As part of our Cairns trip, we took a snorkeling cruise today to see Michaelmas Cay and Hastings Reef, two reefs that are just tiny smidgens of the absolutely enormous and striking Great Barrier Reef. I’ve always been terrified of deep ocean water; drowning is something that really scares me. I took swim lessons when I was in high school and learned to swim and tread water, but I’ve always hated the feeling of not being able to breathe through my nose, and I never quite mastered the breathing technique during the free-style stroke. Swimming under water and not at the surface also makes me very uneasy, so I figured snorkeling would be a safe choice for me to see the reef.
I was scared initially, but I realized how easy it was to snorkel and get carried away by following different fish. We saw so many different types of bright and neon colored fish of all different shades – a greater variety than I could have even imagined that went far past just the Nemo/clown fish variety I was already imagining. The coral reef itself was vibrant and of colors I only dreamt of seeing. It felt so calming and surreal to just swim and feel like I was one of them in this vast, deep sea. While snorkeling and snapping pictures with my underwater digital camera, I just felt that this was one of the best experiences in my life — to be in the middle of the ocean with my flippers just like a fish. I kept looking down to the bottom of the ocean floor and thinking, wow, I’m really swimming in the ocean where in certain parts, the depths are so far down that my naked eye can’t quite see the bottom. It made me think more about how vast and complex the world is, and how little of it I have had the chance to see in my life to date no matter what anyone thinks or says.