Scuba Diving the Great Barrier Reef

In this episode, I learn how to scuba dive at the Great Barrier Reef, and go night diving with sharks!

I have only been scuba diving once in my life, and it was just a “resort certificate” at a place in Mexico where you only are down for about a half hour. So this time, I wanted to go all the way and get my Advanced Diver Certification!

I checked into the Deep Sea Diver’s Den scuba school in Cairns, where I had two full days of instruction with a great group of first timer’s and dive instructor named Olie Coral – such a great name for a dive instructor, right?

Deep Sea Diver's Den Scuba School in Cairns, Australia

Most of the day one was spent in the classroom watching videos and taking tests, but on day two, we suited up and jumped into the pool to get some first-hand lessons and practice.

Bright and early on day three, we made the long journey from Cairns Marina out to the Great Barrier Reef!

Great Barrier Reef Drone Shot

I did 15 dives in total, witnessing some of the most incredible marine life i’ve ever seen and just completely getting lost in this vast and beautiful world.

But the most exhilarating dives were the ones that happened after the sun went down.

Great Barrier Reef Sunset

They feed some of the smaller fish off the back of the boat at night, which inevitably attracts the bigger fish… or sharks.

Great Barrier Reef Sharks

And while they were only reef sharks (won’t hurt you unless in a crazy feeding frenzy), lowering myself into that water was f*cking scary.

It doesn’t get any less freaky or less amazing the deeper you get either. Lights from the boat vanish pretty quickly and soon you’re left with only the glow from your flashlights in the complete darkness.

Giant Trevally’s use our lights to track down smaller fish, while sleeping turtles and lion fish hide within the coral.

The slightest movement catches your attention and as long as those green eyes (sharks) are moving away from you, you’re in good shape.

Great Barrier Reef - Night Diving with Sharks

The fear of the unknown mixed with the excitement of heightened senses in the dark, made this one of the craziest and most thrilling things I’ve ever done.

And now I can fully understand why people love diving so much… as long as those sharks keep their distance.

I am now officially an Advanced Open Water Certified Diver! 

I hope you guys liked the video, but as I mention at the end, I know some of you will be concerned about coral bleaching and the effects it has on the Great Barrier Reef.

While in Cairns, I asked a ton of questions to guides and even marine biologists to find answers and truth about the problem.

And they all confirmed that, while some reefs are only effected a very small percentage, it is present and a serious issue in the region. And I definitely saw first-hand how it has effected some of the coral in the reefs we were diving as well.

One guide even told me that the Great Barrier Reef won’t be around in 50 years time, and that’s incredibly disheartening considering how beautiful this place is.

I can only imagine what this place looked like 50 years ago, like something straight out of Finding Nemo.

Here is a few articles and information to help give you a better understanding of Coral Bleaching, in particular, how it effects the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

What is Coral Bleaching?

What is Coral Bleaching

Coral Bleaching Facts and Information

What You Need to Know

Percentage of Great Barrier Reef Effected by Coral Bleaching

Coral Bleaching effects across the Great Barrier Reef

Ways to Help Coral Reefs

Special thanks to the team at Deep Sea Diver’s Den for making this dream a reality!

My name is Gareth Leonard, a Marketing Director turned World Traveler with a passion for slow, meaningful travel. I have been traveling the world full-time for the past 9+ years and document it all on Instagram and YouTube. Come join me!


  1. Awesome article! Did you have a good time?
    I definitely want tot try scuba diving soon, maybe next summer. It’s sad though that people don’t respect the beautiful ocean. 🙁

  2. Man, the GBR never gets old, right? Never been…but I’ll get there. Thanks for a great post. Hope you enjoyed it. Sorry for the double comment. Made an error on the last one.


  3. Awesome article! And your photos are very amazing. You really did enjoy
    your scuba diving adventure huh? In the Philippine, we also have a diving site.
    It’s in Tubbataha Reef in Palawan. You should visit us here too and experience
    the fun and thrilling adventure that this island will offer. 🙂

  4. Great Barrier Reef is one of the best destinations for scuba diving or snorkeling! I love the activities that you had, and it is also nice having some awareness about the endangerment of the coral reefs.

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