If you ask any of my close friends what the best day of my life was, they may not know the exact date, but they know exactly where I was. The date was December 11, 2008 and I was departing for my Scuba Dive of the Great Barrier Reef from Cairns, Australia.
This experience had been on my bucket list for years, as I imagine it is for a lot of people. It is a 2,600 kilometre long structure made of living organisms. To me, it has always been the most interesting thing on earth. As many of you know, I don’t do too well on water. I get seasick very easily and it usually ends up ruining a portion of my experience, but not on this day!
It was an 82 foot long catamaran called “Passions of Paradise” that was to be my mode of transportation on the most memorable day of my life. I don’t know how it happened, but I ended up with the best seat in the house, sunning on the net hammock at the front of the ship. The two hour trip to the outer reef was miraculous. When we got to our first dive location, we were told to snorkel until our group was called in for our dive. I have been snorkelling in some great water, but this was unlike any other. The water was perfectly clear and literally millions of fish and other colourful marine life were everywhere.
I am not an experienced diver, but the top notch equipment and great staff on the ship made me feel like Jacque Cousteau. My dive was incredible. Anemones swayed with the current as Clown Fish peeked out from behind the tentacles. Moray Eels cowered into their caves and sea turtles swam overhead. It was like I had been dropped into a National Geographic magazine.
After the dive, I was asked if I wanted to participate in a second dive for an additional fee. I thought about it for a minute and figured, when was the next time I was going to have to make the decision to go for ANOTHER dive into the Great Barrier Reef? The decision to participate turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made. The second dive was a wall dive. You are basically at a drop-off point beside a wall, where the water under you is so deep that it just fades to black. It was daunting at first, but as soon as I saw the marine life swimming around me, I forgot that I was floating over the deepest hole I had ever seen.
This is by far my longest Blog entry to date, but I could go on for tens of thousands of words. I could explain how a reef shark swam right by me, how giant Batfish swarmed around me as I climbed back onto the catamaran or the hundreds of other details of that day. I will leave the rest for you to experience because I think that anyone who has the slightest interest in nature should visit (in my opinion) the most amazing wonder of the world.
I have only been scuba diving once or twice in my whole life before this day and I have vowed to never again participate in this activity. Many people who know that this was the single best experience of my life have asked why I would deprive myself of the experience? My answer is always the same. Knowing the best day of your life is probably one of the hardest things for anyone to figure out, why would you want to try to surpass it?
Two days later I was walking on Whitehaven Beach. What a week!