I Like Turtles – Upolu Reef – Cairns, Australia

Yesterday we set out to explore the Great Barrier Reef on one of the many boat tours that are offered from Cairns. We chose to go with a company that also offered first time introductory scuba diving, where two divers are paired up with one instructor who takes them 20-25 feet underwater for their first dive. After an hour ride out to the reef, where we learned some scuba diving basics, Kevin and I were first up for the diving. We got suited up, jumped in, and then it was time to slowly start descending. You guessed it! I freaked out a bit; I struggled to grasp breathing through my mouth and not my nose. This was quickly solved by holding my nose through my mask (I was eventually able to let go once I finally adapted to the breathing). Kevin did much better! While he struggled a bit in the beginning, he had to get himself together pretty quickly when he realized the instructor was more concerned with me.

We didn’t need to dive too deep to see bright corals, giant clams…giant, and colorful fish. We even found Nemo! It was like another world down there and time flew by. Our short dive seemed to be over right after it started, even though we were down there for 25 minutes.

We spent the rest of the day snorkeling. You can actually see just as much snorkeling as you can scuba diving. We went off on our own to explore for hours at a time, which also passed by in the blink of an eye. We saw so much! More giant clams, huge colorful fish, schools of tiny, electric blue fish, a barracuda, royal blue starfish (Christine’s favorite), a small shark, nemo’s brothers and sisters, an octopus, sea cucumbers, more amazing coral, and Kevin’s favorite, a green turtle. At one point I lost him for about an hour; he had decided to just follow the turtle around. Watching him as he munched on coral, then swam to the surface every few minutes to pop his head out for air, then back to swimming and eating.

The experience was amazing, and we’re going back for more! We’re heading back out tomorrow for more snorkeling, and hopefully more turtles.