Saturday, July 10, 2010

Australia photos - Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef, Days 7 - 11

I wish I had time to focus on the beauty of Cairns and northern Queensland on the first day, but alas - scuba diving duty called (this photo was taken outside of the training pool)

Peter Raby, our principal dive instructor

Feeling mischievous - "I shall secretly descend 5 meters below the maximum! No one will ever know!"

We ripped this guy to shreds whilst driving through Cairns - what self-respecting dude, straight, gay, or otherwise, gets ANY tattoo on the small of his back, let alone that of a BUTTERFLY?
(by the way - it was a hilarious coincidence that he was adjusting his shorts, thereby revealing more of said tattoo)

Ye olde hostel (one of my favorites - outstanding staff)

Beware the slight threat of saltwater crocodiles

Great minds think alike, when it comes to amateur photography

Looking the other way down the coast

Cairns' wonderful esplanade

Reef Teach, a two hour night class that taught us about the underwater critters

Are we there yet?

Cairns Dive Centre - waiting to head to the harbor

The Queensland coast, off of Cairns - Great Barrier Reef, here we come!

These guys typically do 5 days of this, followed by 5 days on the liveaboard... hence the yawn

Can you tell this is a dive expedition?

The smile belies the nauseating waves

My cabin in the liveaboard, the Kangaroo Explorer - my home for the next 3 days

Moore Reef, outside my window

Feeling good after my first dive, around 1pm at Moore Reef

Two dives under my belt, at Briggs Reef, 4pm

Gorgeous sunset, approaching our 7pm night dive (bear in mind - seasons reversed, sun sets around 5pm)

The deck of the K.E., prior to sunset (the background is whitewashed)

My station, my gear

Back to that sunset...

Studying the dive map prior to our night dive

The cafeteria, aka The Saloon

Feeling sexy after a dive ;-)

Dive buddy Kevin, a fellow Yank (but alas, a Red Wings fan... who lives amongst Avs fans in Colorado, go figure)

Deep dive, day 3 - Tassie, our instructor for the day, has brought an egg to crack open as we rest on the ocean floor, at 24 meters (over 70 feet)

The egg yolk is under so much pressure that it's suspended

So we play ping pong with it!

I poked and prodded it, but it wouldn't break

Beneath 20 meters, the possibility of nitrogen narcosis ("getting narced") increases. While not life threatening, it can impare one's judgment. Kevin and I took a speed reflex test on the surface, and had to repeat the test under water to see how well our minds could react.
Tassie makes his notations

Methinks I did pretty well... and no, I wasn't narced. Next time! ;-)

Don't try this at home, kids! If you live 24 meters beneath the sea... Tassie is taking a breath (very quickly, I might add) from a bottle of water, after having put a breath of air into it. You couldn't pay me enough money to attempt this seemingly simple operation.

The pressure effected the shape of the bottle... yes, Effected, not Affected :-D

Safety stop - quite necessary after being down so deep

Hey, sunrise!

Back on board for all of an hour before the next dive! (Dive tables be damned, apparently)

Dressed for success

Notice Kevin's priceless reaction as he sees the bottle's normal dimensions

From left, the cutest Belgian in the world, Niella (sp), "General" Glenn McCarthy, and Tassie

Angelica from Gothenberg, Sweden, and Gail from Vancouver, Canada

Peter, ever the clown

Back on shore

I feel really bad about forgetting this guy's name (Sam?) - at any rate, he's demonstrating how wobbly we all felt

Two Dutch beginner divers (Maartin on the right, forgot the one on the left!), celebrating scuba success at the Woolshed in Cairns (on 5 drinks for $10 night!)

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