Thursday 21st February

A giant turtle, Great Barrier Reef
A rare treat - a turtle that didn't swim away from you at the earliest opportunity.

The second day began with an early start - we were in the water for the first dive at 6:15, and this was to be our deep dive - straight down to 34m to play fun and games, like write our names backwards, do simple arithmetic and so on, just to assess whether we were affected by the depth (nitrogen narcosis it's called, and it makes divers feel drunk and can cause irrational behaviour). I felt fine, did my sums, wrote my name etc. Deep dives can be pretty boring really - you get very little time at the bottom because you're using so much air, the colours are dull and there's not always a huge amount to see.

Me and Mr Turtle, Great Barrier Reef.
Me and Mr Turtle, Great Barrier Reef.

After that we did a multi-level dive. I won't bore you with details, but there was one highlight - a big old turtle swam with us and seemed to be posing for photos. Usually they swim away - you can't out-swim a turtle! This one was quite happy to swim at our pace, munch away on the coral while I snapped away with the underwater camera.

So, I've got the next qualification, and I'm back on dry land (if only it'd stop wobbling, eh?) and I've now discovered that in the chaos that is a liveaboard boat I've left behind one t-shirt and the top half of my zip-off trousers. With no hope of retrieving them, I've just binned the bottom part and am sat here in my soaking wet boardies (freshly soaked, as I washed them in the shower to get off the salt, only to discover afterwards that I had no dry change of clothes!).

In the evening it was off to the pub (The Woolshed again) for a spot of food and a few lagers before getting a much needed rest. No plans for tomorrow - I think I'll take an easy stroll around town before getting the flight back to Sydney.