We decided to treat ourselves to an early birthday trip taking part in 2 night, 3 day liveaboard on the Great Barrier Reef, we love to get away on our birthdays because they are only a day apart and in June when the weather is starting to get really cold however we’ll be in different countries for our actual birthday’s this year with Ben heading back to NZ to see his family.
We were also able to utilise our Advanced Open Water Dive certificates which we completed in March and which was one of our goals for 2021. We were very lucky that we had great weather for almost the entire time, only having to pop on a light jumper at night and otherwise spending the limited time above water in swimmers or shorts and t-shirt.
There were 24 divers on board and we were one of only two couple on the boat to secure a double room, they are available on a first come basis at no extra cost otherwise all other rooms had bunk beds. We were very happy with our room and put our pillows at the other end of the bed so we could watch the stars from there as we drifted off to sleep.
Nearly all of the dives were unguided which was a very new experience for Ben and I, luckily we had just brushed up on our navigation skills in the recent course and our dive supervisor Rafa gave us all the compass bearings and landmarks, we were also able to follow the mooring lines down, the side varying depending on the site and we did quite well returning to the boat though they did have a small tender that could be deployed if you ended up too far away and we all had safety sausages to mark where we were which helped us to feel safe and improve our ability to self-navigate.
You can see an example of the maps show during our pre-dive briefings below and Ben on the top deck, also used as a drying deck for swimmers!
An absolute highlight (aside from the delicious lasagne we had for dinner on Sunday) was our night dive, another first for Ben and I and it was actually a 100 year old turtle called Brian who convinced us to take the plunge, we only dove on the second night to see him, plunging into the darkness with just a torch as reef sharks and fish almost bigger than me circled the boat was exhilarating.
We also saw a big group of bumpy head parrot fish on our earliest dive when we were in the ocean before 6:30am on our last day, they have huge teeth and sleep together but roam alone during the day.
In total we did 9 of a possible 11 dives, skipping the one night dive and the very last dive as we were absolutely exhausted and the weather had turned quite dark before a large downfall.
And of course we found Nemo, and several of his relatives!
It was a long drive back to Cairns but after 3 days at sea everyone was happy to get back onto dry land and we all meet up that night for dinner at the Bavarian Beerhouse before all continuing on our adventures.