“I won it, actually,” said Andrew. “I live in Cairns. Retired from the Navy. Ya, we won the Great Barrier Reef tour in a draw.”
Andrew and his wife and I were discussing the day’s tour. His wife’s Penny. She’s early 30s. He’s probably hovering around 60. He gets the hotty. She gets stability. Hey, if it’s working for them – and it clearly is – good for them.
They live aboard their sailing yacht in Cairns harbour.
Their favourite part of the day? “Just snorkelling around the dive platform.”
The dive platform is at a place called Agincourt Island. It takes about an hour-plus to get there on a high-powered Quicksilver catamaran. And boy does that cat ever GO!
On the way we were given some options for the day: scuba diving, beginning or advanced snorkelling, ride aboard a semi-submersible, go underwater with dive helmets, or just hang out on the platform. I chose the advanced snorkelling. And I was almost sorry I did. When the others were having lunch (mediocre at best) I suited up with snorkelling gear and jumped right in.
Now, I actually hadn’t snorkelled in a few years, so as soon as I put my face in the water I started to hyperventilate. Not a good sign. Toughed it out for a while then got back on board. (You actually can’t ‘tough it out’, you need to relax.)
What is THAT all about? I used to scuba dive! This should be a snap.
So I got back on the platform to relaxed a bit and regroup. Had the mediocre lunch, then back into the water.
And I was perfectly fine.
I guess I just needed to bring back those deep-seated memories of being perfectly fine on & under the water.
Once underwater I started snapping photos with the digital camera I rented. All tolled, I think I took almost 200 shots. Got the memory card.
Soon the advanced expedition started and I was called over.
Marine biologists Peta and Jon gave us a thumbnail sketch of what a reef is, how it comes to be, the sea-life that depend on it and the perils it faces. All very interesting, but soon those lessons turned into background noise. I took my time just being there, stopping to soak in just where I was and what I was doing.
So while Andrew and Penny’s best part of the day was sloshing around the snorkelling area, mine was just being there and coming to the realization of the whole experience.
Must remember to do that more often.