The Great Barrier Reef

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

I believe that self-growth is all about pushing out of your comfort zone, experiencing new things and  exploring new places. It was this belief that made me sky-dive many years ago despite no real interest in jumping out of a plane. I can't say I particularly enjoyed it but at least I know what it feels like to be hurtling down to earth from over 10,000 feet. It was the same with paragliding although that was much more pleasant (as it was Switzerland rather than A1/fenland with my skydive). My feelings about scuba diving were not dissimilar to that of skydiving but I really wanted to do it and could not think of a better place to do so than the Great Barrier Reef.

 We used Cairns as our hub for exploring the reef and stayed in a fabulous AirBnb place there too. There are *so many* options when it comes to reef exploration from Cairns and we chose a boat that wasn't too big or too slow and had good reviews. After about an hour's sail into the reef area, we stopped to get on to a glass bottomed boat and do some initial lazy viewing of the Reef's offerings.

After that, our interest definitely piqued, we were given thorough safety demos and training. I was mildy terrified ( as I'm not a good swimmer and a wimp) but decided to keep focused to complete my bucket list mission. The diving session started with us being kitted up, testing equipment and procedures at a shallower depth before heading deep into the ocean.

The diving instructors were absolutely brilliant and kept us safe whilst pointing our the wonderful features of the reef. One of my fellow divers had a panic attack and had to be taken back up so I had another instructor guide me - to be honest I was quite pleased to have kept my cool despite this other person throwing a wobbly under the ocean.

The fact is that once you relax and start taking in the magnificent underwater surroundings, you stop feeling terrified and are instead are awestruck but the curious aquatic life around you. My favourite bit was when a big scary fish came into our zone and all the little fish started scurrying away. We were so close to all the action - it was super!

In between diving sessions, we stopped by a little island in the middle of the ocean for a bit of a rest.  It was stunning wee place but the hot Australian sun was beating down mercilessly and our Scotland acclimatised bodies couldn't sun bathe for very long. So we headed back to the boat for another round of snorkeling and diving before calling it a day.

Unlike my skydiving experience, I loved scuba diving ( even if I was hardly a pro) and would highly recommend it to anyone!

Have you sorted out new year resolutions for 2016 and how much of them are about pushing boundaries? I'd love to hear about them! Ann x
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