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Day 08 – The Great Barrier Reef

Posted on Friday, September 30th, 2011

Dave!Not quite the awe-inspiring experience I was hoping for.

Even before I became a certified diver, I've longed to dive The Great Barrier Reef. It just seems like one of those things that everybody should have on their bucket list. And while my actual dives were nice, it was a fairly underwhelming day. At first I thought it was just me, but my German table-mates felt the same way. I guess we can chalk it up to overly-high expectations?

Or maybe not. Because when I spoke to the dive master, he had mentioned that our first dive site "Coral Gardens" used to be amazingly beautiful. But it was wiped out by a cyclone eight months ago. This begged the question "Why in the heck don't you dive someplace else then?" but I don't know enough about the region to even know how widespread the damage was*.

But oh well. Not every dream is going to turn out as we had hoped, and I've been luckier than most.


I still had a good time. I haven't been diving in well over a decade, but it all came back to me really quickly. I don't know how, but I had forgotten what a wonderful experience diving is. It's about as close to flying as mere humans can get, as you are neither sinking or floating... you just are.

I bought a new underwater camera for the trip, but didn't end up taking many photos. After I almost missed seeing a turtle because I was concentrating on my camera, I thought I'd put my attention to better use. There's just so much to see.

Here's a few snapshots I took before retiring my camera...

The Great Barrier Reef Ocean

Dive Corals

Turquoise Fishy


Giant Sea Slug

Yellow and Black Fishy

Blue Thingy

Strange Thingy

Spongy Thingy

Pretty Blue Fish

Scary Spikey Sea Slug

Giant Mollusk

Odd Starfish

Aussie Red Ensign Flag

Sadly, no sharks made an appearance.

I know people think I'm joking but, having swam with sharks before, I was really hoping to see one. They are absolutely fascinating to watch. And, no, I'm not saying I wanted a man-eating Great White to drop in... just a regular shark would have been fine.

Though the nachos I had for dinner tonight were so bad that I found myself kind of wishing I had been eaten by a shark so I could have avoided the suffering.

For some inexplicable reason, Aussies mix the salsa into the chips & cheese when they make nachos (instead of serving it on the side). This makes absolutely no fucking sense, because the chips on the bottom end up a soggy, inedible mess...

Nacho Soup

Seriously, what the fuck? I've been testing out a lot of unusual dishes since I got here, like this delicious pumpkin-feta pizza from last night...

Pumkin Feta Pizza

But the terrible "nachos" have been my first disappointment. Blargh.

No worries. I'm sure tomorrow's dinner will be awesome.


*Speaking of damages... I was shocked... shocked... at how many people were sick on the boat-ride out. No less than six people were puking their guts out non-stop. Thankfully, I don't get sea-sick, but the sight of so many people hurling was not an easy thing to take in. Fortunately, there are barf-bag stations all over the ship...

Boat Barf Bag Station

And while I really do feel sorry for those people whose day was ruined because of sea-sickness, I find it odd that people don't find out if they are prone to getting motion-sick before paying big money to head out on the open ocean like this.

No worries. I'm sure the rest of their vacation will be great.

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Categories: Travel 2011Click To It: Permalink


  1. Ah yes, Cyclone Yasi, whose radar/satellite images I was showing you in Sydney.. It was a *huge* cyclone, so there was probably nowhere else to go!

  2. kilax says:

    I didn’t realize so much of the reef was wiped out! Your pics are still amazing though!

  3. I totally agree about the nachos. Soggy chips suck.

    You look like you’re having such a great time. Your photos have been amazing! I don’t know if I could do the bug thing though….

    Funny story, when I was young, I had such an aggressive ear infection that my ear drum was perforated and I lost fluid in my inner ear. Thanks to that all boat trips of any kind, & roller coasters are permanently out for me!

  4. Jon says:

    Certified diver? Is there anything you don’t do? You’re like the real-life version of that most-interesting Dos Equis guy!

  5. what kind of underwater camera are you using?

    i know i get motion sick so before last month’s two day fishing charter on lake erie i made certain to take dramamine as it has never failed before. don’t know if i took it too far in advance or should have taken two pills instead of one, but i am certain i should not have gone below deck on such choppy water with only that tiny window to see out of. (as the boat violently rocked it was all WATER. SKY. WATER. SKY. out that little window and it was all over for me.) within the first hour i was silently praying with intense passion that i would not be “that girl who puked” on this trip. took me about five hours to rally, but i refused to hurl, refused to complain, refused to ask to go back to shore and refused to beg someone to kill me please. thankfully hours of concentrating on the horizon and another dose of dramamine did the trick so that i was able to enjoy the fishing i was there to do. (BOOM, biggest fish of the day!)
    all of that was to say i can appreciate sea sickness catching someone by surprise…

    • Dave2 says:

      Even though I hate Panasonic with a passion because every single thing I ever bought from them was shit, I got their Lumix DMC-TS3D because it was consistently rated the best of the compact underwater-ready cameras. It has some annoyances, but I can’t argue the image quality, which is pretty good… and it does seem to work as advertised. Hopefully it doesn’t crap out like every other Panasonic piece of shit I’ve owned. 🙂

  6. Sybil Law says:

    Ewwww – those nachos look HORRIBLE!
    The pizza looks and sounds amazing, though!
    Why aren’t you being paid to take vacations and photos, yet? Seriously?
    Amazing. So happy you’re having a great time. You deserve it!

  7. Dad says:

    You must of inherited your dad’s sea-legs and long time Dutch at sea heritage.

  8. Dave2 says:

    Even though I hate Panasonic with a passion because every single thing I ever bought from them was shit, I got their Lumix DMC-TS3D because it was consistently rated the best of the compact underwater-ready cameras. It has some annoyances, but I can’t argue the image quality, which is pretty good… and it does seem to work as advertised. Hopefully it doesn’t crap out like every other Panasonic piece of shit I’ve owned. 🙂

  9. Ian says:

    I absolutely love to swim but I have never gone diving. I think it something that I will absolutely love, I hope to do it before I turn 30

  10. Yep, the Great Barrier Reef is firmly on my bucket list. Sad to hear that it was somewhere underwhelming.

  11. Suebob says:

    Those nachos look criminal.

    I went on a catamaran in Kauai up the NaPali coast on a day when the ocean was super rough. One lady was very seasick, but that wasn’t the bad part. The bad part was the inconsiderate loudmouth wench who then regaled the boat with tales of every time she had ever been nauseous, in wrenching detail. Lovely.

  12. claire says:

    Ah, motion sickness… yup, it sucks. Thus far, I can get by for an afternoon (which is not to call it “fun”), but cruises and ocean outings aren’t on my list. Which is too bad because I want to visit Egypt some day and the Nile seems the way to go…

  13. Patty says:

    Thx for sharing your photos. Sorry it the great reef wasn’t what you expected. I had similiar ideas on that it was awesome but haven’t been there yet. I want to go to Turks and caicos…supp to be good but it’s all relative.

  14. Mooselet says:

    Yup, I hurled on my way out to the Reef in 2006. In my defence it was rough and I was in my first trimester of Clive’s pregnancy. That’s a recipe for vomit right there. I was also a bit underwhelmed, but probably because I was limited to viewing the coral through very thick glass which washed out all the colours. Sorry Yasi put a damper on things, but as Kazza mentioned the damn thing was so big there was probably no where else to go.

  15. martymankins says:

    Those shots you took gave us readers an idea of what you saw. Very good to see. Glad you enjoyed this dive in the reef.

    As for sea sick, most people normally know they are sea sick, but most seem to forget this when they are on the boat in the middle of the ocean.

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