My first morning waking up in Australia! The hostel is very basic, and a little run down. To be honest it's one of the worst hostels I've stayed in. Plus it's got a funky man/mould smell about it. Anyway, the location and price is more important! I had to be up at 6:45 and walk down to the harbour. I had walked down there yesterday, so I knew exactly where I was going. Making sure I had time to stop via Mc Donald's to use their free wifi. I didn't actually buy anything! I then had about a 5 minute walk to the Reef Terminal. There must have been about 10 different companies doing the reef tours I found my company "Down under cruise and dive" got my ticket, and headed to the boat. the weather was crap, overcast, wet and cold. (I'm going to have no tan when I get back to the UK) unless the sun comes out.
I took a seat, and waited for about half hour before everyone was onboard. The tables were surrounded by 8 chairs I was on my own for a little while filling out my paper work, before a family of 7 people took all the remaining seats! Blocking me in by the window. We had a bit of a chat, and found out they were from Byron Bay. Then they started to do the safety briefing. Just before they asked if there were any remaining qualified divers down stairs? As they should be upstairs! I then had to get the family to move to let me out!! There must have been 60+ people doing a trial dives today... When I got to the upper cabin, there was only 6 of us.! (Much better!). Our diving guide was called Rodger, he did the briefing, and I confirmed I wanted to do the 3 dives. With him guiding me, which was a little more expensive, but I'm not ready to dive alone just yet. (This will take my total dives up to 13!)
It was a 90 minute journey to our first dive sight, Saxon Reef. The journey was rough, and I started to get a little sea sick at one point, but just sat out on the deck, and watched the horizon with the fresh air. A number of people were chucking up everywhere. You could smell the lemon disinfectant, they used to clean up the sick. Staff all walking around with bags! Still very cloudy, and wet. At least I will be in the water soon, I can't get much wetter than that! Put our equipment on, and went for our first dive, before all the trial dives started.
My buddy was a guy called Sebastian from Germany, who has done his diving at Koh Tao as well, at the big blue diving school. (small world!). For the first dive we were going to the right hand side of the reef, swimming around the coral, there was so much sea life, and visibility was good. Because it was my first five in 2 months, it took me a little bit to get my breathing under control. I managed to slow it down, but didn't do my air any favours. I had used quiet a lot with in the first 15 minutes. We continued to swim around, and picked up a sea cucumber! It was massive, it's like a large sea slug! Because I was a real airhog at the start of the dive, I was on 50b after 30 minutes in the water, and me and another girl Natalie from the UK had to return to the surface, as she had even less air than me. I put it down to being the first dive of the day, and I hoped the second dive would be much better! The others continued, and bloody saw a turtle, if I don't see one today, I'm going to be so gutted.
We had a rest on the surface for about 20 minutes, before getting our kit back on ready for the second dive. Did our buddy checks, and dived straight back in, this time we were heading to the left hand side of the reef. My googles seemed to keep filling up with water. So I had to clear them ever few minutes. My breathing was so much better this time. No problems at all. Rodger said first thing we will do is look for the turtle again. (I would be happy if we saw a reef shark instead!). We couldn't see it, and continues to swim around the reef. Loads of Nemo fish, I even saw this massive fish, don't know the name but it came swimming out of the weeds. This time the dive was over 40 minutes! But sadly no sight of the Turtle. I have one more opportunity to see one. Fingers crossed. We then had a buffet style lunch while we sailed to our next reef location. North hasting reef, it was only 20 minutes away. We got a bit of time to chill out and relax while the lessons continued at the back of the boat. At 13:30 we kitted up, and went for our final dive. There was only 4 on this dive. We swam for about 10 minutes. The currents were really strong this time, and you had to be careful it didn't smash you into the coral. Then I saw it, a massive turtle..! I watched it for a couple of minutes. I then had to catch up the group. Rodger did the OK sign, and I replayed with "I saw a Turtle" in the diving hand signals, he clapped as a well done! Gold star for G-Harp. This was the first turtle of many, saw about 4. One swam straight past me up to the surface, and then back the other way. One was tiny, like a baby! This was the best thing I have seen all day. Just glad I didn't miss out. This was our last dive of the day, the kit was all handed in and the boat turned around and headed back for mainland. We completed our log books, and I had a little sleep on the boat. I woke up to find some guy pretty much leaning on me fast asleep, i just knocked his arm and he woke up and moved! Ha ha. They were dishing up cheese and crackers on the way back. As soon as I had some, with the waves still bad I started to feel sick again. I just retuned to the same places I sat on the way out. Feeling better within minutes.
It was a really long day, but I really enjoyed it. I was so tired by now, I managed to grab a small snack to have as dinner, and returned to the hostel. For some reason the reception closes at 7pm, and I couldn't work out how to get in. I managed to find a side entrance, and with a bit of force got the door open. I just laid on my bed for 2 minutes and crashed out.