Destination: Great Barrier Reef, Australia

– Scuba Diving the Great Barrier Reef –

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September 2011 Devin and I spent two weeks exploring Australia, and one of the most memorable experiences was scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef in Cairns, Australia.

It’s one of those places you have to see in person to really know the true beauty, and also one of those places that isn’t going to be around forever with the way coral reefs are dying, so I am so happy we went when we had the chance.

We flew from Brisbane to Cairns, spent two days there, and then headed north to Port Douglas for two days to explore the Daintree Rainforest, which again is an amazing site! Some of the most spectacular views of the great barrier reef were from the window seat of the plane ride, so do yourself a favor and sit there!

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In Cairns we booked a snorkeling/scuba diving tour through Passions of Paradise, which took us to two different dive sites: Michaelmas Cay and Paradise Reef and was something like $160 at the time.

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The first dive site was Michaelmas Cay, famous for migratory birds that land on the barrier island, hundreds of them. Great Barrier Reef 4

And is where I got talked into upgrading my snorkel for scuba gear. The tour company does an introductory course to scuba on the boat, you don’t have to be previously certified to dive,  after listening to the instructions for 20 minutes, and testing out your skills while holding onto a rope, you are good to go.

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I was super nervous and uneasy about scuba diving, thinking about being deep below the water’s surface and not being able to come up for air fast enough sent me into a panic like state. I didn’t like the idea of relying on a tank for air, and my mask kept getting full of water, I was ready to give up and ask for my snorkel back. But, our guide was the sweetest guy ever, and he knew how bad Devin wanted to go, so he made a promise to me that he’d stay at my side the whole entire time. Since dying with my arms around a hunky Australian guy wouldn’t be the worst way to die I agreed to scuba dive….

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…and I am so happy I did! I saw a huge manta ray, brightly colored corals, and tropical fish that I used to own in my fish tank. The reef at this site was pretty deep below the water’s surface which was great for scuba diving, because you can really get up close and personal to everything. (I didn’t have an underwater camera, so I wasn’t able to capture the reef on film, but I can still remember to this day, how vibrant and vivid everything was)

At the second dive site, Paradise Reef, we decided just to stick to snorkeling, which was a great choice being that the reefs were really close to the surface of the water. We were able to see everything perfectly without having to scuba.Great Barrier Reef 9

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We swamp up to the beach and chilled in the sun for a bit and before we knew it the day was over and it was time to head back towards Cairns. It was such an amazing experience to see the great barrier reef in person, and something that I highly recommend to anyone visiting Australia. It is not overrated, and is definitely worth it!

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That’s my story…

xoxo, andrea
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