Words by Fatema Sitabkhan
Experience photos supplied by Port Noarlunga SNUBA
Last year, upon visiting Port Noarlunga, I walked around the beachside and stumbled upon a tent that read “Port Noarlunga SNUBA”. Having never heard of this water sport before and being an avid water sports lover, I decided to give it a go – you can read how my first experience of SNUBA diving went here.
This year around, a bunch of friends and I decided to go SNUBA diving together and I made it a goal that I was indeed going to make my way underwater – all the way to the ocean floor – even if the idea terrified me!
Opting for the standard tour ($99), my friends and I were part of a 5-person SNUBA experience, where we started off by having a quick de-brief in the SNUBA tent with our instructor Jason. We went through the basic instructions – what equipment was attached to us, what equipment aided our ‘dive’, and what hand signals to use when things are going OK (and when things need attention). This was also a great way to get to know our SNUBA instructor and the other members of the excursion!
After suiting up in our ever-so-stylish wetsuits, we were provided with flippers, a weight belt to help us ‘sink’ per se, and eye goggles that are de-fogged and made water resistant (for the most part). While Jason started swimming towards the end of the jetty and towards the reef, the group and myself made our way down one of the longest jetties in South Australia (fun fact!) and met Jason by the steps. One by one, we put on our flippers and eye goggles and swam to the raft with the air tanks (a cruisy metre-long swim – perfect to get used to the water’s temperature + swimming in wetsuit gear).
Last time I went SNUBA diving, I 100% freaked out at going underwater, so this time, I made sure I wouldn’t leave till I had conquered the sea (by getting down to the ocean floor)! And while it took a couple of (aka a LOT OF) deep breaths, a bit of encouragement from my gal pals, and squeezing Jason’s hand a bit too hard for his liking, I made it to the bottom of the ocean! Holy moly is it a beaut! Even though the water was a bit cloudy due to the storm the day prior, we were still able to witness some gorgeous gems that reside by the Reef. If you’re super lucky, you might even score seeing and holding certain sea creatures – starfishes and sea urchins are particularly delightful to interact with! Just remember to wait for Jason to hand the creature to you, rather than reach for it yourself.
I will admit that the equalizing of the ears (which needs to happen for a painless and positive experience of going underwater) was a bit challenging at the start, so just remember to keep pinching your nose and breathing out to make ’em *pop* every half a metre (or so) as you go down!
I was surrounded by some of the most beautiful and friendliest fish I’ve ever seen and honestly, there are no words to describe how memorable and fascinating that experience was. Guess you’ll just have to try it out yourself to understand the feeling of ecstasy that I felt the entire time I was underwater. It may not sound like much, but having conquered a fear; not to mention overcoming the struggle of equalizing the ears; has made my ambition to go scuba diving with sharks one day a real one – it used to feel like a dream that would never come true, but when you learn the art of diving underwater the right way, the painless way, and the fun way, it does seem like a probable reality in the near future! Bonus points for doing it on a scorcher day in Australia – it doesn’t get better than jumping in the cool waters, being surrounded by some beautiful underwater life, and making the most out of a day at the beach!
Tema: Can you give me a bit more information on how SNUBA is operating in Cairns?
Jason: Being part of a 3rd party contract, Ben and Jason run SNUBA on Reef Magic Cruises in Cairns, which is a “lovely 3-level Catamaran that holds 240 People and around 25 crew every day”, as Jason explains. The boat heads out 90min / 50km to Moore Reef / Outer barrier reef. Here they have an activity pontoon where the customers get to snorkel all day which is included in the ticket price, we offer SNUBA as a extra activity on-board for those wishing to give it a go and wanting a great guided experience on the famous GBR. visit reefmagiccruises to see our page on there – there are some great pictures to help visualise this.
Tema: Is there anything else that you’d like our readers and your customers to know about the business?
Jason: We are open everyday during the summer season (unless weather doesn’t permit), so there’s still time to book a tour or to come hire snorkel gear and see the spectacular Port Noarlunga Reef. For anyone who has purchased gift certificates, we urge you to call up and book in a time before your voucher expires.
Summer season + weather-dependant