I’m going to start with the part of this trip that I enjoyed the most – the diving! I had never dived before and opted to be the last one of the group to try it. I was pretty excited to give it a try although I knew I could possibly freak out once I was in the water. We got loaded up with our gear on the deck and were talked through all the equipment and how to use it properly, how to empty our snorkel mask if it filled with water and how to use the breathing apparatus properly. It all seemed pretty simple the way they explained it. This boat had one crew member to two divers, so I felt pretty safe and that we would be looked after. They were obviously very experienced divers and I felt safe putting my life I their hands (so to say).
The girl that was going to dive with me decided it wasn’t for her, so I was very lucky to have a one on one for my first intro dive. Once we’re in the water they guide you down by using a rope. I have to admit I was a little scared at this point. Its all well and good to go through all the safety precautions on the deck but now we’re about to go to the bottom of the ocean and it’s fair to say I was freaking out just a little bit. So I’m being guided down this rope very slowly about an arm’s length each time. Each time we stop, the instructor makes sure that Im okay (by signalling) and only then would we move down further. I had a bit of a sore ear but after blowing air through my nose, moving my jaw side to side and swallowing as instructed I was fine to go a bit deeper. I had to do this process every time we moved down and my dive instructor was very patient with me which really put me at ease. At about three quarters of my way down the rope I started to panic. I kept forgetting to breathe through my mouth and not my nose then freaked out what would happen if I couldn’t breathe. I signalled to my instructor that I wanted to go back up to the boat. I couldn’t do it. He signalled to me that we were almost there and was I sure? We hung out at that spot until I was comfortable to let go of the rope. And OH MY GOD I’m so glad I did! Once I got used to breathing through my mouth it was absolutely amazing. I honestly struggle to find the words to describe it because it is like nothing else I have ever experienced. I was left speechless once I got out of the water, I was just in awe. It’s like an underwater wonderland. Just beautiful. I felt very safe in the hands of my instructor as he guided me around this underwater world. You are literally attached to your dive instructor the whole time (arms linked) as you are given a tour of the beautiful reef. (I told both my older brothers this as they are too scared to dive, haha.) He checked in with me every few minutes to make sure that I was okay, my ears were okay and all the dials and stuff were all good. I felt very safe and comfortable.
I did this trip solo. There were a few other people who were solo travellers but as soon as we got on the boat I felt as though the crew were old friends we hadn’t seen for a while. They were very welcoming and friendly as we sat among people we didn’t know. I felt that this really set the tone for the trip and made us feel at ease on a boat full of strangers. The crew were super friendly and happy to answer any questions we had about diving and the reef and were very informative. They’d obviously been doing this a while. I really love that the crew went that extra mile to get to know the passengers. They could have easily drawn the line at their duties and not interacted with us any more than they needed to. But they seemed genuinely interested in chatting with us and seemed to really enjoy their job as much as we enjoyed the trip. It was a really great atmosphere all round. The Food There was always plenty of food on offer. Tea, coffee, cookies, fruit and muesli bars were always on hand if we wanted a snack but I found we were fed adequately throughout the trip. Meals were #homecooked and always plentiful which is great because you really work up an appetite with all that swimming. Snacks of fruit platters or chips and dip were provided between main meals which was really great. I was a little worried about going hungry with someone else providing our food but there was always more than enough food provided. Thanks Will for all your cooking!
Not long after we boarded we were shown around the boat and how everything works. We were then given the run down on safety in snorkelling. The crew were sensitive to us getting a little seasick and directed us to what I call “the magic spot” on the boat where you feel better as soon as you sit there. We had air con adjacent to our cabins which made for a comfortable sleep. We stopped at 4 different spots on our trip but we were never made to feel hurried. I felt the crew sort of went with the feel of the passengers which was fantastic.
The whole experience was just incredible. I can’t really fault anything.