on day 2 of our trip to great barrier, we awoke at about 6am to the smell of coffee, the sound of bacon frying and the sultry tones of the divemaster shouting ‘time to get up!  dive briefing in 20 minutes!’  (when i say ‘awoke,’ i actually mean ‘awoke fully’ since the numerous boat sounds overnight had prevented any deep or prolonged sleep.)  we tumbled out of bed into the deeply twilit morning, wondering whether this would count as our second night-dive, but no — by the time we were ready to get wet, the sky was pale grey and the seafloor once more visible about a dozen meters below the surface.  we gulped down muesli bars, spat chunkily into our masks to de-fog them, and hit the water again.

on this day, not only did we find nemo (as well as barracuda, various puffers, turtles, more large morays, other lovely fish, and yet more spectacular corals) — we were also treated to something i’d never considered we might experience.  during the second dive, in the pause between exhaling and inhaling, i slowly became aware of faint threads of sound, descending in pitch, repeated several times a minute.  the friends diving with us had mentioned that they’d heard humpback whales singing while diving in fiji, and i realized that this was what we were also hearing.  it was magical.  i did my best with the video function of the camera, and if you listen closely, you can just hear a snatch of it here.   when we surfaced, we heard that the whales had been sighted about 300 m away from the boat — no wonder the songs sounded distant.  we did not see them, but  stay tuned for the reports from day 3…

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