“The sea, once it casts it’s spell, holds once it it’s net of wonder forever” - Jacques Costeau
The Great Barrier Reef has been on my bucket list since I was a child and having already become a certified diver before arriving in Australia, you can imagine how I excited I was to finally see it first hand. My first experience of the Great Barrier Reef was on the Whitsundays on my first trip to Australia and although I was only able to snorkel, it was incredible. The abundance of fish and the coral formations were stunning and I’ll never forget my first time.
The first time I was able to dive the Great Barrier Reef was even better. Cairns is where the reef runs closest to the shore so its the perfect place to visit from, so on arrival I knew I had to book a trip. The first boat I chose to go out on was Silver Swift after Pro Dive recommended it as the best day boat. It didn’t disappoint I had the most incredible day. I went out with a friend of mine who was also certified and we visited three different sites on Flynn Reef. The sites were beautiful, one of them even had awesome swim throughs, and we were able to see so much marine life. Diving the reef was an amazing experience and from then I knew I was hooked!
My third trip to the reef was another day boat trip with a few friends while I was completing my farm work. We made a trip up to Cairns especially and this time I went out with Deep Sea Divers Den on their SeaQuest day boat. Again I had an amazing trip. We visited two sites on Norman Reef and it really was the marine life that made the day! On my first dive I spotted the famous blue Maori Wrasse, who is often referred to as Wally, and on my second dive I saw my first ever shark. We also spotted turtles and so many different species of fish and coral the diving was just incredible.
After already having had such good experience with Deep Sea Divers Den beforehand when I heard about their volunteer program I as immediately intrigued. A friend I had met whilst still completing my farm work had planned to volunteer as a hostie in exchange for free diving. As soon as she told me I was straight away super keen so we decided we would try and arrange to do it together after we had finished on the farm. We we lucky enough to arrange working on the day boat together but they had told us they didn’t have availability for us to work on the live aboard (where you could stay for 5 days). We were a little disappointed as that was what we originally wanted to do but we were happy to at least do the day boat together.
By lunch time we had already completed one dive and were enjoying the day as it was but after we had finished serving lunch we were asked if we would like to go over to the live aboard and help out for a couple of days as they were so busy. We of course jumped at the chance and were over there by the afternoon. We were pretty lucky as there were already another two volunteer hosties working on the live aboard while we were there so it made things a lot easier. It was a lot of work and a hectic schedule but in three days I was able to do ten totally free dives including two night dives which was an absolutely insane experience! The crew were great as well and all seemed pretty friendly. I had the most amazing three days working for them and have actually gone and volunteered with them a couple of times since.
My most recent experience of the reef has been like no other. I was lucky enough to have actually been working on the Reef completing a Divemaster Traineeship which was the most incredible thing I have ever done! I will be dedicating a whole post to talk about the experience as it deserves so much more than a couple of paragraphs and I’m so excited to write all about it and go through the heaps of photos I have. Although the whole thing ended on a bit of a sour note it was still by the far the most amazing job I have ever had, doing something I love and being lucky enough to work with the most incredible crew. I am now officially a Divemaster too which was the whole reason for me getting the job and working so hard, so now I can hopefully continue a career in the diving industry and I feel so blessed I had the opportunity to train on the worlds most famous reef!
If any of you reading this are visiting the reef soon or are interested in learning more about the different kinds of trips available follow these links for Pro Dive, Deep Sea Divers Den and Silver Swift.
Also I just had to include this video Charlie made during one of our day trips on the reef, check it out below!