The final ‘okay’ hand signal given, the BCD’s deflate as we slowly sink, our heads disappearing from the surface. The Great Barrier Reef of Australia is a bucket list item for millions, but unfortunately for many and future generations this may remain an unchecked box.
I’ve wanted to do this since I was a child after developing a fascination with Australia, primarily due to watching Steve Irwin obsessively. Before I ever really wanted to dive, I wanted to dive here, and unfortunately even I feel I was too late. By no means am I an expert diver or even a very experienced one with a mere 19 dives under my belt in 4 separate locations. First in Koh Tao, Thailand for my open water. Secondly in Malapascua, Philippines for my advanced and nitrox license. Third was Gili Islands, Indonesia and finally my ‘dream’ of the Great Barrier Reef which was also the most disappointing.
We went to two locations for self-guided fun dives. Due to the large gaps that tend to be between my dives, there is always some sort of level of amazement. While I was stoked to see a white tip reef shark larger than the previous one I spotted, over all I was underwhelmed.
I’m not sure if it’s because I had such high expectations wanting to do this since I can remember or maybe it was the particular dive sites that were chosen by the company that day. Possibly doing a self-guided tour with only a dive buddy that had a similar level of experience, I just didn’t know what to look for and swam right by things that a guide with ‘underwater eyes’ would have pointed out.
Sadly, at the end of the day as Cairns came back into view I had mixed feelings about my experience. A childhood goal achieved along with a crushed dream in a sense. It was merely a box that was now checked as I considered putting the eraser to it. I hope that for future generations, we as humans can do something for this ‘protected’ site and restore it to its glory even though many say it is now irreversible.
For those interested in seeing the Great Barrier Reef, the sooner the better. There are many good companies located in Cairns. Deep Sea Divers Den was the company I chose. Check them out here.
Have you ever dove here? What was your experience like? Let me know below!