Australia Photography scuba travel Wildlife

Diving on the Great Barrier Reef

Sunrise over the Great Barrier Reef.
Sunrise over the Great Barrier Reef.
Our home for 3 days with the dive operator Reef Encounter.
Our home for 3 days with the dive operator Reef Encounter.

Truly the highlight of our three weeks in the Cairns area of Queensland was three days spent on the live a board ‘Reef Encounter’. We were taken out to the Great Barrier Reef on a fast catamaran, then transferred over to the floating hotel.

Everyday new customers were brought out and later in the day other customers were taken back. We all had to transit the gangway between the ships.
Everyday new customers were brought out and later in the day other customers were taken back. We all had to transit the gangway between the ships.

We were both very surprised and pleased at what we encountered on the ship. The rooms were very large (bearing in mind you are on a boat), the food was good, and the staff were very friendly. The quality of the gear was excellent.

Every room on the boat had a bin assigned so you could store your wet gear outside your room.
Every room on the boat had a bin assigned so you could store your wet gear outside your room.

We did a total of ten dives while out on the reef. It was like being in a wonderland under the surface. Around every corner there were colourful fish and coral. The weather was perfect for us and the visibility at its worst was 10 – 11 metres.

Giant clams live over 100 years. This one was just over one metre long.
Giant clams live over 100 years. This one was just over one metre long.

The variety was amazing. The dive where we saw the least was the night dive. This was mainly because there were so many Giant Trevally (check out the video link lower down) swimming with us that nothing else dared be out. Every small fish I saw was immediately set upon by half a dozen GT’s and consumed, so I made an effort not to spotlight smaller fish.

One of the dozens of different types of anemones you see on the reef.
One of the dozens of different types of anemones you see on the reef.
A smaller giant clam, only about 50cm long.
A smaller giant clam, only about 50cm long.

I was quite taken with the giant clams. They were all over the place, some free standing and others totally encapsulated by other coral.

The colours of these giant clams was amazing. These one was almost iridescent.
The colours of these giant clams was amazing. This one was almost iridescent.
Some fish just had that look that suggested it was best to just keep floating along.
Some fish just had that look that suggested it was best to just keep floating along.

The most excitement I had was when I apparently encroached on a Trigger fish’s area and it attacked me. It struck at my fins twice before landing a solid bite on the back of my left arm. I had to kick at it with my fins until I was able to retreat from it’s area. Certainly a great reminder as to who is the visitor under the water.

These Moorish Idol fish were alway seen in pairs cruising for food.
These Moorish Idol fish were alway seen in pairs cruising for food.
Karen posing with her favourite underwater creature, the Hawksbill Turtle.
Karen posing with her favourite underwater creature, the Hawksbill Turtle.

There were Hawksbill turtles on nearly every dive, and once we knew what to look for we ‘found Nemo’ everywhere.

There were many fish that I simply could not identify. The numbers were truly overwhelming.
There were many fish that I simply could not identify. The numbers were truly overwhelming.
One of many blue starfish on the reef.
One of many blue starfish on the reef.
The French Angelfish turned up everywhere.
The French Angelfish turned up everywhere.

One of the neatest things to observe was how different types of coral provided a home and a degree of protection to schools of smaller fish. Truly, one could just hover over a patch of coral for 15 – 20 minutes and just watch the complex symphony of life play out in front of you.

A couple of Clown Fish peeking out from their protective sea anemone.
A couple of Clown Fish peeking out from their protective sea anemone.
There were dozens of examples of a specific type of fish living around a specific coral formation.
There were dozens of examples of a specific type of fish living around a specific coral formation.

Before I say farewell from the Great Barrier Reef I will leave you with a video of our time below the surface in the wonderful example of mother nature at work.

On our last day on the Great Barrier Reef.
On our last day on the Great Barrier Reef.

 

Welcome to our travel blog. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to say, "I'm out of here?" Well we did, and in 2013 we made it a reality. We sold or gave away all of our possessions other than what fit in our luggage and we set off on an endless adventure. Part of our goal is to share our experiences with others and hopefully provide some information, motivation, or just a moments escape. The general idea was to look for a place that would be ideal to settle down in. However in the meantime it is about experiencing life in different countries amongst different cultures and learning how to understand and appreciate each other. A large part of our time is spent housesitting which provides an excellent opportunity to experience more of the "normal" neighbourhoods as opposed to the tourist locales. Though we make sure to enjoy those as well. So through plenty of photographs and a running commentary come and share with us our life on the road.

6 comments on “Diving on the Great Barrier Reef

  1. That’s an awesome read and video was great. Sure takes me back. Well done. Your getting good at this eh

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  2. Jenn Pecksen

    Very beautiful!!! The photos are spectacular. So vivid!! Looks really lovely and I really enjoy virtual scuba diving😄 I can’t find the video though😞. Must be doing something wrong. I’m dying to find nemo. Love the photo of Karen with the turtle. Tattoo Sista!!! Love to you both Jenn Sent from my iPad

    >

  3. I am glad you enjoyed the blog. I do not know why the video won’t run, it seems to be working for others. Give it another try.

  4. Great post. Years ago a couple of gal pals and I were in Caines for a conference, so we did a day trip out the Great Barrier and went snorkeling and assisted scuba diving – it was awesome. Your pictures bring back so many great memories!

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