Memories, like old photos, can fade. Perhaps now that we are in the digital age that metaphor will itself fade away. Who knows?
For much of my life I have used cheap cameras. Most of my photographs were taken with a second-hand Russian camera that was old when I bought it in 1983. This happenstance was not due to me being a cheapskate, albeit I cannot deny that accusation. It was mostly due to growing up poor, albeit a very well travelled poor. I don’t like wasting money.
Today’s photo is from a throw-away camera. It, andÂ all of the others with it, were taken in July 1998. The disposable cameras were meant for underwater pics by tourists. This said, I did also use my trusty Russian piece. Here is the photograph:
To be honest, it’s a pretty crap photo in of itself. But I love it because it stirs up those fading memories.
That is a giant clam. Yep sure, it doesn’t look that impressive. But had I had the sense to put my flipper next to it then perhaps you would have been gob-smacked. That thing was about the size of a big truck wheel, perhaps larger. And there I was, flippers and all, treading water above it trying to get a perfect shot with my cheap little disposable underwater camera. Damn that was great!
Ok – let’s turn back time a week or two.
Nicole and I got ourselves hitched and headed north to Queensland for our honeymoon. Given that it was July (winter in Sydney) the tropical north seemed perfect. We decided that we wanted this honeymoon to be part relaxation and part adventure. Hamilton Island fitted the first of these requirements pretty well.
Man, is that view cool or is that view cool?
Naturally, us being us, we climbed the tallest peak on the island as fast as possible. Nicole looked gorgeous.
I looked… um… well, I guess I looked um… well, kind ofÂ true to the inner me.
Yep – I had a short term love-affair with a 1950s styleÂ hat that just had to go everywhere with me – even on honeymoon. This said, aren’t those islands in the background so romantic looking? (Note to self – try to distract readers from looking at me by making a bigger deal about my environment)
Hamilton Island is absolutely idyllic. It’s aura is so alluring that it made Nicole walking across muddy sand look even sexier than normal. (Another note to self – work out how a fat dorky guy like me managed to marry someone like her -Â maybe there is a best seller self-help book in it)
Naturally we made the most of the island’s many charms and facilities. My favourite thing, which I have video of but no pictures, was the animals coming out at night and foraging through the resort. By this I mean small wallabies and the such. We stayed in a beach hut while there and the animals came right up to us. Superb!
From here the honeymoon saw us enjoy a number of adventures that included lava tubes, butterfly enclosures,Â steam train rides, eco-toursÂ and a crocodile infested river. But I intend to keep this post to the islands and reef. Because if you want to see a clam then a lava tube or butterfly enclosure is definitely the wrong place to go.
Eventually we found ourselves in Cairns with the opportunity of going on a catamaran out to Green Island and from there to go out further for some diving off the reef. We leapt at it.
I suspect that the aboveÂ photo is a scan of an old postcard. I’m not sure. But by golly it certainly looked that superb on the day. We got there and they actually had a marine biologist take us for a snorkelling tour of the island’s shallows. After that a BBQ feast on the catamaran.Â Then we headed out for deep water.
I think Nicole very somewhat apprehensive. Were there sharks out there?!?Â Who knows?
Grabbing my trusty el-cheapo disposable underwater camera I plunged into the waters, vaguely hearing repeated instructions not to touch the reef. I understood.
At first everything was blue and no quite as clear as I had expected. Then I remembered the comments that storms the day before may have made the water slightly murky.
Keeping my eye on Nicole, and looking out for Jaws just in case, I started to really immerse myself in the experience. It was grand! Really grand!
And then the fish started to feel more comfortable around our presence
Unfortunately I really messed up a lot of the fish shots. I was always too late. Hence I mostly have these shots of eternal blue. But I did manage to catch a bit of this school of fish. And a shot of a bright blue fish cruising the tops of rather unhealthy looking coral.
And it was here that I saw that monster clam. I could easily imagine divers getting their feet caught in such a thing. But it was also such peaceful sight and I recommend to anyone that they go diving off Australia’s Great Barrier Reef if they ever get the chance.
All too soon it was over, just like this post.
Thanks for reading. :)