Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Great Barrier Reef: Day 2

We were woken Sunday morning at 5:50 to prepare for our 6 oclock dive! The videographer was also up filming us as we woke up and joined everyone in the saloon for hot tea before we got into our COLD, WET wetsuits.

We geared up, jumped into the water and headed out to explore the reef. Around 8meters under, I had difficulty equalizing my ears, my left ear was in a great deal of pain. I swam upwards slightly and kept trying to equalize. After a few minutes, it wasn't fair for me to hold up both Rhi's and Merete's dive simply because I couldn't equalize my ears so I returned to the boat while they continued their dive. Upon returning to the boat I couldn't bear the thought of getting out of the water. I asked the guy on watch if I could just dive a little around the boat and he could watch out for me. He said yes, assuming I would be snorkelling, I dove around for a little while and then surfaced. I realise now, with a little more experience, that what I did was stupid and I'm lucky I remained shallow and close to the boat, and that nothing went wrong.

8am, our second dive of the day - my ears still hadn't equalised from the 6am dive and I remained on the surface, boo! The videographer agreed to film us at our 11am dive so both Mereta and I could do our skits and skills together.

11am, my ears had equalised! I jumped into the water so happy to finally be back in. We went underwater and performed the skills. The videographer, Daniel, had brought down an empty beer can so as we took the regulator out of our mouth we could pretend to drink beer underwater. He'd also brought down a pair of sunglasses, sunnies, so as we took our masks off we could put them on and pose underwater. Had a lot of fun with the beer, but again got nervous to remove my mask and didn't. We had bought some props for our skit. I won't tell you about it, as I purchased the video and hope to be able to post it in a few weeks once I'm back in NY, you need to see the corals, the fishies, its too incredible to describe even though I am trying...

Once out of the water, as I had chickened out, I had one last dive to complete my certification and also had to remove my mask 3 times in that last dive to become comfortable with the procedure. I joined the new group of open water divers for the 4pm dive and realised I had actually progressed in my comfort level, watching them perform the skills made me realise I had already improved quite a bit! It also made me confident enough to remove my mask and clear it three times, whew, done!

Then, I did my first night dive! It also counted as my first dive towards becoming an advanced adventure diver. Completing diver certification, mostly makes you realise how much you still need to learn to become a confident diver. How to remain calm underwater should anything go wrong, how to learn what can and cannot be touched, how to maintain neutral buoyancy, how to breathe slowly to maximize your air, etc. I didn't feel at all ready to become qualified as an advanced adventure diver.

My first night dive was guided and I didn't see too much, no sharks, no crustaceans. I did see many red sea bass who use the light from our torches to hunt small fish. It's so much fun to find a small ugly fish, so as not to kill the pretty ones, and keep your torch on it and watch the red sea bass trying to eat them! I did see a sting ray buried in the sand beneath me at one point. I really wanted to disturb the sand and watch it swim away, but I remembered Steve Erwin and resisted.

Day 2 ended with me as a certified scuba diver and ready for bed by 10pm. The stars out on the ocean, on the boat are so beautiful, so bright that a few of us went onto the bow of the boat and stargazed for an hour. I've never in my life seen stars like this, in under an hour we saw easily 20 shooting stars, a few of them were like fireworks, you could see the tail blazing as they burned up in the atmosphere! The milky way was so visible, and as none of us were astronomers we invented our own shapes for the stars, like the manta ray :)

No comments: