You live once, so why not do what you were born to do! In fact, everyone has a bucket-list written in their personal diary which perhaps they want to strike off before they die. Being the adventurous person I am, scuba diving and sky diving which are challenging sports, were always at the brim of my bucket-list. And I could not have asked for more as I landed at nature’s biggest gift to Australia, the Great Barrier Reef in Cairns, Queensland. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever experienced in my life. I was in a different world all together with fish all around, complemented by coral reefs.
Scuba diving is an adventurous sport which also tests your limits. To be honest, being a first time diver, I was a bit nervous. I am not a great swimmer either. But then, growing up on ‘Man Vs Wild’ and being a big fan of British adventurer Bear Grylls, I couldn’t but do it.
“Bravery is about facing up to the things we fear the most, and overcoming and conquering those fears,” someone rightly said. And I was in the middle of the Pacific Ocean testing my limits.
For those like me who are first timers, I would only suggest that there is only one rule of diving: to ‘equalize’.
Now, what is equalize? It perhaps took me one unsuccessful dive or a couple of hours to understand that. I went almost 10- meter deep inside the ocean, of course with the swimsuit and oxygen mask and other equipment, but my ear started hurting. My instructor Irene told me I can’t dive any more as I was not being able to equalize. I got tad worried as I had come all the way from Melbourne just to dive. But then, my instructor taught me the right method and I tried again. Equalize means when you swallow, your soft palate muscles pull your Eustachian tubes open, allowing air to rush from your throat to your middle ears and equalize the pressure. That’s the faint “pop” or “click” you hear about every other swallow. In simple terms to equalize means to close your nose with your fingers and try to pump air out from your ears. It will make a pop up. This is the simplest definition of equalizing. So finally, I made it to the reef. I was one lucky person to see the United Nations world heritage site, Great Barrier Reef. I observed amazing varieties of fish, Jellyfish, tortoise and some divers were also fortunate enough to see baby sharks.
Before the diving, we had done snorkelling, so I felt quite confident inside the water. After 40 minutes of diving and 20 minutes of snorkelling we were back onboard the ’Passion Paradise’, one of the best cruise from Cairns to the Great Barrier Reef. I dived almost 10 meters deep in the ocean and beheld the coral reef. I felt I was alive like a fish and there was a reason to it.
The cruise had amazing diving instructors like Nick, Denis and Irene to name a few, who were so friendly and made me very comfortable inside the water. Before diving we were also given instructions like how to use underwater sign marks to talk to your instructors. It reminded me of the Bollywod movie ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’, where Katrina Kaif, the actress helps superstar Hrithik Roshan dive and teaches how to use sign marks under water.
Nick also suggested me to do a pro diving 5-day course which probably I would do it in my next trip to Cairns.
Later on after having a lovely lunch we moved to our next location which was Michaelmas Cay Island. It was one of the most beautiful things on earth. I loved the island with birds chirping all over. We met two girls from Canada, who were onboard with us, one of them was Helena. We went snorkelling again with our diving instructor Denis. This reef was in fact more beautiful and my friend Dong didn’t hesitate in taking underwater photos from his go pro.
On the way back to Cairns, we had coffee and some biscuits onboard passion of paradise, where I met people from different places including Canada, Italy, Scotland and the UK, who had come to see one of the most beautiful things on earth.
Great Barrier Reef is unfortunately dying due to climate change. In fact, scientists have predicted that in the next 50 years there would be no reef alive. Teams of researchers from James Cook University in Cairns are returning to the same 83 reefs that they surveyed underwater in March 2016 at the height of the bleaching event.
“Millions of corals in the north of the Great Barrier Reef died quickly from heat stress in March and since then, many more have died more slowly,” says Dr. Greg Torda, whose team recently returned from re-surveying reefs near Lizard Island.
The Australian Government has certainly a great responsibility to preserve this heritage site which generates millions of revenue through tourism.
Anyways, on the way back we were all proud of getting a successful diving certificate from our instructors. Nick, the diving instructor also held a short presentation talking about the reef and things the government need to do to prevent the reef from extinction.
It was 5 pm when we reached Cairns after beautiful nine-hour trip which I would always cherish. We said adios to all the diving instructors and headed back to our backpackers hostel where I cooked lamb curry for dinner to celebrate with my friend Dong……………..Adios Cairns, it was lovely knowing you.. see you soon!!!