Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Down Time...

Over the years I have always found myself writing about diving. As much as that is a big part of me and my life It’s also nice to have some down time from time to time.

So what does a dive instructor do on his or her days off?

Being based in the quiet town of Port Douglas, far north Queensland allows friends and I to get out of town for the day. Whether it be for a morning of jet Ski-ing fun, a hike up Mossman gorge or acting as tour guide for visiting friends and family.

After being at sea and working in close proximity of colleagues and clients its nice to get out of town and away from the hustle and bustle of town life. Remembering exactly where we live geographically and how many spectacular sights and attractions we have here. Being spring means that days are warming up, skies are clear and the water is warming up slightly every day.
One of the days that stands out over the past few weekends was when three friends and I rented some Jet Skis from the marina. Dave from Port Douglas jet Ski hire did a great job escorting us from the marina over a glass out day where on the way over low lying reef we spotted reef fish and some rays scourging over the sand.

The plan was to head out to snapper island, a few nautical miles north of port. The flat seas and crystal clear water made it a pleasure to be out there and enjoying a morning away from land. Ironic seeing as I’m out on boats just about every day. With Conan and Brook in one ski and Josh and I on the other we managed to not only to race in a straight lines but also doing doughnuts and fast turns. Stopping at Snapper one of the first impressions, apart from the sight, was the sound. The location of the islands northern beaches means the fragments of coral are washed up on shore creating a snow white beach of finger sized pieces. The waves lapping on the shore gives the sound of wind chimes moving in the spring breeze.


After a bit of a snorkel around the low lying reefs we headed off to Low Isles, a few miles east of Snapper, on the way we spotted dolphins and obviously managed to entertain them for a few minutes before they either got bored or hungry.

Coming back after 2 hours of riding we headed back into shore and managed to pass the sailing catamarans heading out for the days charter. Lets just say that our work mates weren’t as happy to see us riding around in the sun while they were working. Josh and I were cruising home when we spotted a 2mt hammerhead shark near the surface which topped of the morning nicely.
Other days have entailed going up to Mossman Gorge for a hikes up the gorge and lunch. Of course no weekend outing is complete without a mask to go for a snorkel. The cool, clear pools at the bottom of rapids make perfect pools for snorkelling. Again, ironic I know seeing as I’m underwater five days a week… Are you spotting a trend here…

Just today I went up to cape Tribulation with some 4 friends. It’s nice to see people getting out of town albeit only 80km away scenery and climate are so diverse. All of us agreed that it makes for a great day out and a great excuse to get out of Port. Swimming in the blue hole, a walk on Thorntons beach and lunch at a great local bar/restaurant in Cow bay all made for a great Saturday after a week of diving on the reef.

There are many factors that make days off so enjoyable, one of which is that the weather here is spectacular just about all year round which makes decision making a breeze. And the fact that there are always friends willing to jump to any occasion. All of which are divers or work colleagues and in the same mindset of exploring things other than the local pub and the wrong end of a hangover.  

Thinking back to all the outings we have taken here, be it to the waterfalls and tablelands or blue hole and spring creek we always take dive masks, plenty of drinking water and fresh fruit. Just being outdoors in nature and better still when the surrounding are part of the Daintree rain forest seems to re-charge the batteries and a real good way to switch off after a week of work. Much more exciting than going on a bender the night before and suffering from a hangover and fatigue the next day.
Thanks to all my mates that have either tagged along or let me tag along for days out and exploring, helping to experience new sights and sounds that we have right on our back doorstep.  

A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.
Charles Darwin

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