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

By Douglas Sassman.


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Item #62 states quite clearly, *Dive* the Great Barrier Reef. I know in my heart that sitting at our little table on the platform wouldn’t cut it, in order to earn the check I would have to get in the water. I beat my wits out of bed and gather ‘em up. “I’m gonna go skin diving,” I say in a mechanical voice.

My wife looks at me for a moment and says, “I’ll be right here.” I hoist myself up, and head over to the diving area. All the equipment is available, snorkel, fins, mask. Rope and buoys mark the supervised diving area, anything outside of that looks like an embrace with death with the threatening skies and roving dull gray swells. Out to sea I see massive breakers chewing at the reef’s edge.

“Should I be concerned about box jellyfish?” It had to be asked.

The guy supervising the safe swim area looks down at me from his chair. “Ahhh no mate. They’re mostly inshore along the beaches.” All I hear is mostly.

Snorkeling in a one-meter swell requires constant care because you never know when a glug of seawater is going to come unannounced down your snorkel. The visibility is limited, but still a good twenty feet. I potter around at the surface for a while taking in the myriad of coral and fish; then I slip beneath the water and into a silent realm.




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