I just upgraded my dive license to a PADI advanced card. I’ve been wanting to do this for a while, and what better place to do it than on the Great Barrier Reef! I flew from Alice Springs to Cairns, and somehow I got upgraded to first class on the flight. Unfortunately I was pretty hung over from the party the last night of the Ayer’s rock trip, so I wasn’t able to enjoy it as much as I should have, but the food was still amazing.
Anyway, I booked a live aboard trip out to the reef for three days. The cost of the certification was only an extra $35.00 US, so I couldn’t say no to that. During the class I ended up with a great dive buddy named Caroline who was extremely competent, and a pleasure to dive with.
The first day we did four dives, including one night dive. There was tons of animal and fish life, but I was disappointed with the quality of the corral. It was later explained to me that in order to see the best of the reef, you have to spend a good bit of money to get out beyond the standard tourist sites. Next time I’ll make sure I take advantage of this knowledge.
The 2nd day we moved to a different spot. While the boat was traveling, we finished up all the book work for the certification. We did another four dives, including one of the best dives that I’ve ever had a camera on. This spot was a lot better than the first day; we saw a white tipped reef shark, surprised a sea turtle, and encountered the biggest potato cod I’ve ever seen. On our night dive that evening we came around a piece of coral and nearly ran right into a sleeping white tip shark. I don’t know if the shark or our group was more startled!
The third day was three more dives and then back to shore. By this time I felt like I’d finally gotten rid of my Antarctic tan, and had finally dropped all my winter weight.