Since I was little, I was obsessed with the ocean. Picture books of the sea filled my bookshelves, a shell collection decorated my bedroom, and I was dead-set on becoming a marine biologist. That is, of course, until I learned that marine biologists need to know math. And science.
I also wanted my diving license, and asked my parents to buy me the course for my twelfth birthday. But they told me it’d be best if I waited for my younger sister to turn twelve, so that we could take the class together. Reluctantly, I agreed to wait. Then, a few months before my sister’s long-awaited birthday, she announced her complete disinterest in scuba diving. She wanted another Beanie Baby.
But instead of being furious, as you might imagine, I was nearing 16, and my interests had shifted from shells and sea life to push-up bras and dating. The PADI license would have to wait.
Let’s fast-forward 16 years. I’m now 32, and three days ago I landed in Cairns, Australia, to complete my referral dive course on the Great Barrier Reef. And today, I am proud to say that I did it. I am officially a certified diver.
I am also happy to report that it was worth the wait. Being able to spend the last two days breathing underwater next to giant Angel Fish and turtles was unbelievable. Exploring the different types of coral. Spotting sharks. Spending a solid five minutes watching a Clown Fish weave in and out of soft, noodle-like coral.
Let’s just say I’m no longer mad at my sister.
If you want to plan a holiday to Cairns as well, I would suggest booking your Reef trip through a company called Tusa Dive (www.tusadive.com). I went for a 2-day referral dive course and was extremely impressed. The boat was in great condition and very spacious. The staff members were all fun, energetic, and knowledgeable. Even the food was good.
And at the end of your day (or more, if you’re so inclined), you can purchase a USB flash drive full of photos to make your friends and family jealous. *Note: that is, of course, not what I’m doing here.*
Enjoy the following from my two days at the Reef, captured by the onboard photographer from Calypso Productions. And please, comment if you have any questions!