The weather forecast was perfect. Calm seas and sunshine forecast. So good it was hard to resist really.
My friend Scotty fancied a dive so I knew my buddy would be decent. Why the hesitation? Because with three dives in the day I’d be up to number 100…
…and you’re supposed to do your 100th dived naked.
^^^Nemo looks shocked and scared by this prospect doesn’t he?
Ok, sure, it’s not in the PADI handbook or anything, but much like the ‘snorkel test’ at the end of a divemaster course it’s a tradition upheld my many avid divers. Plus it’s a really big milestone especially after 8 years of diving and one that I was keen to mark, though maybe not by getting my ladybits out in front of a boat of 80 people.
Thankfully a plan was hatched and Scottie and I set off Silverswift my favourite of all the Cairns dive boats.
Luckily the weather was even better than we expected and we were treated to amazing visibility and many sighting of our favourite creatures.
^^^Scottie’s beard is everyone’s favourite sea creature!
We visited my Flynn reef which just happens to be one of my favourite spots. Silverswift have their own moorings there and I’ve never done a bad dive thanks to the reefs proximity to the continental shelf – there is a 2km drop off just a couple of kilometres away guaranteeing a steady stream of clear, fresh water form the open ocean.
I’d nabbed a camera from Wet Rez for the day to have a play with snapping photos rather than videos for a change.
^^^Leopard blenny, my favourite fish and this was a teeny baby one too.
My advice when hiring is to always get the best camera possible – in this case a Canon G16 – to ensure the best pictures. Wet Rez offers the best value for money in Cairns with a day hire of a G16 and 4GB memory card for only $49, oh and did I mention you get to keep the memory card too? You can’t go wrong with that really, especially if there’s a few of you sharing!
An extra few dollars on the day translates to a far better outcome especially when cropping and zooming during editing afterwards.
^^^This little guy is the size of my little fingernail and I’ve had to crop the photo right in to get him to show up. I almost deleted this picture because I didn’t spot him at first and thought it was one where he’d run back inside the anemone house!
^^^The macro on the G16 is amazing! Look at the coral saying haaaaaaai!
Many of the reefs have their own ‘Wally’, a nickname given to the large Maori Wrasse. It’s probably the friendliest fish in the sea and they are often referred to as the puppies of the ocean. They remember people, are extremely inquisitive and love to interact with the humans that visit every day.
On Flynn reef the wrasse is nicknamed ‘Nigel’ by the nice Silverswift crew, or ‘Nigel No Mates’ by the mean ones! Poor Nigel doesn’t have a lady friend like many others, maybe someone needs to invent fish tinder?
When we’d first hopped in Scotty had tried in vain to make friend with Nigel but he was having none of it, choosing to eyeball us from a safe distance. We were told by one of the Silverswift crew that he’d been caught by a fisherman a week or so before and they’d had to cut a hook free from his mouth. Understandably this had made Nigel a little more wary!
As we ascended from our first dive I tried desperately to get Scotty’s attention because Nigel was swimming right around his feet.
He clearly likes playing hard to get, the second Scotty wasn’t interested suddenly he wanted the attention. Hmm…perhaps we’re now getting why Nigel has no ladyfishfriends if you get my drift?
^^^The look of love?
^^^This huge boulder coral had been ripped up during Cyclone Yasi exposing the ‘root’. It’s a bit scary seeing things like this, it was well over 4m high and it puts the scale of the cyclone in to perspective.
Despite Scotty being a dive instructor he’d not mastered the art of blowing bubble rings and we spent quite a large portion of time practicing.
He got the hang of it eventually, ish… (Just kidding mate you get a gold star)
Not that I’m a total expert, I usually end up forgetting I’ve exhaled almost all of my air and half choking to death trying to refill my lungs.
Only joking Mum, it’s totally safe.
We were stoked to spot heaps of white tip reef shark who seemed pretty active (usually they’re snoozing on the sand during the day).
Of course everyone wants to see a turtle and this little chap was very friendly, a little too friendly actually… It made him quite hard to photograph!
^^^Getting all up in ma grill.
Soon the third dive was looming…to be naked or not???
Just kidding, I went dressed in my elmo onsie like a totally normal person.
Well I had to mark the occasion somehow and I didn’t fancy potentially scarring others in my dive group (not to mention Scotty) for life by frog kicking my way around the reef wearing no knickers!
Although I did forget that my nice red onsie would look black underwater. Probably should have worn something yellow like a minion one (yes, we do have a selection of onsies despite living in the tropics. And what of it?)
I tell you what though, when that thing is wet it weighs about 10kgs. I almost fell backwards off the ladder getting out because I was so surprised by the extra pounds I suddenly had. If only all weight came off as easily as that did though…!
It was a day to remember, not just because of my ridiculous outfit, and reminded me of why Silverswift is my favourite boat to dive on. Their reef sites are amazing, all the dive gear is so decent I never bring anything except my mask and fins and most importantly they humour idiots like me that think 18 metres underwater on a reef is the best place ever for fancy dress.
Here’s to the next 100!