Morello, Kerrin

Scuba Diving: Adventures at the Great Barrier Reef

With the events from the night before painfully taking over my body, I rose that morning awaiting an adventure that I have been anticipating for as long as I could remember. I had finally made it to Cairns, Australia, the home of a place I have always dreamed of visiting one day, the Great Barrier Reef.

Since I was a little girl, I have always loved the ocean. The sound of the waves crashing, the saltiness of the air, and just the overall calming feeling the ocean brings has always been the reasons to why the ocean is so dear to my heart. The Great Barrier Reef has always been a place on my bucket list that I was determined to get to one day in my life. Ever since both my grandparents and older brother visited the reef, I knew I had to go. “It was honestly the coolest thing I have ever seen. My favorite part was when I actually saw Nemo in the anemone, I felt like I was actually in Finding Nemo,” says my brother Stephen about his experience at the reef. Fortunately, I was able to visit it a lot sooner than I originally thought I would be able to during my semester abroad in Australia.

The journey to the Great Barrier Reef began with about an hour long catamaran boat ride, which actually felt like an eternity due to the waves and constant rocking of the boat. Finally, I arrived to the diving site and began to put on my scuba gear and get in the water. I was so excited and ready to just get in the ocean, I really did not pay much attention to the guides explaining what to do and expect when getting in the water.

Once I was in the water, I followed my guide to the side of the boat, where we were instructed to hold on to these pull-up bar type equipment that hung from the side of the boat. I had only been under the water for a couple of minutes, until my ears began to start writhing with pain. I tried to remember all of the safety instructions the guide had said earlier, but my ears were in so much pain I completely drew a blank and began to panic. I quickly swam to the instructor and let him know I was done and needed to get out of the water immediately.

I was devastated because this has always been one of my dreams, and I have also never had any problems in the water prior to this experience. After a couple of minutes, one of the guides came over to me and basically told me I had no choice but to get back into the water and find Nemo. I put all my gear back on and got in the water and was ready to see the reef with my own eyes.

The second time around, we completely skipped the pull-up bar equipment and went straight to the reef. Fortunately, my ears were not in as much pain as before, so I was able to actually go further under the water and see the reef. The reef was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. It was truly a surreal experience that I will honestly never forget. I am so grateful that I was able to get back in the water and make one of my dreams turn into a reality and truly have a memory that will last a lifetime.