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A Day On Australia's Great Barrier Reef (I).

By Douglas Sassman.

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My wife and I have a list. It’s a list of a hundred things we want to do before we die. Most are exotic, like #10 – Climb Mount Kilamanjaro, and #15 – Heli-ski the Bugaboos. Some are, shall we say, less than striking, such as #83 – Spend a week at a health resort (I make no claim on that one).

And others should really be removed, as in #38 – Go parachuting (please), and #27 – Surf Pipeline (my body would be wedged in a lava hole). Once in a rare while we get to cross an item off the list. My wife cajoled me into bungy jumping, and with a permanent black ink marker I put a line through #31 – Go bungy jumping.

We moved to New Zealand and #7 – Live in a foreign country, was crossed out. We spent a month in Europe and there went #12 – Spend a month in Europe.

The list has become not just a mere to-do list, but also a catalog of accomplishments; with each checked item, a tale of triumph and inspiration goes with it…at least that was until #62 – Dive the Great Barrier Reef.

#62 by anyone’s reckoning should have been an easy one to bag. The cost of getting there the only major hurdle, but now that we lived in New Zealand #62 was only a wedge shot across the Tasman Sea. However, as it turned out, we were ill informed, ill equipped, and suckered in by a glossy three-leaf brochure.

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