One of the good things about snorkelling is the fact that it’s accessible to everyone…
Yes, the half-hearted safety brief and signing of a waiver humours our thoughts that we’re about to embark on a white-knuckle adventure, but all of those illusions are shattered as you find yourself floating alongside an 80 year old asthmatic. That and the ‘pool noodle’ (float to you and me) they insist you cling onto as well as wearing a life jacket.
If I’m completely honest, there is nothing different about the view you see through a snorkel to the one you see through a glass bottomed boat. Infact, my quest for Nemo and Dory could have been complimented by a glass of wine and some educational insight had I chosen the boat option.
However, even though you know the shoals of Dory fish are further away than they seem, you can’t beat the feeling that you’re swimming along with them, close enough to reach out and touch them – and it’s not the same humming ‘just keep swimming’ as they surround you when you’re safe and dry on a glorified dingy.
After I finally gave up searching for Nemo, I climbed back onto the boat where, before I even had a chance to dry off, I was dragged off by the one of the crew to “feed the big guy” – an invitation that, without any surrounding context, was a worrying one. Handed a bucket of food scraps I was shoved to the edge of the stern with the instruction to sit down and wave a piece of chicken underwater. When the biggest bastard of a fish I’ve ever seen began to draw closer I was like the good kid in school waving my hand in the air yelping “look, LOOK i’ve got him to come over” like a hyperactive puppy.
No exaggeration it was about a foot and a half long.
“Ohhhh no, not that one.” said Braden (my new little crew member friend; approximately 8ft 10, ex-chef, doesn’t like seagulls or fat people), “Nasty bugger him – nasty set of teeth. He’ll take your fingers right off.”
Just like that, dead casual – like he was telling me he’d had an egg butty for lunch.
Sorry, WHY exactly am I sat on the edge of a boat, waving my fat little sausage fingers around; tempting the marine life with my succulant flesh, whilst a ravenous predator lurks below*, again?
Needless to say I threw the scraps to the seagulls hovering overhead – discreetly of course, I didn’t want to look like a wimp.
Luckily Braden clearly had no attachment to the abilty to write or hold things, and finally (after a few touch-and-go moments) the ‘big guy’ showed up. As promised it was a big bugger, but a gentle giant who actually hung round for a stroke – who knew fish did that? Not me.
It didn’t fill me with confidence that, mere moments before, I’d been swimming around blissfully unaware of the potential of losing one my toes – but snorkelling is a must for anyone visiting the Gold Coast and Finding Nemo fans across the globe.
*A Giant Trevally for the fish lovers among you… and if you’re that way inclined I suggest you check out Milly’s ugly fish for some smashers…