Thursday, October 1, 2009

The beats hot

Day 1

The warmth of the tropical sun welcomes us to Cairns- Tropical Queensland. We touched down to 26’degrees and a scorching beam of sun. We taxied to Mecure Harbourside Hotel which was only 8 minutes from the airport. Got a warm welcome from the staff and an upgrade to a sea view room which is an awesome way to start a holiday! Our room’s got a great view on the balcony looking out to the horizon and palm trees.

We went out to take a walk along the esplanade which reminds me of Beverly Hills. There was a path along the beach for people to walk, run, rollerblade, skate, cycle and walk their dogs on. Palm trees, memorabilia, bbq areas, bubblers (aussie term for water fountains), wild pa

rrots, exercise areas and children playgrounds were along the path. At the end of the route, there’s a really cool lagoon.

Dad and I explored the township; we bought fresh prawns to cook up and a dozen local beers.

Scuba Steve

Day 2

This morning i got picked up by Scuba Steve! Here begins my 5 day Open Water Course with Pro Dive. Steve’s really cool, he reminds me of Mr Hottie from the gym. We began with morning tea, an ice breaker game and started Module 1 & 2. During lunch time, we got our medical tests done which included answering a questioner, ear pressure test and lung capacity test. After lunch we jumped into the pool- we had to swim 16 laps and thread water for 10mins. After we passed these tests, we learnt how to set up our scuba gear and heaps of diving skills.

Holy Trinity... I’m so filled up... on prawns!

Day 3

Dad went out to the Great Barrier Reefs today on a day tour. He got to see nemo before me! But told nemo to wait there as i’ll be seeing him the next day.

Today’s my 2nd day at course. We started with 3 hours of pool training. Combined with yesterday’s training, we have basically covered everything we need to know when scuba diving in the ocean. The most amazing feeling was hovering in mid water feeling weightless. This is the closest feeling to being an astronaut! You could do summersaults, do moon jumps all while breathing into the regulator sounding like Darth Vader :)

For lunch we went out as a group to a night market food court then went to the chemist to buy sea-sickness pills and to Pro Dive’s shop to pick up the gear we’ll be taking onto the boat the next day. After this we went back to the training centre where we did Module 3, 4, 5 and sat the final exam.

The whole class passed the theory part- half way to our dive certificate!

For dinner tonight, free flow of giant tiger prawns the size of a hand, gorgeous dessert selections and freshly brewed coffee attracted us to have a buffet at Acacia Court Hotel.

Tomorrow, my bathers (aussie term for togs) will become my underwear as i board a boat for 3 days, 2 nights scuba diving trip out to the Great Barrier Reefs! This will consist of 4 training dives + after the second day, i will be a certified diver!! Then we get 4 dives as a certified diver and a heap of snorkelling time.

Diving the Outer Great Barrier Reef

Day 4

We headed to Milln Reef – Pataj where we did two dives. The weather was absolutely fantastic! Calm water, strong sun and clear visibility. The first dive was at 10:30 to 9m. We practiced the skills we learnt in the pool here- flooding our masks with salt water was not comfortable at all! Our second dive was at 14:26 to 15m. Both these dives included an underwater tour- it was truly amazing to see so many creatures in the deep sea. After every dive, the chef would prepare a healthy meal for us to fuel up on, followed by heaps of sun on the top deck. We finished off with snorkelling around The Whale. This was a great opportunity for us to use our underwater camera.

More greater diving

Day 5

Today we graduated to become certified open water scuba divers!!! We had our graduation ceremony underwater :) our first dive of the day was at Milln Reef- The Whale at 07:23 to 16.7m and the second dive at The Tennis Court at 10:50am to 14.6m. after the second dive- we got our certificates- HELL YEAH! The third dive for the day was at Gordon’s Morning at 15:07 to11.5m, this was our first solo dive without an instructor. My buddy and I saw three turtles and clown fishes (nemo). Being the first time on our own, it was very strange! I felt like an alien intruding on the creature’s world. Like giant freaks bubbling our way through the underworld. Some fishes will stare at you face to face and clams open and shut on you.

We also had a night dive! This felt even weirder! It’s all dark around you and you can only identify people by a glow stick they wear on their tank. Sometimes when you fall back and watch people swim by, it looks like a clip off a spacey movie. Totally awesome, indescribable

We saw reef sharks! They came to the surface as we were feeding the fish. The sharks tried to chomp down on some fish but the fish were too quick for it. Now you can imagine the feeling we had when we got briefed on our night dive..

More diving and return to Cairns

Day 6

Sunrise in the water! We began our first dive at 06:34 at Gordon’s Morning at 12.6m, what a way to wake up huh! The sun was still rising when we exited the water. Our second and third dives were at Tracys . The dive sites gets better and better! We saw a reef shark, turtles, nemos, parrot fish, barracuda, heaps of colourful corals, clams, sea cucumbers, star fish and plenty more!

After lunch we cruised our way back to Cairns.

Absolutely fantastic trip! The staffs were all very friendly and energetic.