decided that scuba diving should be done in warmer climates and preferably on a reef. It took almost ten years but I got my opportunity in 1996 when I was traveling around Australia. As one of the 7 natural wonders of the world I made this a priority of my trip.
What were 3 things you did to make this happen?
Getting qualified – I was fortunate as I still had my diving certificate from the course I took previously. Dive companies require a copy of your certificate so be sure to bring it with you.
Getting there – Cairns in Northern Queensland is the launch point for excursions to the outer reef. I chose to travel there as part of an OZ Experience around Australia trip. There are many ways to get to Cairns and plenty of places to stay when you get there.
Booking a trip – As part of the Oz Experience they organized our trip with Tusa Dive. www.tusadive.com. It cost about $150 back then and we got two dives as part of our day trip.
How did you feel once you had accomplished this?
I was pretty nervous and was a bit stunned when I hit the water. It all felt so foreign to me, but I was finally able to relax and it all came back to me when we started to descend. We were diving about 75 feet to Miln Reef and the first thing I noticed was the variations of colour on the reef. Surrounding the reef is every type of fish you can ever want to see. It’s a rare treat to be in the underwater world of a reef and I was quite overwhelmed with the diversity and animation of the fish in their natural environment. The highlight of the dive came as we approached two reef sharks. We circled overhead and watched them go about their business. They truly are powerful to look at and bring such intensity to an otherwise serene environment. I loved the experience and really appreciate why the reef is considered one of the 7 natural wonders of the world.
Additional notes and tips:
If you are not a qualified diver you can still go diving on what they call a resort dive. They send an instructor down with you and you get to go through the same experience as qualified divers!!