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Location: Great Barrier Reef

Today we woke up bright and early at 5 AM. The ProDive vans picked us up an hour later and we drove to the dive shop where we checked in for our 3-day live-aboard dive adventure. We drove all the way down to the boat on the pier while we watched the sun rise out the windows of the vans. We got to the boat and settled in the main cabin where we were assigned our rooms and safety numbers. Our safety numbers are used to check us in and out when we leave the boat for our dives so that they know who is on the boat and who isn’t. Once we were given our numbers, we brought our bags down to our rooms and came back up to the main cabin where we watched a safety video. After the video, we started to move as we began to sail to the Great Barrier Reef.

The crew then separated us into different groups depending on our certification levels. Everyone in our group is PADI Open Water Certified so we all sat together with Mark. Mark is a dive instructor and a skipper, so he is one of the two drivers of the boat. Mark is really funny, and I think he’s amazing because he’s the only other ginger haired person on the boat. He gave us a rundown on what we would be doing on the boat for the next 3 days and some safety protocols. We then went up to the top deck while we were driving to the reef, as many of us felt sick. The fresh air made everyone feel a lot better. While we were sailing, the crew spotted a few humpback whales pretty far out from the boat. Three of the whales swam closer and closer, to the point where they almost swam into the boat. When they came up beside us, it was amazing. This was definitely the highlight of my whole trip.

After the whales swam past our boat, we continued sailing until we got to the reef. We all got ready, had a dive briefing and jumped in the ocean. On my first dive, I went with Jacob, Charlie, and Blaise, who was leading us. We saw a ton of colorful coral and so many fish. It was amazing. It got me so excited for the rest of the 3-day trip. We made it back to the boat and dried off in the sun on the top deck. We tanned and ate lunch up there for a couple of hours. We then got ready for our second dive. On this dive, we were led in a group by one of the dive masters and saw so many fish and little Christmas Trees. Christmas Trees are these little worms that sit in the coral that look like trees. When you wave your hand at them or snap, they all disappear. It’s a really fun game to play if you’re ever bored while diving, which you never are. We came back up onto the boat and hung out again on the top deck.

We drove again to another dive location and once we were there, we got ready for our third dive. I decided not to go on it because I was really tired. I also promised Jacob I would make him a bracelet so I wanted to finish that. A few others decided not to go on this dive as well. Once the divers returned, we ate dinner and watched the sunset on the top deck. It was one of the prettiest sunsets I’ve ever seen. The sky was exploding with orange, pink and light purple; it was so cool.

Once the sun went down and everyone finished dinner, we had our night dive briefing. We were given glow sticks that were specific for each group and then we went and put our scuba stuff on. Since it was my first night dive, I was terrified, but so was everyone else and we bonded over our mutual feelings for the dive. We all jumped in. There was a little screaming and some people were freaking out a bit, but once we got under and got over the fact that you couldn’t see anything without your flashlight, it was really fun. It was so cool seeing this other world that most people never get to see. I felt so lucky swimming down there with my friends and being able to have this new experience with them. Despite the fact that we didn’t see much other than some redfish, it was amazing. Every once in a while, I got a little scared because I would see a shadow or something that I thought was a shark but each time it wasn’t. This made me sad because it wasn’t a shark, which is really cool to see, but also really happy that it wasn’t a shark because it would’ve been something that might eat me.

Once we got out of the ocean, we all dried off and got warm again. We all met in the main cabin for our forum, did highs and lows and we started to have a conversation about what we could each do individually to make our last few days as best as they could be. I went first talked about how I could try to get others to see the bright side of any situation and to try and support each other through our last few days. Our meeting was interrupted because a few people in our group were getting their Advanced Open Water Certification and had to attend a meeting with their instructor. I was so tired and accidentally fell asleep on one of the bench chairs while waiting for them. I don’t know anything that happened after that with our forum, but I groggily remember being woken up, going down to my bed and falling asleep again. Overall, today was an amazing day. I am so tired and exhausted from all of the amazing things we did. This day was for sure one of my top days of the whole trip.