Scuba Dive Great Barrier Reef
attended by Nizwer & Yami
off Cairns, Australia. January 30 - February 1, 2002

Note: there are plenty of pictures to see from this page, just click on the links. If you have a slow connection, be patient, even the largest picture is only 200K. No worries.
The reason for getting certified to scuba was to dive the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. We opted for a 3 day/2 night ProDive cruise to the outer reefs off Cairns. First time diving after certification 4 years ago. No lessons, no tests, just fun. Very tentative on my first dive, the mask kept fogging up, the BC (buoyancy compensator) did not fit well, wasn't sure if the weights were right and had a bit of a sinus problem. Multiple dives done on each day reverse profile, so the deepest dive first and shallowest on the night dive or the last dive of the day.
The night before the ProDive tour we were required to attend Reef Teach in downtown Cairns, an excellent lecture by marine biologists on how to enjoy the reef, what to expect, and how to stay out of trouble.
Dive buddies

Since I did not have a regular Scuba Dive partner on this trip (and because Yami snorkels), I paired up with Connie (from Germany) most of the time. Connie took this great picture of me with the angel fish. In this picture, Connie inspects the underside of a "bommie" hoping to find something interesting. On another dive she found a 8 foot white tip shark resting underneath one of these overhangs. We did not do anything to disturb it, just watched from a safe distance. On the second day, diving with Monica as my buddy, we came upon a huge turtle which completely ignored us, and allowed us to observe until we tired of it, and moved on. This was the moment I felt like Jack Cousteau without camera. We were barely 6 feet away from this beautiful turtle busy feeding on the reef. Picture with my favorite buddies Connie and Monica. Before each dive Dave does a dive briefing assisted with a map of the reef bed. One morning woke up a bit late, missed the dive briefing, and therefore last minute had to tag along with Asa and Holly from Sweden and Norway. Somewhere along the way, Asa and Holly felt homesick! We surfaced very close to Norway and the skipper had to tow us back to the boat. Then there was the wild man from Singapore who would wander off here and there on the last dive, then vanished without a trace... for a few minutes.

I must thank all my dive buddies, especially Connie for her infinite patience! I am inspector Clousseau of the deep. I got my weight belt the wrong way, stood in line without my fins ready to do giant stride! Another time I began my dive breathing from the buddy regulator. Once jumped in with the snorkel in my mouth, and swallowed water immediately and came out coughing. Diving with Asa and Holly, a fin fell off, and later discovered the BC was loose too after we were towed back to the boat! A couple of times the tank was loosely strapped to the BC. Many a time forgot to tuck in my dive computer, instead put it safely in the BC pocket! On a night dive I struggled with tightening that fin. Phew. It is a miracle I dive at all.

Nizwer's dive log

# Date Start End Location Dive Site Depth Dive Time Buddy Dive Op W Temp Visibility
1 1/30/02 11:43 12:12 Milln Reef Swimming pools 18.6m 21 min Connie Dave 30C 15m
2 1/30/02 14:37 15:17 Milln Reef Pools 1 15.7m 32 min Connie Steve 30C 17m
3 1/30/02 16:45 17:30 Milln Reef Petaj 10.1m 41 min Monica Dave 30C 17m
4 1/30/02 19:37 20:13 Milln Reef Petaj 10.6m 29 min group Scott 28C night
5 1/31/02 06:53 07:51 Milln Reef the Whale 20.2m 27 min Holly, Asa Dave 30C 15m
6 1/31/02 10:44 11:28 Flynn Reef Tracy's 17.1m 33 min Connie ? 30C 15m
7 1/31/02 15:45 16:37 Flynn Reef Gordon's mooring 10.6m 44 min Connie Dave/Scott 30C 15m
8 1/31/02 19:33 20:05 Flynn Reef Gordon's mooring 12.0m 24 min Connie Steve 30C night
10 2/1/02 08:59 09:51 Flynn Reef Tracy's 11.2m 44 min Connie Steve 30C 15m
11 2/1/02 10:59 11:54 Flynn Reef Tracy's 7.3m 45 min Connie Steve/Dave 30C 15m

On the final day, I skipped dive#9 to snorkel with Yami , and I had the opportunity to see what is on top of the reef. More color! just as spectacular.

Coral jungle

I have not dived anywhere other than Hawaii and Florida, therefore the variety of coral and fish in the Great Barrier Reef was overwhelming. Look at this huge coral . Can you imagine something like this displayed for sale in a souvenir shop!!? Then there were giant clams (Connie has a prize picture of that). Among some of the larger creatures we saw reef shark, turtles, parrot fish , giant travoli, stingray, potato fish, angelfish , sweet lips and cannot yet name a lot of what we saw there. What the hell is that? pipe coral?

The night dives were not interesting except for a bit of bio-luminiscence when you cup one hand over the flashlight, and agitate the water with the other hand.

The dive boat Kalinda carried 25 divers/snorkellers, a boat crew of 4 and the skipper. Well represented were Australia, Germany, Switzerland, USA, Norway, UK, Singapore, India,... and I may have missed some nations! The accomodations were cramped with 5 in our cabin (bunk beds) with air conditioning. As long as you do not expect the dive boat to be like the Titanic, with dinner served in evening formal wear, and nightly entertainment, you will be alright. With the daytime air temperatures probably 90F, and the water temperature 86F (30C), only the nights are cooler and a couple of folks chose to sleep on the upper deck in the open air, under a nearly full moon on that trip. Do not need to carry too many tanks onboard because they have equipment to refill the tanks after each dive .

The ProDive skipper and the crew - Dave, Steve, Scott, and Rob (chef) are very special folks. You will feel comfortable throughout the trip, seasick or not. Great food onboard, and you can carry it up on deck and enjoy. Before we returned to shore the skipper and Dave inspect the boat. At the end of the trip we line up to return gear to Dave and Steve.


The ProDive cruise cost us $510AUS (exchange rate $1US = $1.98AUS) for the scuba package, $430AUS for the snorkeler, and we spent an additional $35AUS to rent an MX-10 Sea & Sea underwater camera for one of the dives, and an additional $105AUS for the soft drinks from the bar and several ProDive souvenirs we bought on board. Only one thing went wrong! We gave the prints for one hour processing but forgot to check when the shop closes, so we had no pictures to share when the group got together the evening after the dive. In fact, Connie helped us out by picking up those pictures for us the following day and mailing them to us, which then took a week to reach us in the US and that is why this web page was created a week late!