Since my earliest childhood I was always rather in the ocean (or swimming pool) than onshore. I use every opportunity to be in water. And I enjoy every second of it to the fullest. I’m always the first one, who gets in the water, and the last, who gets out. Because of that, my parents used to call me: water rat (that’s a German nickname for people, who love being in water).
When I’m in the ocean and I dive a few meters under the surface, everything is so quiet. It is the quietest place in the world – overwhelming, endless, touching.
My thoughts, which are going crazy all day long, are quiet. I think of nothing, I don’t worry, I feel free and I only exist for the moment.
You realize how small you are when you’re floating in the endless width of the ocean.
Great Barrier Reef
During my time in Australia I could only witness a small part of the Great Barrier Reef. But what I saw, was beautiful.
All over the place are colourful coral reefs, anemones with clownfish, surgeonfish, rays, colourful giant clams, green wrasses, turtles, feather stars, sea stars, barracudas and much more. And if you’re lucky, you will see a hammerhead shark or a reef shark. Unfortunately, I wasn’t that lucky. However, instead of that I saw a humpback whale and her baby. This was a gorgeous and majestic sight. Under water you could even hear them singing sometimes. At the beginning, I couldn’t assign the noise and I thought that something was wrong with my equipment. I never heard whale song before. But one of the other divers explained it to me.
Between June and November is whale season at the east coast of Australia. That’s why there is a high chance of seeing a whale during this season of the year.
The diving at the Great Barrier Reef isn’t challenging, however there is plenty to look at. If I could, I would have stayed under water all day long.
I went diving with Cairns Dive Centre three times and every time was amazing. The boat left at 9a.m. and came back at 5p.m. So, the tour took the whole day. We drove to two different diving/ snorkelling spots. And every time we had the spots for ourselves because there was no other diving boat.
The crew members were joking all the time or they impressed us with their consolidated knowledge about the Great Barrier Reef. Besides, the lunch was really delicious.
Besides the Great Barrier Reef, I went diving at the SS Yongala. The SS Yongala is a ship wreck with a really sad story.
The passenger ship Yongala sank off Cape Bowling Green, Queensland, Australia on 23 March 1911.En route from Melbourne to Cairns she steamed into a cyclone and sank south of Townsville. All 122 aboard were lost and never found. The wreck wasn’t found until 1958. Till today the circumstances were never clarified and her sinking is one of the biggest shipping disasters of Australia.
Meanwhile, all kind of fish and reptiles are living at the wreck. However, the wreck isn’t recognisable as such anymore. She adapted herself perfectly to her new environment and is covered in corals, feather stars and shells. All over the place are rays, sharks, sea snakes, turtles, morays, groupers, sweet lips, maori wrasses, giant trevallies, barracudas and more. I’ve never seen so many fish and reptiles at one place before. It was just overwhelming. You didn’t know where to look first.
The SS Yongala is a mixture of mystery, history and adventure.
The diving at the Yongala is comparatively exhausting. The wreck is in the middle of the ocean and therefore it is exposed to a strong current. Furthermore, the wreck is located at a depth of 20 – 30 meters. So, divers should have at least an “Advanced” diving licence.
We made the half-day trip to the Yongala with Yongala Dive. Therefor we spent a night in Ayr at an accommodation of Yongala Dive. The trip started at 8 a.m. and ended at around 2p.m. with a BBQ at the dive school. On the boat, they provided us with beverages and snacks.
We chose Yongala Dive because it is one of the few, who starts their tip from Ayr. Most of the dive schools start their trip from Townsville but it takes 1-1,5 hours from there to get to the wreck. While it only takes 30 minutes from Ayr.
The SS Yongala is one of the most beautiful diving spots I have ever seen. Besides, Yongala Dive is a great dive school. For that reason, I’m thinking about doing my Dive Master Internship with them next year.