Finally we got to begin the dive course! The first couple of days were rather uninteresting. We completed our classroom education and learnt a few underwater skills as well as how to prepare our scuba equipment. I'm sure it will come as no surprise to know we both passed the final exam with full marks. The fun started on the 3rd day when we were picked up at 6am to board our boat for the next 3 days. We had 9 dives in total and visited 4 different reefs. The first couple of dives were not so fun as we still had to undergo some practical tests in order to become certified divers. This includes flooding your masks which I hated and ended up swallowing half the ocean. Soon after that dive I was rather sick (which was great for the fish apparently as they love a hot meal!)
Day 2 on the reef was much better as we had more mask flooding tasks but I got through them then the next 5 dives were all pleasure dives. The first dive on our own was quite scary and we hired a camera to try and get some pics of the fishes. It was a little disappointing because the pics of the reef you see in books are photoshopped because after 5m below sea level you lose reds then a bit further yellows go too so nothing was as bright as I was expecting but it was still amazing.
On one dive I managed to swim with a turtle that was munching on its favorite dish (jellyfish) and on another we saw Brian the giant turtle who is said to be 147 years old! I also got to see nemo and apparently unlike the movie they are extremely aggressive fish. They will fight anything coming near its home no matter how big. While floating above a baby one I held out my finger and after a few moments he gave me a nibble to warn me off. I also did a night dive which was rather spooky as you only have a torch with you to enable you to see. On the last dive I finally got to see a white tipped shark hiding in a cave. Apparently they are harmless and none of the great whites live anywhere near the barrier reef. Trigger fish are the ones to watch out for and apparently another couple of divers saw my bright pink fins being attacked by one - I'm just glad I didn't see him. There were loads of sea cucumbers which are really funny and I got to hold one. We also saw giant clams, starfish, parrot fish, clown fish plus loads of coral it really was spectacular.
(note this was one of the pro pics that were included with our set so you can have good memories of what you saw rather than say this for example)
The crew were also great, really helpful with their knowledge of the reef and we met some really great people. We now hope to be able to plan some more dive holidays in the future and who knows we might even see if there's anything local (an old boot or a tin can off the shores of Southampton maybe!)