Cairns Stories and Tips

12 dives in 48 hours on the Great Barrier Reef

Dives 1+2) We started out with two dives at Cod Hole - one to assess our dive skills and one to view the hand feeding of the giant Potato Cod - these fish are 6 feet in length and hungry. It was a bit intimidating for some, but absolutely amazing to watch. I also caught my first glimpse of a ray (8+ feet across) as he fled from our activity.

Dive 3)Night dive at Challenger Bay. My first night dive - much trepidation about loss of yet another sense underwater! I absolutely loved it, although the two worst divers on the trip managed to make me miss seeing a moray AND an octopus. We got a hard lesson shown us when we held the light too long on a fish and he was eaten. use your light judiciously.

Dives 4+5) Pixies Pinnacle. Amazing place starting at 32 meters of depth and circling the pinnacle as you slowly surface. So much to see - lionfish, anenomefish, unicorn fish, flutemouth, parrotfish, blue sea stars.

Dive 6) No-name site (probably named by now). A current dive, which was a bit scary at the end. this was the dive of my life! We encountered a cuttlefish as friendly as a dog - it stayed with us for nearly 30 minutes, rippling color changes affecting its whole body to match the wetsuit of the nearest swimmer and reaching out with its tentacles to touch my arm and to try to grab my neck when I turned to leave. I still don't eat any kind of squid to this day.

Dive 7)Clam Beds night dive. Live giant clams everywhere, a smallish white tip reef shark, lobsters, and a parrotfish in his mucousy "sleeping sack". Dives 8-10) Steve's Bommie. Another Pinnaclelike structure - we encountered a green turtle, saw a cleaning station and great schools of barracuda, scorpion fish, and for the first time noticed small details like pipefish.

Dive 11) Fish Market. Obviously started to become jaded by views of fish only, as I didn't record a single type of fish. Just wrote in my book "Lots and lots and lots of different and schooling fish". Sheesh.

Dive 12) Lena Reef. Storms had destroyed huge sections of coral and this dive would have been a big disappointment except for the minute or so we were in between two large coral structures with a white tip reef shark patrolling each exit. Parrotfish were swimming wildly and excreting to escape. I knew how they felt.

This trip is exactly why I got certified!

Note: Mike Ball's destinations vary from trip to trip. Some of these dives may not be available to you.

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