It’s our second day of training on our open water PADI scuba dive course, and we are heading into the ocean straight away. After our two confined water dives in the pool and half a day of theory, we have the basics covered and are ready to get our feet wet, literally. Our first dive location is Blue Pearl Bay II, one of the best dive spots in the Whitsundays, and located conveniently on the back side of Hayman Island, only a quick five minute boat ride to the beach. After going over all of our equipment set up and buddy checks, it’s into the ocean. Within minutes of going under the surface we are surrounded by fish and stunning colourful coral. Our dive instructor has brought some fish food with her, and the fish begin to swim in from all directions, knowing that food awaits then if they are lucky. When the food is released it becomes a feeding frenzy, the water so full of fish that you can’t see past them. There are dozens of different fish species, from angel fish, butterfly fish, gropers, Napolean wrasse, barracudas, cloudfish, lion fish, “Finding Nemo” fish, and many others that I can’t recall.
We swim deeper into the ocean, trying to maintain neutral buoyancy; staying off the bottom to protect the precious coral, and not floating to high towards the surface. It’s surprisingly quite easy to breath underwater and with all of the action going on around us, worrying about breathing is the last thing on your mind. At 12 meters depth, our max for today, it’s an amazing feeling looking up at the surface of the water from down below. The whole world above is blocked out, and a serene sense of quiet surrounds you. Everywhere you look there is another giant coral structure teeming with life.
It’s estimated that 3/4 of the world covered by water, and after 25 years spent on land I feel like there is a lot of catching up to do exploring the wonders of the ocean world. After watching numerous episodes of Blue Planet by BBC, we finally got to experience what it’s like first hand. I am definitely looking forward to next week when we will become Open Water certified with PADI and get to explore more of the Great Barrier Reef.