Monday, March 7, 2011

Australia, Part I

Aaron and I just got back from our trip last night, and we are tired! A full day of flying along with a 19-hour time change is a lot to get through.

But, our trip was amazing. I had the absolute best time of my life. I am so glad we did this.

I'm slowly uploading pictures and writing blog posts (as well as getting back into the swing of things at work and home), so this is just the first part of our trip recap.

We were only in Australia for 3 days, but it feels like we packed a lot in. We spent 2 of those 3 days on a boat in the Pacific, floating right on the Great Barrier Reef. We did a 2-day "liveaboard" diving trip, where you actually spend a night on the boat so you can save time by not having to head back to shore. We did 6 dives in total, including one dive AT NIGHT!

It was like an underwater playground. So much to see and explore, I loved it. Each dive was no longer than 45 minutes, and they all ended far too quickly. We saw countless beautiful fish, fantastic coral formations, bright-colored giant clams, plants that danced and moved, bioluminescent algae, etc etc! The best part, by far, were the sea turtles. I've ooh'd and ahh'd about this on facebook already, but I thought I would share the actual story here.

By the last dive of our trip, many of the other folks on our boat had seen various super cool animals: turtles, sharks, sting rays. But Aaron and I had not seen any of these! (not completely true - we had seen 2 turtles on our night dive, but they were sleeping and we couldn't really get close to them) We were definitely on a mission to see something really cool before we headed back to shore. We were at the end of said last dive and I had just signaled to Aaron that I was almost out of air and we should head toward the surface. We slowly made our ascent, just checking out what was going on at the very top of the reef we were on.

We were only at a depth of about 3 meters, just about to surface, when I saw the large sea turtle swimming a circle around the top of the reef. He had just gone behind a rock, and I was trying to point him out to Aaron (the camera man), who was still ascending. Now, trying to get someone's attention when you're diving (and they're not within arm's reach) can be pretty difficult because you're not usually looking at each other and your peripherals are limited by your mask. I basically just flailed my arms, screamed into my regulator, and started knocking on my tank. It worked and I just started pointing at the rock he was behind and frantically gave Aaron the underwater sign for "turtle". Eventually, he came back out from his hiding place, and we actually got to swim with him for a bit & snap a few pictures.

It was amazing. I just felt so lucky to have that experience with nature, however brief.

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