on our final day of diving the gbr, we arose early as on day 2 and completed our final dive at ‘the whale’ — less exciting than the night dive the previous evening, during which we saw grey reef sharks, but still pretty cool; a sleepy school of several hundred large hump-head wrasses hung around long enough for the first few divers in the water to say hello.  needless to say, we were among them — ear trouble and burst blood vessels (in our eyes and eyelids) be damned! (totally worth it.)

the last dive site was aptly called ‘coral gardens.’  every size, shape and color of coral we had seen on previous days was there, in about 7-8m of water, and many more.  on the first dive we headed out to the edge of the reef and skirted the wall (taking care not to drop all the way to the floor, some 30m down, which would have been soooo easy); looking off into the blue was actually remarkably similar to the ‘don’t go near the dropoff’ scene in finding nemo.  except that the humpback whales were singing again, which would have been way too early in the movie.  we also saw a large maori wrasse (probably a good 1.5m long), many beautiful nudibranchs, colorful bird wrasses, an impressive titan triggerfish, various darting schools of smaller fish, and we heard afterward that someone else from our boat had managed to spot two leopard sharks.  while jealous, we also felt that we had to leave something on the list to see next time.  ;)

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