Night Dive with SHARKS

41148_10150257083395447_6451765_n

One of my favorite things to tell people is that I have been night diving with sharks. I mean how adventurous is that!? Ok ok ok so maybe everyone I know knows this and I’ve reminded them on several occasions, but come on it’s so cool! So I am here to tell the story of when I got to scuba dive with sharks… at night…

I got the opportunity to go on a study abroad my junior year of college. For this I had to get my scuba license. Our first stop on the study abroad was Cairns(pronounced like cans) Australia. We for the most part lived in tents, but for one night we got to sleep on a dive boat.

We had dived all day at different locations and I have to say this was my favorite area to be diving. There are some amazing things to see at the Great Barrier Reef. Anyways that evening they told us we could dive at night and there would be sharks. I knew this was a once in a life time opportunity and even though I was exhausted from a day of diving I suited back up.

Looking down into the water you could actually see the sharks circling the boats light. I wasn’t nervous until I saw this. I asked the dive master how safe this was and he said “No one’s been hurt….. yet”. I made the decision that this will be a really cool experience and a really awesome death if it came to that.

I wouldn’t jump in first, but followed the others in my group. Once in we dove down to the coral. The sharks just circling above. Their eyes would glow if you pointed your flashlight at them.

The sharks weren’t the only cool thing about this dive though. It was also the fish that followed us. They were these big fish with flat faces(I wish I remembered what kind) that had learned to hunt off of divers flashlights. Not only were the sharks unnerving, but looking behind you to see 10-20 of these big fish just following you was quite scary. Sometimes they would even bump into you or shoot in front of you to eat the fish in your light.

That is a dive I will never forget. I can’t put enough emphasis on the fact that if you ever find yourself in Cairns GO ON A NIGHT DIVE. And don’t you dare visit Cairns without obtaining your scuba license first.

Advertisements

Studying Abroad and Why It’s a Must

45977_10150253765380447_1297897_n

Bungy Jumping is something I never thought I would do, same with dark water rafting and swimming with sharks. In my Sophmore year of college I decided I wanted to study abroad. I found a couple programs I liked, but one that stuck out to me was a Recreational Management study abroad to Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji over the summer. I immediately applied and a few weeks later was accepted. The Summer of 2010 my mom and I flew to LA spent a day touring the city and then she left to go back home and cried as I went off to meet 30 strangers who I would be traveling half way across the world with.

It was terrifying to not have met a single person before the trip and it was terrifying to go on my first big trip without my parents, but it was the best thing I did in college and I wish I would have gone on more. Here is why studying abroad is a must.

1. It gets you out of your comfort zone. I already loved traveling at this point, but had only ever gone with my parents who planned and paid for everything. This was the first time I had to do some planning on my own(but not too much) and the first time my expenses were completely up to me and with my own money. I met the people I was traveling with at the airport and had to put myself out there to get to know the group and ultimately make life long friends.

2. Traveling while in college is the best time to travel. After college comes a job and I failed to realize a job is year round. There is no two week winter break, three month summer break, and all those days off in between. It’s amazing how much time you lose when you get out of college. With a career and possibly a family it can get harder and harder to travel.

3. Studying Abroad is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Sure there are other opportunities similar, but when else can you travel with a big group of people with similar interests and at a similar place in life.

4. You get college credit for doing what you love. My study abroad was focused on recreational management. We were studying how to have fun…. we would go black water rafting and observe how the guides did their job, we would scuba dive and watch the dive masters, we went bungy jumping and paid attention to how the company did liability. I mean really…. I got college credit for going on an adventure of a life time.

5. The Price. I spent about 8 weeks traveling through the South Pacific. It cost me about $4,500 all said and done. That’s flights, food, lodging, activities. To go to Australia, Fiji, and New Zealand that’s not a bad price. It was definitely expensive for a college student but if you can make it happen it is worth it. You can even apply to be the group lead and get your trip paid for, for helping in the planning process.

Visiting Australia

aus

One of my favorite places I’ve ever traveled to has been Australia. I fell in love with the outdoors there as well as the people. Australia is one country I would recommend to anyone. They speak English, the food can satisfy any sort of diet, and it is very safe. Here are my tips for visiting Australia.

1. Don’t just go to Sydney. Sydney is my favorite city in the whole world. When visiting Australia Sydney is a must, but make sure to check out other parts of Australia as well. If you only go to Sydney you miss out on the gorgeous dessert, the thick lush forests, the great barrier reef, and so much more. You won’t even get to see a kangaroo(unless you go to the zoo).

2. Make sure to get your Scuba Diver’s License. The Great Barrier Reef is just off the coast of Australia. Visit Cairns and you can take boat out to the best parts. The things you see are unlike anywhere else in the world. I was even able to dive at night… with SHARKS! Granted they were friendly nurse sharks… still terrifying nonetheless. Don’t miss out on this opportunity!

3. Swim in the swimming holes near Darwin. One of my most favorite parts of all of Australia were the great swimming holes near Darwin. Crystal clear water with big rocks to jump off of on a hot day is my idea of a fun time. Just check out TripAdvisor‘s things to do page and you will find several great swimming spots.

4. Go camping! I had the opportunity to camp both in Cairns and Darwin and it was unlike any camping experience I’ve had before. One of my fondest memories of Australia is waking up to the birds the first morning there. I remember thinking “I am not in the USA anymore”. The birds sound so different there and I’m pretty sure that first morning I woke up to a Kookaburra. In Darwin we would sit around eating dinner and we would see wild kangaroos or Wallabies! No where else in the world can you experience that!

5. Don’t be afraid to stay in Hostels. The hostels in Australia were great. I felt like they were very clean and safe, none of those horror stories you sometimes hear. Sydney especially can get expensive and staying in a hostel can save you a lot of money. The one we stayed in was nearby transportation and had a good variety of restaurants nearby. It even served a complementary basic breakfast. I wouldn’t hesitate to stay in a hostel again while in Sydney.