Saturday, January 06, 2007

Scuba Diving in the Great Barrier Reef

I went scuba diving for the first time in the Great Barrier Reef!!!!!!!!!

What an awesome experience! Words don't do justice.

Our boat, the Catameran run by the Down Under company, took us to our first diving spot. Somewhere about two hours from Cairns in the Great Barrier Reef.

On my first attempt, I got scared--no, terrified-- of breathing through my mouth and chickened out. Most of my life, I am a fine swimmer and feel in control in the water. But there's something about being underneath it and having to rely on an oxygen tank. The ear pressure, the tank, the breathing, the vast space underneath the surface, aaaahhhhh.....

My traveling buddy Alicia went in and saw all kinds of amazing fish and sea creatures. When she came up to the boat and told me all about it, I felt horrible for missing out. All because of fear. "It's a whole new world down there," she said.

When you're scared, you stop breathing. A normal human reaction. I was physically fit for diving, but mentally under a tremendous weight of fear.

Good thing the boat took us to a second diving spot. With Alicia's encouragement, I was determined to redeem myself. I can't give up on this. Going home without diving would be a downer. "Don't think,"she told me, "Just look at the fish." I was thinking too much and it got in the way.

Before my second desparate attempt on diving, I asked Alicia if she would write me a good eulogy. She agreed, so down I went...

I descended into the great Australian sea, still struggling a bit with the mouth piece. But after a few minutes, it was-----like she said----a whole new world. Life would not be the same again. (Gotta say that for a dramatically corny effect)

After the first dive, most people are hooked. My English co-worker Thea, who got her diving certificate in Thailand, refuses to snorkel once she's learned how to dive. No, this isn't a snobbish English trait. Just a desire for the finer things in life. (Like I said, I do say nice things about you, Thea.)

Hopefully Alicia and I will go diving again before we leave Cairns. We'll see. All I know is that scuba diving is Da Bomb! And....YIPPYYY... I did my first, of all palces, in the Great Barrier Reef.


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