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Amber Sprague's Blog on Scuba Diving at the Great Barrier Reef

Aug. 15, 2007

SAN DIEGO, Calif. - This is a blog from junior center Amber Sprague on her experince in Australia snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef.

Yesterday we went to the Great Barrier Reef and it was so much fun! I was really nervous to go out there because I thought I was going to get sea sick. We had to drive an hour on a bus before we even got to the dock where we got on the boat. Once we got on the boat we still had another hour to drive out to the reef. Part of the trip included snorkelling but I really wanted to try to scuba dive. I had heard so many great things about it and my coaches and Rego convinced me to actually try it. I figured I should do it because it was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me. On the way out to the reef all the people who wanted to scuba dive had to go into a room and get certified to do it for the day. We had to watch a video of how to do it and the risks that were involved. While I was watching the video I started to second guess myself and I was really nervous to go. When we got to the reef Rego and I were in the first group of people to go. When we got to the reef our boat pulled up to a floating dock that was in the middle of the ocean. Since we were in the first group to go we had to rush to get off so we could get ready for the dive. I was feeling really confident and I walked down to the divers area and put on all my gear. It wasn't until I was in the water that I started to freak out. We had on all the scuba gear, the tank was on my back I had on a wet suit and my goggles were on my face. There were only 3 people in our group, Rego myself and a stranger and then of course our instructor. The instructor told us to put our face in the water to get a feel for breathing through the tube and having the mask on your face. I felt good with that part and then he told us to sit in the water and to relax and keep breathing through the tube and that is when I freaked out!! I went from standing in the water to sitting in it and I did not like that at all. I was sitting with all these huge fish and they were swimming around me and I wanted to get out of there as fast as possible. We were only 2 feet from the top of the water so I shot right up back to the top. The instructor came with me and I told him there is no way I am going down there. All I could think about was "what if my mask comes off" "how can this possibly be safe for me." He reassured me and Coach Fisher kept telling me everything was going to be alright. After a few times of sitting down and popping back up to the top the instructor finally convinced me to go. He said he would hold my hand and take me through and everything would be ok. We finally started to descend and I was shaking uncontrollably. I have never been that scared in my life. We had to go down about 37feet in the ocean. The instructor had to pull me all the way down to the bottom because all I wanted to do was turn around and go back. I stopped a couple times and shook my head at the instructor signalling that I did not want to keep going. He smiled at me and took my hand and kept pulling me further down. Once we got down to the bottom I loved it! I was still really nervous and shaking but it was so beautiful at the bottom of the reef. We swam with all the fish and sat on the ocean floor and got a very close look at all the reefs. The instructor was awesome; he handled all the fish like they were his own. Some of the biggest fish down there were about 3 or 4 feet long. They swam right up against you so you got a really good look at them. The instructor would grab the huge fish by the mouth and open it so we got to see inside. We were only down in the water for 30 minutes and even though I was really scared I did not want to come back to the top. I wish I could have stayed down there longer. At the end I was so happy I went scuba diving because it was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. Now I can say my first and last time scuba diving was in the Great Barrier Reef and it is a memory that will be with me for a lifetime.