I have been on the road continuously for eight months now, and currently write from Agnes Water, Queensland, Australia. Having escaped the cold winter in Sydney, I have been traveling north up the east coast. I aim to reach Cape Tribulation, one of the worlds oldest rain forests, and the Great Barrier Reef, where I plan to scuba dive.
Only recently had I completed my first two dives in Koh Tao, Thailand, with the support of a couple of fantastic Dive Master students there at Asia Divers. Despite being a perfectly good swimmer, I had been afraid of open water almost all my life. Shaking in my wetsuit and fins, and trying to support the weight of my tank, I practically fell off the back of the boat into the water. My breathing rate shot up as I kicked and thrashed around, terrified of what might be beneath me ready to attack. But this was a short lived terror – once I could see the contents of the water through my mask it really wasn’t half as scary as all the other times I had tried to swim with my head above the water. The two dives turned out to be magical.
As a big fan of wildlife, this was a fear I had always wanted to face as I knew I would soon be hooked on this new underwater world. And as a traveler on a tight budget I knew this was not a hobby I would be able to sustain on a regular basis, so I went and found an old snorkel and mask and embraced every opportunity to get in the water at no cost at all.
Having spent the last few months snorkeling in the south of Indonesia where the marine life is truly fantastic, I had arrived in Australia all psyched up to dive these famous waters. However, the constant whispers on the backpacker trail I hear are of compulsory stinger suits, shark sightings and prohibited swimming, which has got my knees shaking again.
It’s time to be brave.