Not Scuba Diving

This article was written 14 years ago in 2006 when I was just 21, so I ask you not to judge the writing too harshly! The text is as it was originally published.

Today was spent visiting one of the great natural wonders of this world, the Great Barrier Reef. An early start (warmer) took us to a bus which, in turn, took us to a boat for the two hour crossing to the reef. I'd booked in with James and Heather to do a scuba intro, something which I've been wanting to do for years, but was disappointed to discover that due to my asthma, they wouldn't let me dive. Apparently it doesn't mean I can't dive, just company policy doesn't permit it without a full medical, and as I hadn't had mine, it meant no dive. I was understandably irritated. Instead I booked myself onto a snorkelling tour, and then later a helicopter ride to see the reef from above, and the see reef's most photographed icon, The Heart.

Thankfully I wasn't disappointed. The boat moors up at a large platform which everyone disembarks onto and can get changed into the appropriate equipment for whatever they are doing. Activities included the three mentioned above, plus an underwater viewing gallery, sunbathing on an upper deck, and going for a trip in a semi-submersible (the posh way of saying a boat with a glass bottom, but we knew what they meant).

The weather was hot; clear skies for the most part and the boat journeys there and back were vomit-filled for many of the passengers. Thankfully this is the sea I like the best (the movable type) and while most people were reaching for the sickbags, I was soaking in the sun and salt air.

The snorkelling allowed fantastic access to the reef walls. Hundreds of fish and corals line the steep banks where we swam, and most of the fish are fairly friendly. You could drift through large shoals of brightly coloured things, some very inquisitive, some very small, some very large. There was a chance to hold starfish, coral and to watch clown fish amongst the reef. Although a bit cold in the water, it was worth every penny. I decided to compensate my lack of scuba with a helicopter ride, and after chatting with the pilot for a while, was able to get a reduced rate. The view was spectacular, and if I hadn't forgotten to bring my camera to the internet cafe, you'd be able to see for yourself.

The ride back was even more tempestuous, but I lapped it up. We arrived back at 5ish, went shopping and cooked bolognase on the fire. A good day, despite spilling coffee on myself, forgetting my sunglasses and the initial disappointment.

This post was first published on Fri Jul 07 2006 originally on, my former personal blog

Andy Higgs
The author

My name is Andy Higgs and I am a business founder, design leader, occassional surfer and travel enthusiast based in the UK.

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