So after about 1.5 hours driving up the coast we got our gear together and launched the boat and away we went. It was a bit choppy, but there was a late storm forecast. It took only about 20 minutes to reach the buoy and anchor the boat, then we donned our dive gear and away we went. As soon as we entered the water we were greeted by rather large Bat fish, coming to check us out.
As you descend from the public buoy you arrive immediately to the bow and there perched on top is a cannon covered in coral with the marine life swimming around with no fear of harm. Visibility wasn’t fantastic but as the vessel begins to come in to view so did the abundance of marine life, coral and fish galore.
You can’t help but wonder what life was like for the people who once worked on this guided missile destroyer which served in the Vietnam and Gulf wars. As you swim around the outside you see the hatches and doorways that were once busy with naval personnel passing through preparing to attack or defend, depending on which way you choose to look at it. The doorways and hatches are now dark and eerie looking but far from dead.
This vessel that was once used as a killing machine, a weapon of war is now a wreck, laying on the ocean floor and has become the birthing ground of new life for coral providing a place for sub-tropical fish to feed and play. Wherever you looked it was full of life, the colour of the fish and watching them in their own habitat blows my mind. They glide through the ocean, dancing gracefully in and out of the wreck. The wreck is located in a conservation area hence the abundance of marine life, a school of Snapper swan above us and Angel and King fish swam below, flashes of blue, yellow and silver pass you by as the Stone Fish hang around cunningly camouflaged. Diving takes you into another world, it is a great reminder of the phenomenon of nature and the universe, diving gear becomes weightless and awe takes over as you swim fairly effortlessly through the water. The world above the ocean disappears from your mind even if just for a short time, as you explore and take in the environment you have just entered, an environment that is just not natural to us, but yet the peace of being under the water surpasses everything.
The first dive went for a little over half an hour and it was time to surface for a rest and a coffee on the boat, so it’s back to the bow to begin the ascent. Once back at the surface, the sky was a little darker and the waves lapped at the boat and it was time to be dragged into the boat, there was no way that was ever going to happen gracefully 🙂
After a rest the guys went back down for a second dive, their mission this dive was to go into the wreck and as a newbie I just wasn’t ready for that yet and so I chose to sit on the boat and relax. Once they were back under the ocean I was alone in the boat and once the other dive boat left the area I was the only boat in the area. I sat back with my coffee and just looked around. The peace of being at sea is really quite amazing, not another soul in sight, the sound of the ocean as the wind directed the waves, the gentle and sometimes not so gentle waves rocking the boat backwards and forwards, side to side. As I looked back to the land I could see the rain passing over the coastline, the thick clouds and obviously heavy rain making parts disappear completely from view. It’s times like this that you can’t help but think about life. As you look around you see how small you are in the vastness that is the world and universe, you realise how noisy life is and how easy it is to get caught up in the status quo of wanting more. It’s at times like this that you can’t help but think about how insignificant some of the things we deem as important actually are, there is an amazing world out there that offers experiences and adventures that change your world view, leave imprints that remain forever, open your mind, eyes and hearts and leave you hungry for more. Entering the water has broken open my fear of the ocean and my land trapped mind, allowing me to appreciate and explore the ocean and all she has to offer.
After the guys ascended from their second dive it was time to head back to land and I got to drive the boat back, my first ocean boat driving experience and a great one at that. Now it’s back to real life and my plot for my next dive 🙂