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May 19, 2012

Vagabonding Field Reports: Diving at the Great Barrier Reef

Airlie Beach marina in late afternoon

Cost/day: $50
Excludes diving trip costs which vary considerably.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen lately?

It wasn’t what I was expecting when I signed up for a 2 night 3 day introductory diving trip to the Great Barrier Reef. The winds were gusting, the rains driving and half of our passengers had fled the boat out of either a sense of fear or general sea sickness. Still, those that remained and pushed on out to the outer reef were a hearty bunch.

Our boat soared like an eagle, rising up on the waves before plunging her bow deep into the waters, breaking all forward motion with a thunderous clap. At the bow were two young and brave girls that were riding this bucking bronco of a boat like Major Kong, screaming as the cold water splashed up, washing over them with each smash of the waves. Insane? Or just full of life. Whatever it was, the image of the two girls screaming with delight and bravado at mother nature is one I won’t soon forget.


Describe a typical day:

Pretty much every town along the east coast in Australia has some kind of public lagoon. They are usually the most beautiful public spots you could imagine. It’s really the quintessential Australian hangout. If I’m not at the lagoon then I’m playing in the surf. The east coast of Australia has some of the greatest beaches you will ever see in your life. Most hostels along the coast will rent you a board to play on or a bike to kick around for the day. In some spots there will be a national park nearby for a hike or a great place to relax and enjoy a picnic lunch.

Describe an interesting conversation you had with a local:

We stayed with the parents of a good friend from back home who happen to live in Noosa. While we were there, we took a trip to a nearby market which was full of fortune tellers. I had my fortune read as did Ria, our host, who does so regularly.

To my surprise, the fortune teller was able to accurately tell my recent story of life changes, travelling and general employment in the technology sector. I would normally have been closed minded about such things but travel has changed that. After all, why should I treat such an experience with a closed mind while I take in other travel moments openly?

We ended up discussing fortunes, how they never quite turn out exactly as told but also never miss the mark by much. It was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.

What do you like about where you are? Dislike?

The beaches of Australia’s east coast are really incredible. To swim in them doesn’t cost a dime and you’ll meet every walk of life. Also, the Great Barrier Reef, and diving in general, is something I will never forget. The colours of the reef, the life, the silence of being under water. Incredible.

Australia also has a darker side which involves their history with the local native population. Problems like gambling and alcoholism affect all parts of Australia but seems to touch the native population in particular. Going further north, I have come across more and more of this side of Australia. It reminds me that while the country is prospering, there is still much that needs to be done to ensure that all parts of the country benefit and are treated properly.

Describe a challenge you faced:

The decision to go diving in Airlie Beach was not an obvious one. It had been raining pretty constantly since we got there. In the end, my wife and I decided to go for it. The resulting trip was filled with sea sickness, rough waters and driving rain. Getting through that trip took a strong stomach, trust in the professionalism of the crew and a general attitude of wearing a smile at all times, rain or shine.

What new lesson did you learn?

You can’t control everything. But you can control your attitude which is more important. How you enjoy something is entirely up to you. If it’s raining, you will get wet. That doesn’t mean you have to get down however. Attitude is everything.

Where next?
We are off to Italy.

Posted by | Comments (3) 
Category: Vagabonding Field Reports


3 Responses to “Vagabonding Field Reports: Diving at the Great Barrier Reef”

  1. Duncanq Says:

    I actually prefer the beaches in WA. Less crowded and no stingers! :)

  2. Duncan Says:

    Oops. Apparently i’m not awake yet. can’t even spell my own name!

  3. mrcap Says:

    Thanks for great blog! I just love that cost/day thing. It really help me to plan my own trip.

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