I have made a sort of commitment to dive once a month, keep the confidence going so I booked with Snorkel Safari for Flinders Reef. After a very early 5am start we were on our way by 6am, now in reality the only downside to Flinders is the travel time, first we have to make our way to Bribe Island then head out on the boat for about 1 Hour 15mins. Now the boat ride is not too bad, unless, yep, it’s choppy and by george it was choppy. 1m to 1.5m swell and 15 knots, so a few bumps along the way. It sort of takes the fun out of the journey even though I don’t suffer with motion sickness, thank God!
Once we arrived on the western side of the reef it was time to kit up, which was fun on choppy waters, not really, but we managed and my first issue once in was weight. I am a bit buoyant and had to try and get back to the boat for more weight, stuff up number 1, cracked shins on the ladder because of chop! but still eventually I got down, with help from Craig and how amazing. The water under the chop was crystal clear, the viability must have been at least 20m, the beauty of the underwater world really never ceases to amaze me. The coral and marine life are so vibrant, lots of colour, lots of life. One of the first stops was a cave swim through where a crayfish lie under the rocks sheltering, nudibranchs rest upon the coral and damsel fish keep a close eye on things. A few flute fish swam by and angel fish strut their stuff.
The peace underwater is pretty amazing, the quietness is only broken by the sound of the bubbles from air exhaled and the memory of the choppy conditions above subsides and the ebb and flow of the ocean takes over. It’s almost like the ocean is breathing, moving you along with the inhale and gently pushing you back with the exhale. The ocean garden is teeming with life, it’s a garden like no other.
As we were headed back to the boat at around 12 metres, we got a bit of a special show, 2 octopus move around on the ocean bed, changing colour before your very eyes and moving graciously, pretty awesome I have to say, we just watched for a while before returning for our surface interval, as you rise out of the water we were quickly reminded that the calmness of the underwater world is not quite the same up top.
After the surface interval we moved over to the eastern side of the reef, the chop was still pretty rough but probably not quite as rough. Kitted up and ready to go we were off. Once under the current below became evident, I kicked and kicked but wasn’t getting very far. The visibility was not as good as the first dive so it was a little murky. About 5 minutes in my legs were aching and I was tiring quickly. When I began diving my biggest concern was that I am not a strong swimmer but to be honest it’s never been a problem because once underwater the ocean helps you along, but this time she was fighting me hard, even at 16m. I had to call it quits and return to the boat, I would’ve been seriously exhausted had I tried to continue. So it was back to the boat, fins off, weight belt off, climb up the ladder grab the hand rail….wait this was stuff up number 2, well a bit more humorous really, as I went to grab the rail to get in, I swear it moved away on purpose, because I went to grab the rail and it wasn’t there any longer, the chop got the better of me and I fell clean off the side of the boat backwards, yep all class thats me! Anyway, I made it back, obviously!
Overall I don’t think any dive is a bad dive, cracked shins, falling off the boat or strong current, wouldn’t recommend falling off or cracking your shins though! Each dive is a learning experience, whether it’s about how much weight you need, what new fish you encounter or as I learned in a strong current head to the bottom and pull yourself along, mental note for next time. Encountering the ocean as I have said previously in blogs, for me is like encountering God, it’s not controllable by us, there is a whole world within and it really is an awesome place to spend some time. Life is diverse under there, the marine life knows the rules of how to live together. The ebb and flow of the ocean is like being cradled and rocked, just a little bit comforting. The peace is calming the sights amazing. Flinders Reef is a beautiful place and a dive I would definitely recommend to people.