Monday, August 13, 2012

4.dive the great barrier reef

after last week's post on my top gun experience (haha, not really) i realized that i've posted about less than a quarter of my list.  so here's another one i can cross off of the list!

i earned my padi open water certification while i was stationed in hawaii.  the dives there were amazing (i'll post about the manta rays another time) but i knew that the one place that we NEEDED to go diving was the great barrier reef.  it's the world's largest coral reef, can be seen from space, and is considered to be one of the seven natural wonders of the world.  so we killed two birds with one stone and got our advanced open water certification on a liveaboard out of cairns.  we would spend 3 days and 2 nights on a boat earning our advanced certification.

on  the way out to the boat we'd be staying on, we stopped for two dives.  if you've never been scuba diving, you're supposed to stay with a partner.  there's no way to talk to each other so you communicate using sign language or a special whiteboard that works under water.  justin and i were having a great time exploring the reef and were about to head back towards the boat when he spotted a giant clam.  i was just a little bit above him when he started to head for the clam.  as i was following him, i suddenly felt a stinging on my upper lip (the only part that was really exposed between my mask and regulator.  i instinctively reached up to wipe my lip and next thing i knew, my hand and wrist were stinging.  i couldn't see anything but i knew it was a jellyfish.  at this point i am freaking out.  luckily i am not too far from the surface so i don't suffer any bends when i shoot up.  unfortunately, justin was completely unaware of the events happening right above him and continued to descend towards the giant clam.  right after i broke the surface, i realized that justin was probably wondering where the hell i was.  i could feel my face swelling (i'm really sensitive - even mosquito bites look like something attacked me) but i tried to remain calm and prayed that he would surface soon, and not too far from where i was.

once he surfaced, i took off for the boat.  i knew he was confused but figured he understand once he caught up.  when i got to the boat, they helped me aboard and were helping me remove my equipment when justin arrived.  at first he was visibly perturbed by my disappearing act but he quickly softened when he saw my face.  and of course he offered to pee on it.  for anyone wondering, i declined.
ernie and bernie: not my friends
i did continue with the rest of our dives.  we were in a different area for the liveaboard portion and after a little while, i felt better so i realized that even if it happened again, it wasn't so bad.  happily, the rest of the trip was uneventful in that sense.  we had some awesome and crazy instructors that took us on night dives with (harmless) sharks and showed us incredible creatures that can only be found in this giant and ancient coral reef.  i'm so happy to scratch this experience off of my list!


  1. Wow! This sounds incredible! It's so great that you did this when you had the opportunity to do it. :-)

  2. ACK JELLY FISH!! This is why I'm too chicken to get certified. The one time I tried to dive, I panicked in 3 feet of water in a swimming pool. I'm leaving poor Matt without a dive partner. You'll find me up in the boat laying out in the sun, thank you very much!

  3. Ah yes, every woman's have her husband offer to pee on her face. That's my son, thank you for marrying him :-)

    Seriously, what a fantastic journey. You two have done some amazing things together. Love the stories!!