Down Under the Sea

Butterfly fish, parrotfish, angelfish, and clownfish were just a few of the amazing fish species that I remember from my trip to the Great Barrier Reef.  I had a remarkable time throughout my stay in Australia; however, the scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef was the most memorable part of the trip. 

I was fortunate enough to go on a multi-day escapade that solely included diving, snorkeling, and lounging on a beautiful yacht in the crystal waters around the Great Barrier Reef.  The amenities of the yacht were abundant.  The staterooms were gracious in size and comfort.  The meals provided were scrumptious and creative.  Most importantly, the scuba and snorkel equipment was top grade and the expertise of the dive masters were beyond comparison.  All of these amenities combined provided me with an adventure that I will remember for my lifetime.

One particular afternoon, the weather was perfect.  The blue skies above us were perfectly cloudless and the temperature of the water was an inviting 82 degrees Fahrenheit.  I could hardly wait to dress in all of my scuba gear and finish up the safety check.  Once the scuba master delivered the final speech, I flipped into the water in search of new discoveries.  Little did I know that within minutes, I would brush up against a Great White shark!

I was completely shocked when I saw the Great White shark so close to me and the other divers.  The dive master mentioned that there is always the possibility of various sharks around the Great Barrier Reef; however, the dangerous Great White typically stays in cooler water and, therefore, would not be a threat to us. 

I had to really focus on trying not to panic.  I will say that I’m quite the adventurer, but I did not want to be attacked by the Great White.   The warning bell rang from the top of our yacht.  I had only heard that sound once before when I first arrived on the boat and the personnel delivered their safety drill.  I knew the sound of the bell meant that the diving was over for now and everyone needed to get back on the yacht as quickly as possible.  During training, I learned that the key in a situation like this

one is to not panic and to swim as smoothly as you can back to a safe area.     

Gently, I began to paddle my fins and stroke my arms slowly as I made my way back to the ladder hanging from the yacht.  Everyone on the expedition was able to get out of the water safely and relatively calmly.  I do believe that the Great White was keeping a very close eye on all of us, though.  He circled around us during the duration of our exit from the water.  It seemed that he surrounded us for about half an hour, but it probably really wasn’t that long of a time.

I definitely will never forget the instant fear and wave of adrenaline that washed over me for that short amount of time.  Regardless of this near-death experience, I will always remember my trip to the Great Barrier Reef with fondness and gratitude that I was able to experience an area so beautiful and, usually, serene.

JP