”There is no such thing as too much awesome”

Lara Lain larasstory great barrier reef divers den cairns

Ok, it’s been a minute since I last wrote and while a huge part of me always thinks (knows!) I need to / should / could write every day, sometimes I just can’t stay stuck to my screen for long enough.

In work I am online most of the day, so by the time it’s my ~free time~ I often feel like I’ve got square eyes (a couple more hours blogging often feels like #nottoday).ย 

… Anyways! I found the vibes today. Here we are and here’s the latest news from sunny Cairns;

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But do you even Dive though?

Two weekends ago I went on a trip of a lifetime with the Divers Den Crew – it was time to go for it and get my Open Water Certification. I was so lucky to spend 2 days/ 1 night out on the Great Barrier Reef aboard Ocean Quest.

The first day, I was sick as a dog on the way out to sea; partly because I had been out the night before (classic me ๐ŸŽ‰) at the super-funย Adventure Cairns Black tie in July event – mainly because the journey was rough as soon as we hit the open ocean.

My god; I must have been sick into 8 paper bags in a row – seasick anxiety is deffo a thing lol ๐Ÿคฃย – I kept thinking ”I can’t be sick here, people will see me”, then the anxiety passed, as I acceptedย ”F**k it, if it makes me feel better it needs to happen”.

I am so glad the love of my life was not there to witness me being all sexy mid-spew, ha ha!

… I made a miraculous recovery as soon as my Dive Instructor, Anna, told me it was time to ”Gear up” to get into the water. Adrenaline kicked in and pushed me through the day.

Doing your Open Water is full on; you learn so much and are tested many times throughout the course.

I can’t remember every ‘Skill’ we did but some included; going down on the ocean floor, kneeling down there and taking out your regulator (what you need to breathe under the sea!) and replacing it calmly.

Another skill that is a major ”What the f**k am I doing?!” feeling is having to remove your mask completely while kneeling on the ocean floor and putting it back on.

You also need to go down 9metres and come back up (without air!) at one point.

For me, one of the key things about diving is; it showed me how much I trust and believe in myself. The skills you go through are wholly unnatural.

At any time you can fully appreciate how some people might have serious panic attacks/ mental anxiety as they are going through the motions. You are under the sea, in wildly unfamiliar territory. You have to fully rely on yourself to ~keep it together~.

”I can’t breathe or see under water – WHY would I do this to myself?!” … But it’s all to make you ready in-case of emergency or mishap. And if you wanna pass, you gotta do it.

When you get set a skill / task and you complete it; it’s a ”WIN, I DID IT! WOO!” feeling at every step.


”I could have licked that shark”

As the sun set on the eve of Day 1 we had the chance to get in the water, on the back of the boat, during feeding time for ”Sharks in the Dark”.

The Crew advised us to ”hold on tight” and ”under no circumstances” to touch the sharks … turns out you could literally LICK the sharks. They swim that close to you, I am not exaggerating.

It was absolutely insane!

The swell of the ocean pushes you back-and-for, (almost) off the front of the platform. All you can see beneath you is the black of the deep sea. It feels bat-shit-crazy and beyond surreal.

It (weirdly) reminded me of the feeling of a Bungy Jump – except in this case, I wasn’t allowed to jump off!

It was super-scary throughout; as you had to keep pushing back against where the ocean was naturally sending you – if you went off that platform you are in with the sharks. End of chat.

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Photo taken from @divers_den instagram … this is the platform and yep, that’s where the feeding frenzy is. I’ve done some pretty epic stuff over the years, this is 110% in my top 5 of life so far. Bonkers! What a time to be alive!!

If you ever get the chance; please do this!!


So you fell in love with the ocean?ย 

Try as I might, I guess I cannot begin to describe what diving means to me as a feeling. It is one of the most beautiful things I have ever done, something I wish all my loved ones would experience at least once in their lifetime – it’s a real ”If you know, you know” kinda thing.

Day 2 was full of more skills and tests.

Of course it was full of fish, sharks, turtles and sea creatures that I can only imagine existing in a dream land too.

One of my favourite spots was the cuteeee but bizarre looking Bumphead Parrot Fish – I mean really … just look at him;

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I was so happy to know I passed my final test; the Cert dive!

The last dive of the trip myself and my buddy (the person you get paired up with to learn with) went on our first Fun dive without an Instructor … we were qualified now. We were good to go!

That Fun dive was awesome but it was also kind of MENTAL – although we were safe and listened to all advice and instructions before we went down it was so easy to see how you need to seriously respect diving and absolutely never take advantage of a situation.

You need to always have enough air, stay with your buddy and keep your time and dive distance in check … too far away from the boat? You need to make sure you know where the boat is and that you have enough air to get back!

The Divers Den Crew and the boats, we were on two across the weekend, were absolutely unreal.

I cannot recommend the course highly enough. I feel I will always be a ~Divers Den girl~ now. My experience with them has changed my life and fully opened my eyes to a whole new world. Thank you Divers Den – see you very soon!


Pop goes my headย 

Now, I almost didn’t write about this because I don’t want anything to tarnish my Open Water experience but it happened, it’s real life, so here we are.

… On the boat home from the dive I had ear ache, nothing major but it didn’t feel great.

I took some painkillers and it subsided, no big deal.

Just as we were almost back on land something went ‘pop’ in my right ear and a load fluid started to come out of it. Naturally this freaked me out!

The fluid kept coming and while the pain had gone a little (because the pressure had been lifted with the burst), I knew this was not good. So off the boat I took myself swiftly to A&E in Cairns.

I was in hospital for about 3 hours before I was seen. It was pretty grim, I was so upset and sat there with fluid continuing to spill out of my ear and bits of blood too.

Had I ruined my diving life? Could I ever dive again? That’s mainly what was going through my head. I was gutted.

The doctor confirmed my expectation; my eardrum had burst.

This was almost two full weeks ago now and my ear is still in recovery mode. I went to the doc three times last week and by the third visit, my ear drum had already healed over.

What has become apparent is; I had an underlying infection that I had no idea about – basically my ”middle ear” (inside) has been full of gunk that forced it’s way out due to the pressure of diving.

We were going 18 metres at the deepest – a door is 2 metres high … imagine 18 metres down below. There is going to be some crazy pressure in and around your little body for sure.

… I’ve always had trouble with my ears since I was little, always had allergies/ hay fever and all round been a bit of a snotty human (lush I know ๐Ÿคข) … so this was maybe inevitable.

But I was healthy when I went diving, so I think it’s sods law it actually ended this way. Shit happens!

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I used to show jump (ponies and horses) for years back in the UK and whenever I fell off/ had an accident it was a case of ‘‘When can I ride again?”. That was all I cared about.

And that’s how I feel with diving. Health permitting – I may need a small surgery to completely clear my airways – I will get the all clear to dive again and will be back out ASAP.

Of course I won’t push it (if I am not able) but I have everything crossed I will be back under the sea soonest. I am seeing a specialist on 5th Sept, so will take it from there.

I have been run over by a car on my horse, broken my arm, broken my collar bone, been trodden on and nearly been decapitated at an event once (yes really – I have a scar on my neck to accompany the story) … every time I couldn’t wait to ride again. If you love something nothing will stop you doing it.

I honestly fell in love with diving and am looking forward (with hopeful thoughts) that I will be underwater again soon.

Perhaps I had this underlying infection for years and hopefully it can be sorted once and for all now. Let’s see!


Backing myself in work

Today I Jumped twice with Will; a 10 year old little legend! He was chilled as a cucumber – young kids amaze me. He will deffo win the Coolest Kid in School award!

I love doing Tandems with customers; something always comes over me, whereby I want to make sure they have the best possible experience. I will say anything I can to reassure them ”I got you”.

It’s an amazing part of my job to be able to share these unforgettable moments with people I’ve never met. Also, I wanted to test that I could Bungy with my ear not being good – it was completely fine. YAY! WIN!!

In other (important!) work news; I have been kicking some serious goals with marketing AJ Hackett Cairns recently.

Digging into reports this week I realised some of my results are up +2,400%. Today I found a statistic that is up +3,800%. These figures are crazyyy and something I am really proud of. Results don’t lie; seeing them in plain black and white makes things very real!

In work it is so important to keep a track of your wins, keep them filed and have them recorded as evidence of the hard yards you are putting in. If you don’t back yourself no one else will.


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Sydney calling

I am counting the days, hours, minutes to my birthday – I am going to Sydney for 6 nights and honestly cannot wait.

Sydney is my home and I miss it every day. I would never want to take away from my birth-home of Pembrokeshire (back in Wales, UK) but Sydney is my place and there is no denying the feeling just being there gives me.

It makes me feel like I can conquer my world, like everything is covered in gold dust and that the universe has no limits. Sounds crazy but it’s my truth. Sydney is me!

I land on the 21st, so excited to catch up with everyone and spend as much time as possible in Bondi babyyy! Let the good times roll!!


Words for thought

I read this yesterday and it struck a chord;

”You, just like all living things, are meant to take up space on this planet. You denying yourself your heart’s desires is a waste of some damn good desires …

… Our world needs as many compassionate, creative, bighearted, conscious people as possible”

I firmly believe we have ONE LIFE and we must LIVE IT to the 110% best for us, whatever your dream life looks like you must chase it and make it your reality.

Don’t shrink behind ‘what if’s’ and worries about what others may think or fear of failing etc etc. We all want different things. Your world is out there for the making. GO GET IT.

Hell yeah you might get injured on the way, shed some tears and feel like your world is crumbling once in a while but at least you know you are LIVING ๐Ÿ™Œ

Thank you for reading – have a great week

@LaraLainย 

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