Ryan's Journal

"My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?" — David Mitchell

Potato Cod

Posted from Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef at 5:19 am, June 1st, 2024

After five dives yesterday I was wiped out, and today’s first dive was at a narrow pinnacle with a reasonably strong current where you’d swim half a lap into the current, then half a lap getting pushed. When we came out of the water both Audrey and I needed a breather and so we decided to skip the second dive, which was at the same site. Luckily during the break between dives two minke whales came in to check out the boat, so I hopped in for an easy snorkel with the whales, who were playing coy but still came in close enough to cause a bit of spine tingle whenever they appeared from the blue – seeing a small whale slowly materialize as it swims towards you is a pretty awesome experience.

Our second dive of the day was at Cod Hole, famous for its human-sized and very friendly Potato Cod. This dive site had a significant current when we got there, so we jumped in, used a rope to get to the mooring line, used the mooring line to get to the bottom, then sat on the sand while our onboard reef monitor handed out snacks to one of the giant fishies. The potato cod are apparently able to respond to hand signals after several years of human interaction, and this one waited like a dog for its treats before sucking them down in giant gulps.

Our last dive of the day was along a coral wall, after which we came back to the boat and conked out for thirty minutes, then had our final dinner with many of the passengers who will be departing tomorrow, including (as we learned tonight) a teeny Columbian girl who is apparently an undefeated chili-eating champion; her proud mother told us “she doesn’t feel the spice, and has won $2000 so far, beating all of the big men!”

The second half of the dive trip is out in the Coral Sea, and visits several remote reefs that are extinct volcanoes that rise thousands of feet straight up from the ocean floor. We’re going from 24 passengers to just 12, so it should be a much cozier group. After last night’s shark madness Audrey showed Pedro (one of the staff divers) a video, and his response was “that’s nothing compared to what’s coming”. We’re tired and may need to skip a dive or two going forward if we’re going to make it through this trip (that kills me to admit), but we’re super excited to see what else is out there.

Potato Cod, Great Barrier Reef

Potato Cod at the aptly named Cod Hole dive site. There was a pretty intense current, so we all sat on the sand while our reef monitor handed out snacks to one of the residents.

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