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Fins and Things

If there is any part of this six week trip that has made me feel the experience was worthwhile, it was my past weekend trip to Cairns.

I have always been the type to get more excited about natural beauty than architectural. Though I can certainly appreciate the intricacies of buildings a thousand times my senior, there is something far more magical to me about observing untouched, natural perfection.

What’s more, I managed to off three things from my bucket list in just one weekend. Granted it was costly, but undoubtedly worth every last penny.

My unforgettable experience began on Friday. I took the day to observe my new surroundings. My flight into the small city got in far too early, yet not early enough for the tours, so since I’d had nothing planned, I figured I would familiarise myself with the quiet city of Cairns that reminded me so much of home.

The hotel was located on the esplanade, right along the main street. I decided it was as good a time as any to explore the various souvenir shops along the road to shop around for the best deals. (I know I said no more souvenirs but I saved myself for last. And where else would I want a souvenir from if not The Great Barrier Reef!?). I also managed to stop for an expensive lunch. I finally found some fish and chips that was not made with Barramundi–the equivalent of Barracuda–which I swear I did not like before I even found out what it was.

I went to bed early that night in preparation for my day on the sea.

Saturday was the day. How many people do you know who can say they scuba dived for the first time on the Great Barrier Reef? Though it is perhaps plenty more fun to scuba dive there when you are certified, no one forgets their first time; especially in a place like that. The ironic part, though, is that I plan to get certified this summer when I go to Jamaica.

It’s a pity the trips weren’t reversed.

At any rate, the reef was unlike anything I had ever seen. It was just radiating with life and colour every where I looked. I made the great decision to hire an “HD” underwater camera for the trip, and was able to snap some real killer photos of the reef and the marine life. Having the photos allots me the opportunity to experience it all over again. Unfortunately, I never encountered any sharks, eels or turtles, but I did catch some beautiful fish and it was an amazing experience.

I’ve snorkelled countless times, in many different places. But this was the real deal. Nothing beats that moment when I’m 10 metres under water and realise–I am breathing.

Nothing perhaps, except skydiving.

Jumping 14,000 feet out of that airplane yesterday gave my life a whole new meaning. And no, it is not because I was seemingly plunging head-first to my death–although I must admit that the friendly staff surely made me feel better about risking my life.

I just could not help but be humbled as I looked around at the world below me. In that very moment, nothing else existed. I was flying high above all of my sorrows. I was inhuman almost. Defeating gravity–defeating every thing. If only for just those few moments, I…was…unstoppable. And as my instructor tapped me on my shoulder and said, “welcome to my life” I had no other reaction but to be silently taken aback as I looked around and wondered what I have been doing with mine why I have managed to miss out on this for 20 years. But now I have photos and a DVD to remember it forever.

I know they say to never look down, but when you are that far up, figuratively and literally, there is no where else to look–and the view is certainly not disappointing. After all, the world can be such a magical, thrilling and welcoming place if you would just get out of the office…and go see it.

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