“Would you like some Vaseline for your moustache?”
This was the third time this question had been posed to James by three separate diving instructors on our Ocean Freedom Great Barrier Reef tour; the boring explanation that defies any witty punchline is that apparently it helps the mask to seal against your face. James politely declined, explaining that his moustache seemed to be that of the non-porous variety.
James’ flourishing facial hair aside (he’s decided he isn’t shaving until NZ), we had the best day. Like, the best ever day (edit: our wedding day was pretty good).
The reef is special. So special. Unique. And we learnt so much about it on this memorable and educational day, which made us enjoy the experience of seeing it all the more.
James asked me a while ago why diving was that much better than snorkelling; was it really worth all the extra cash to just go down a few metres deeper? I couldn’t explain it at the time, as my memory of my Vietnam dive in 2008 was a little hazy, but after today, I think the word I’d use to describe diving is ‘intimate’. The intimacy with which you are connected with the underwater world when you dive is quite unlike anything else. It is a very individual experience; being unable to express or articulate your wonder to your fellow divers (barring a few hand gestures), all you can do is breathe and wonder at these magnificent creations that exist in what feels like a completely different world.
We felt overwhelmed. Our photos will never do it justice. The vibrant blues, greens, purples, oranges of the corals, the beauty, colours and sheer size of all the hundreds of different fish, the white tip reef shark darting into a cave to hide from us (bucket list item completed: swim with sharks), the giant barracuda baring its teeth just a metre away from us… It was all so stunning.
We felt it an utter privilege that we are in the fortunate position (as individuals but also as human beings) to be able to experience this natural phenomenon in such an intimate and special way.