Tag Archives: Scuba diving

Byron Bay: One of the best diving sites in Australia

22 Nov

The only way to enter the open water from Byron Bay is by launching off the beach. It makes for peaceful waterways with few fisherman and lots of big fish.

The highlight of diving at Julian Rocks in Byron Bay is getting up close to these guys: grey nurse sharks.

Click the image for more of Shea's photos of diving at Julian Rocks.

Click the image for more of Shea's photos of diving at Julian Rocks.

Click the image for more of Shea's photos of diving at Julian Rocks.

Read about my encounter with a whale while diving at Byron Bay.

I enjoyed the world’s only dive rig

25 Sep

My scuba diving hobby has taken me to many exciting places and the greatest, so far, was Seaventures Dive Rig – an old oil rig that was converted into a diving platform and hotel, located just minutes from one of the hottest diving destinations in the world, Sipadan.

Seaventures Dive Rig at Sipadan in Malaysian Borneo.

The idea of staying out to sea on an oil rig intrigued me. It was fully fitted out for convenient diving, with several rooms up top and a large bottom deck that had diving gear for grabs and a lift straight to the water below.

The Seaventures operators also arranged daily diving trips to nearby Mabul Island and Sipadan, which lived up to the hype created by famous Jacques Cousteau’s top review. The dramatic wall, large schools of fish, reef sharks, turtles and anemones were even better than those I’ve seen on television.

Me diving under the Seaventures Dive Rig.

Diving along the wall of Sipadan Island.

A giant school of Barracuda at Sipadan.

A Whitetip reef shark at Sipadan.

Visit the Seaventures website for more information on oil rig accommodation and diving at Sipadan.

By Marissa Toohey

For the love of diving

6 Sep

Despite popular belief, scuba diving is not generally about getting a rush of adrenalin. It’s about the feeling of weightlessness, the soothing rhythm of blowing bubbles, the stunning topography and fascinating interactions with underwater creatures. If you don’t believe me, just see for yourself …

This is the Great Barrier Reef which has over 1,500 species of fish.

I never get tired of diving with green sea turtles.

During a certain time of the year, you can dive with manta rays at North Stradbroke Island in Queensland.

If you study underwater landscapes closely, you find creatures that blend in with their surroundings, like this spotted porcupine fish.

Most people are afraid of grey nurse sharks but the species is not life-threatening to humans. They move slow and steady and often swim up nice and close.

You can now keep up to date with my diving expeditions around Australia and overseas through my partner’s website. Shea goes diving almost every single week so the website will be updated regularly. In addition, he recently bought an impressive new underwater photography kit so it’s about to get even better!

By Marissa Toohey

Hobbies to [reverse culture] shock you – a post for my dear expat friends

29 Jul

HOBBIES TO [REVERSE CULTURE] SHOCK YOU  How many hobbies does it take for a blonde to get over reverse culture shock? Six: golf, dressmaking, scuba diving, jogging, bushwalking and even burlesque dancing.

It might sound like a joke but it’s my life.

I’ve been back in the “western world” for almost half as long as I was gone and I’ve only just made it through all the typical phases of reverse culture shock:

  • the honeymoon period when I fell in love with all the little things I’d missed;
  • the shock phase which consisted of panic attacks over (what then seemed like) absurd retail prices and feeling like I didn’t belong; and
  • finally the adaptation phase as I recognised good opportunities, accepted benefits of the Aussie lifestyle and became used to and even excited about the idea of sticking around Brisbane for a while longer.

I look over Brisbane city from Mt Coot-tha. Bushwalking has become a hobby and coping mechanism.

The only way I really kicked reverse culture shock, though, was by getting to know my long term enemies: routine and commitment. I didn’t go crazy and sign up for a two-year phone contract or anything silly like that – I said “commitment”, not “long-term commitment”. It was new hobbies that gave me regular activities to look forward to in the short term and connected me with the Brisbane community.

Settling back into Australia was more difficult than I expected and much harder than adjusting to Vietnam. I’ve continued missing the affordable travel and daily social events of my Vietnamese lifestyle but, of course, that’s only natural. Now I’m focused on enjoying the “sunshine state” with its beautiful national parks, beaches, dancing venues and welcoming new friends.

I quite like Brisbane and it could even turn into love. But I’m taking it slow – just one hobby at a time.

By Marissa Toohey

This post is dedicated to my dearest friends from Vietnam, many whom are now returning to Australia as well. I hope you all cherish the exciting moments when you realise you can drink tap water again and walk down a footpath without getting abused by a motorbike driver. I equally encourage you to allow yourselves to mourn the loss of your Vietnamese lifestyles because we had a f*cking good time that would be hard to top. Wishing you all the best in your returns, reunions with family and friends, your coping mechanisms, new hobbies and future adventures. I genuinely hope we all remain great friends for many years to come.

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