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Old 3rd October 2013, 15:53   #1
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Default Scuba Diving in the Great Barrier Reefs

THE GREAT BARRIER REEF

It has been a dream to dive in the Great Barrier Reefs, on the East Coat of Australia.

I have been diving and doing under water photography from 1974 to 1989, when I was in the Indian Navy.

I have done it all in Maldives, Seychelles, Mauritius and Lakshadweep Islands.

Since 1989, I did not dive till 23 Sept 2013.

Fate provided me with an opportunity and I grabbed it with both hands.

LADAKH

I returned from a Motorcycling trip to Ladakh 02 Sept 2013 and boarded an Air India flight to Sydney from Delhi, 14 Sept 2013. It was a Boeing DREAM LINER aircraft non stop 12 hours flight.

SYDNEY-CAIRNS

My nephew who lives near Sydney, Ashim Ranadive, is a certified PADI Diver.

He made all arrangements for me to arrive Cairns 20th Sept.

I also got a Go Pro 3 Hero Black Camera.

PADI

My original plan was to do a refresher Scuba Diving Course and get PADI certified too.

Regrets I flunked the stringent Medicals at the Cairns Center, Monday, 21 Sept 2013.

OPTIONS

I opted to do a simple Snorkeling and Dive direct in the Great Barrier. Tuesday 22/23 Sept I got on board Reef Dives Yatch and off we sailed out to the Great Barrier Reef from Cairns Marina.

THE DIVE

We were at the Marina at 7:30 AM.

An hour of cruising with super on board entertainment we arrived at the first Dive site.

The procedure is like this:

a) Self declaration form of Medicals.
b) First snorkel. If cleared by on board PADI Certified Diving Instructors, do an INTRODUCTORY DIVE with Scuba. Clear that and step C.
c) Pay $ 65/- for 40 minutes scuba dive at depth of around 20 meters max.

I cleared the tests to Dive.

While snorkeling, I used the Go Pro in the Video Mode. While Diving I used another still camera.

SNORKELING:

I was in Group # 5 of 4 tourists. Each group had a Safety Diver. 2 young Chinese ladies from Hong Kong were in my Group. We set off to the Reefs some 100 meters away. Smooth run first 50 meters. One lady, Wu, panicked and grabbed me. I hauled her to the Safety Diver and got her on board the Yatch.

After a hot cup of coffee I started snorkeling again with Go Pro.

This time no issues except that the Go Pro battery drained out !

THE DIVE

After snorkeling I met the Skipper of the Yatch, another Master Mariner like me. I told him about my Diving experiences and stated that I had sailed through the Barrier Reef on 3 occasions on board Merchant Vessels to Port Mackey.

Turned out the Skipper was a Barrier Reef Pilot !!

I mildly protested to him about the expensive $ 65/- for one scuba dive.

He immediately summoned hte Dive Master and told him " Captain Chitnis is my guest!"

That did it! 2 Dives free to air!

DIVING

Since my Go Pro battery had drained out, I asked the Chinese lady Wu to lend me her rented still camera. She did that without any fuss.

PHOTOGRAPHY

So I have clips of the Video while snorkeling and still photographs when Diving.

COSTS

The one day trip costs $ 85/- at 2 dive spots with lunch on board.

WHAT I GOT

Plenty of fishes and corals including a large Barracuda and Parrot Fish.

WHAT I DID NOT GET

Turtles, Sharks, Manta/Sting Rays and Giant Groupers. Some other PADI Divers did get them !

That sums up the text part of this travelogue.

Here are my pics:
Attached Thumbnails
Scuba Diving in the Great Barrier Reefs-snorkeller.jpg  

Scuba Diving in the Great Barrier Reefs-giant-clam.jpg  

Scuba Diving in the Great Barrier Reefs-coralsofthard-mix.jpg  

Scuba Diving in the Great Barrier Reefs-clown-trigger-fish.jpg  

Scuba Diving in the Great Barrier Reefs-yellowmask-angelfish.jpg  

Attached Images
 
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Old 3rd October 2013, 16:07   #2
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Default re: Scuba Diving in the Great Barrier Reefs

Amazing and wonderful photos of the undersea world, chitnis sir. The colour of the corals and fishes look amazing under the blue water. If you have videos/pics, keep' em coming.

Cheers!!!!!!
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Old 3rd October 2013, 18:34   #3
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Default Re: Scuba Diving in the Great Barrier Reefs

Hello Sir,

Congrats.

You are actually living a life that most of only dream of. After third trip to Ladakh (second trip on bike) you immediately flew off to Australia.

But only 6 photopraphs of the Great Barrier Reef? We surely deserve more photographs. Also request you to post clips of the Video shooting done while snorkeling.

Thanks,
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Old 4th October 2013, 01:10   #4
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Default Re: Scuba Diving in the Great Barrier Reefs

Here are a few more.

Will upload video after processing.

I have some good still pictures.

Regrets I am not yet proficient with the Go Pro 3 Black Edition sports camera.
Attached Thumbnails
Scuba Diving in the Great Barrier Reefs-big-parrot-fish.jpg  

Scuba Diving in the Great Barrier Reefs-lr-down-under-coral-reef.jpg  

Scuba Diving in the Great Barrier Reefs-bi-colour-angelfish.jpg  

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Old 4th October 2013, 04:10   #5
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Default Re: Scuba Diving in the Great Barrier Reefs

Here is a Go Pro 3 Hero video clip while I snorkeled in the Great Barrier Reef.

I am not yet fully proficient using this camera yet.

Toward 4 minutes from start, the coral reefs are nice.


Last edited by nanduchitnis : 4th October 2013 at 04:16.
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Old 4th October 2013, 10:03   #6
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Default Re: Scuba Diving in the Great Barrier Reefs

Captain Saab,
You always inspire us on 'How to live life to the fullest!'
After getting certified as a diver in Sept'12, I am looking for an oppurtunity to dive again.
This thread has revived that spirit.
Lets plan to some thing, when you are down south by any chance

Regards,
Maverick79
(Manza guy who met you in one of those Tapri meets in Pune)
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Old 4th October 2013, 11:10   #7
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Default Re: Scuba Diving in the Great Barrier Reefs

Amazing Photos, the photos are as good as any photos from NGC or Discovery.

Expecting you to post more photos

I may be off to Australia for 6 - 8 weeks on office work. Any advise to the dummies like me regarding snorkel/diving..

Though I know swimming, have not done snorkel/diving except for once in Andaman.

Regards
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Old 5th October 2013, 01:52   #8
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Default Re: Scuba Diving in the Great Barrier Reefs

The first time ever that I shot a BARRACUDA!
Attached Thumbnails
Scuba Diving in the Great Barrier Reefs-barracuda.jpg  

Scuba Diving in the Great Barrier Reefs-strange-fella.jpg  

Scuba Diving in the Great Barrier Reefs-lr-down-under-coral-reef.jpg  

Scuba Diving in the Great Barrier Reefs-stag-horn-corals.jpg  

Scuba Diving in the Great Barrier Reefs-regal-angelfish.jpg  


Last edited by nanduchitnis : 5th October 2013 at 01:56.
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Old 5th October 2013, 02:28   #9
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Default Re: Scuba Diving in the Great Barrier Reefs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maverick79 View Post

Captain Saab,

You always inspire us on 'How to live life to the fullest!'
After getting certified as a diver in Sept'12, I am looking for an oppurtunity to dive again.

This thread has revived that spirit.

Lets plan to some thing, when you are down south by any chance

Regards,
Maverick79
(Manza guy who met you in one of those Tapri meets in Pune)
Hey Maverick! I am planning Goa/Andamans for PADI and "live a board" around March next year. Most like y Andamans. Goa is cheap for PADI only. I do not think Netrani is good for UW Photography.

Maldives is # 1. But hotels expensive. I am checking out their "Live on Board" options which appear reasonable.

Have studied You Tube UW Video clips of Havelock, off Port Blair. Not impressed.

Maldives I have done 1975/78/83 when in the Indian Navy. I am sure it is the # 1 Scuba Diving Destination in the World.

My scene is UW photography only. Need strobes for Go Pro 3 Hero.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chandrda View Post
Amazing Photos, the photos are as good as any photos from NGC or Discovery.

Expecting you to post more photos

I may be off to Australia for 6 - 8 weeks on office work. Any advise to the dummies like me regarding snorkel/diving..

Though I know swimming, have not done snorkel/diving except for once in Andaman.

Regards
Chandra: May I suggest you buy snorkel,masks,fins and start practicing in a pool either here or in Australia. Get physically fit.

Pro Dive, Cairns is the best for PADI. All inclusive package $ 850/-.

I stayed at a bag packers hotel, The Jack. $ 22/- per day.

Also if only snorkeling is your scene, then hire a UW camera for $ 30/- a day WITH FLASH. One day reef trip is enough $ 88/-. Best buy Go Pro 3 Hero, Silver Edition is cheap, I got the Black Edition $ 400/-

Rain Forests in Cairns a MUST DO.

Scoot to Gold Coast after Cairns.

Many options are available in Cairns depending what your scene is.

You may get to see much more than I did !!

This shark I DID NOT SEE. A fellow SCUBA DIVER in my group, certified PADI, shot the pic. He saw this shark behind me, then the shark turned away and he got a great shot. Sharks here are human friendly. They have seen thousands of SCUBA Divers over the years.

Well my (borrowed) still camera had a built in Flash. That lights up colors and colors nicely.
Attached Thumbnails
Scuba Diving in the Great Barrier Reefs-grey-whaler-shark.jpg  


Last edited by nanduchitnis : 5th October 2013 at 02:32.
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Old 9th October 2013, 12:08   #10
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Default Re: Scuba Diving in the Great Barrier Reefs

Here are two pics I shot in Mincoy (Turtle) and a Sting Ray in the Maldives with a DIY housing for an 35 mm SLR film camera way back 1976.
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Old 9th October 2013, 12:30   #11
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Default Re: Scuba Diving in the Great Barrier Reefs

Quote:
Originally Posted by nanduchitnis View Post
Here are two pics I shot in Mincoy (Turtle) and a Sting Ray in the Maldives with a DIY housing for an 35 mm SLR film camera way back 1976.
Sir, salute to your spirit.

Life begins at Sixty!

Are you planning to drop by Chennai sometime? Would be glad to host you!
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Old 9th October 2013, 12:36   #12
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Default Re: Scuba Diving in the Great Barrier Reefs

Quote:
Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
Sir, salute to your spirit.

Life begins at Sixty!

Are you planning to drop by Chennai sometime? Would be glad to host you!
Hitanshu, thanks. I am planning to hit some dive spots in and arond Port Blair sometime next year. I guess I will use a train to Chennai and fly Chennai-Port Blair.

You in Chennai? For how long?

Rgds
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Old 9th October 2013, 13:00   #13
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Default Re: Scuba Diving in the Great Barrier Reefs

Quote:
Originally Posted by nanduchitnis View Post
Hitanshu, thanks. I am planning to hit some dive spots in and arond Port Blair sometime next year. I guess I will use a train to Chennai and fly Chennai-Port Blair.

You in Chennai? For how long?

Rgds
Atleast two years in Chennai. You haven't met Daksh Gandhi thus far, no? Please be our guest in our humble abode

Port Blair flights were mostly early morning - you all can crash with us for the night for sure! Which operator are u going with? http://www.diveindia.com/ is run by a friend - I can connect you with him.
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Old 9th October 2013, 13:16   #14
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Default Re: Scuba Diving in the Great Barrier Reefs

Quote:
Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
Atleast two years in Chennai. You haven't met Daksh Gandhi thus far, no? Please be our guest in our humble abode

Port Blair flights were mostly early morning - you all can crash with us for the night for sure! Which operator are u going with? http://www.diveindia.com/ is run by a friend - I can connect you with him.
Will love to meet Daksh !

Great link. My plan is as follows:

a) Have got mask snorkels and fins here. Plan to get physically fit over Mid Oct to Feb 14.
b) Enroll for PADI open water course.
c) Live aboard are great options if availabe.
d) Top priority will be UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY

Can you talk to your friend and get me quotes.

Nandu
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Old 18th October 2013, 21:57   #15
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Default Re: Scuba Diving in the Great Barrier Reefs

Very nice pictures and travelogue. Reminded me of my dive trip to GBR. I did the 4 days liveaboard on Spirit Of Freedom. We dove Cods Hole, Outer Reef and the Ribbon reef. Also a Shark dive with feeding frenzy. It was really a nice experience as it was my first live aboard and diving in warm waters.

As for chandrda's question, there are many dive operators in Cairns who can take you to the inner reef for two dives. Liveaboard is for more advanced divers as typically you dive in blue water (no bottom) so you need good buoyancy skills and some time there can be strong currents. Prodive is quite nice, in fact Prodive's owner dove with us during that trip. Spirit of Freedom guys were making fun of him, though it was all good natured.

Capt Chitnis, let me know if it is OK with you then I can add few pictures in your thread mostly the sharks that I encountered.
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