Diving The Great Barrier Reef, Sydney New Years, and New Zealand


When the boys were young we had a cassette tape (remember those) of Australian kid songs. One of their favorites was “Christmas in Australia” that listed the joys of having Christmas in the middle of summer with typical Australian humor. As we set our plans to travel the world it made sense to spend Christmas in Australia and of course New Years in Sydney, ideally under Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Thirty years ago I spent 4 months as a “ringer” on an outback cattle ranch, riding horses everyday and hearding cattle on a 300,000 ranch. I finished my time in Australia by driving to Cairns and meeting my mom from whom I get much of my adventurous spirit. The two of us spent a few days on Heron Island out on the Great Barrier Reef.

Heron is a magical little 40 acre island that juts a few feet above sea level. The bird life is incredible and you can walk and dive the reef within meters of the shore.

From Australia we traveled to New Zealand where we “went mobile” living in a camper van.

Coming from Asia, we suffered some first world shocks but also enjoyed the benefits of traffic laws, ease of communication, and lack of humidity.

Shark Dive in the Bahamas

Back in August we did a dive specifically with sharks among the many dives we did where we ran across sharks and other creatures. In the shark dive they gather you on the bottom and then a diver, clad in a chain mail suit, descends with a box of snacks for the sharks. Our job is still sit very still on the bottom and now wave your hands around. Hands it turns out can look a bit like fish to a hungry shark.

The Kids Getting PADI Dive Certified in the Bahamas


I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise that the thought of watching my kids jump off the side of boat into 60 feet of water along an underwater cliff that drops to nearly 7,000 feet is keeping me up tonight.

The boys have wanted to dive for years, ever since they experienced a few hours of snorkeling in Hawaii. That first experience was reinforced a couple of years later when they spent an hour in an introductory class for kids at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Since we live just over the hill in Carmel, we are at the aquarium every time a relative or friend comes to visit. During the class the boys put on dry suits and floated in an enclosed tide pool. I have video of Colin at eight years old desperately trying to kick to the bottom. He just couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t let him go to the bottom as that was the whole point, right?

We spent today in the pool with GiGi, the boy’s instructor, an amazing young woman from Romania who has been teaching dive class for four years, both here in the Bahamas and in Thailand. It was a long but satisfying day. The boys spent the last few weeks taking an “e-learning” class from PADI so they would be ready to go straight to the pool. We, and more importantly GiGi, were impressed with the recall of what they had learned.

At dinner tonight we reviewed the fun of the day and talked about the excitement, and fear, associated with tomorrow’s first open water dive. As a father one spends a lot of time saying, “listen to me. Do as I say.” But, tonight, I made the point that tomorrow, if told to do one thing by me and something different by GiGi they were to do what GiGi says. Colin smiled and responded, “yeah dad, we know to do what the instructor says but it still makes me feel safer to know you will be there to make sure nothing bad happens.”

I guess that is one responsibility that you can’t put onto someone else.