Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Down at Cod Hole

We signed up for a full day trip out to Cod Hole. They got us a great fishing boat Facsination III as the diving boat was out for repair.

It was a long way out and what made this place special is the Potato and Camo' cod! The Cod Hole was first made famous by Rod & Valerie Taylor. I saw so many giant potato cods (up to 30kg) and my husband doing the dives even get to feed them out in the sea. You do not feed food directly from your hand, in case you get bitten. You have to rem these are HUGE fishes with SOLID teeth attached. So instead, a containter with holes at 4 sides are used where you can stick your hands within the container as a shield and distribute food from there. The sea current will sweep the food out and attract the cod.

It was amazin at how tame and subdue they are! If they come close enough, you can even gently pat them on the sides or under their chin, which apparently is their favourite part. However, never stroke a fish on the top as they might extend the fins and slash your hands if they felt spoked.

The Ribbon Reefs run parallel to the coastline and offer a huge range of stunning dive sites. As these reefs are visited by fewer operators then the outer barrier reef and as such are in pristine condition. The nemos and the corals were amazing! As I was the 2nd to get down while the rest made their way slowly, the guide in water pointed out the 2 black tipped sharks beneath me. These sharks are pretty harmless and doesnt attack human, well normally at least unless provoked. It was amazing! I wished they would surface closer since they were much further down but well, one has to be content that they are not in captivity to do our bidding. By the time the rest of the 5 people got into water, the sharks swam off. Lucky me!

There were plenty of

  • humpback warsse,

  • trigger fishs,

  • Clown Anemonefish

  • ribbon worms,

  • trumpet fish,

  • Emperor Parrot fish,

  • rabbit fish,

  • butterfly fish,

  • damsel fish

  • Blue-spotted fantail ray

  • Barramundi cod

  • Potato cod

  • all assortment of corals

  • HUGE cods etc etc all over me.

I got to touch the blue starfish, as well as a SUPER HUGE sea cumcumber probably the length of my arm and fatness of my 2 hands put together. I simply couldnt name them all offhand! U name it, I probably saw it! A pity I didnt get to see any turtle this time but to be expected as the water was pretty choppy the day we were out. However, the corals were every bit bright and colourful as one would expect from Great Barrier Reef!

All the senior americans and the malaysian girl was clinging on to ONE Buoy. I didnt know why people who are not comfortable with open water sign up for such activities. The poor guide had to look after the 5 of them and dragging the buoy with them along. This time, the malaysian girl got herself a long float tube and while she rested on it, she refuse to budge from the buoy for others who need to occassionally clear our mask, and relieve our cheek from the mask pressure due to the water conditions. To me, having been out jumping in and out of water non stop for a week back snorkelling with the whales before in worse sea conditions, this trip was truly child's play. So i decided to just stand water and clear my mask.

The idea of snorkelling is that you have to "surrender" yourself completely to the water and trust your body and legs (and flippers) to do the work. By floating and your face submerged into the water, you wont be able to sense the water choppiness, and most of all, you hear nothing except the serenity of the animals in the their coral home. You simply just float and the flippers and hands movement to guide and change direction. With the water pressure againist your face, and without much facial movement, a good fitted mask will not fail you and water will not seep in.

However instead, most of the people in the group that day choose to treat the ocean like pool water and tried to wage their personal challenge againist the current by treading water, only popping their head downwards where the guide pointed to them. With such a vertical posture, of course all seawater are splashing against them, and into their tube. With such a huge vertical body and water resistance, it was only tougher on them trying to stand than flatten their body out on the surface. Some didnt even know they need to clear the hair out of their mask so that it doesnt break the vaccum mask seal. So all they do is complain their mask is leaking water.......

For my water comfort level, I had to thank my mum for showing me that my body could float on water when I was really young. She used to bring me out to the pool often, and she asked me to trust her that my body would float with my face facing up. The initial reaction had been panic, distrust and chocking on water when i struggled with my mouth opened in protest. When I finally got the hang of it, it was easy. I couldnt even remember what it was i had initially feared about. All i had to do ocassionally was to fan my hands under my back to keep my upper body afloat. So till this day, after every lap swim, I still do a short water body float facing the eve or morning sky to unwind and block out all the noise.

Only the other American teenager girl and her dad was able to swim comfortably on their own, and she was pretty much out wandering with me most times, away from the crowded buoy. She was really good and at ease and I couldnt be happier than to snorkel around with her.

I reckon the resort should have done a "water comfort" survey before hand and gauged the necessity for a 2nd staff in water if the majority were not strong swimmers. That would have given us a better deal in the water, instead of having to babysit the weaker ones. Still, I expected they had assumed there wont be too many stupid people out there risking it. What can i say?

In any case, it had been a good day, until I got a little queasy from the rocking boat. They didnt have motion sickness pill and the rest of the group was taking forever to board.... so i threw up my greasy mushroom sausage breakfast and fed the fishes a small treat. You should have seen them jumping all over the surface for a grab of it...

At that precise moment, I couldnt decide what was grosser, my food regurgitation, or the fact that all the fishes were enjoying gobbling down my puke...

(Note: "All Photographs displayed are courtesy of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority)

No comments: