Monday, March 14, 2011

When to Splurge

  I know I've talked a lot about how to save money over and over again by taking advantage of company reward programs but every now and then, there comes a time to splurge.  Whether that's on a special trip, a ridiculously nice meal out or an over the top pair of expensive shoes, it's ok to indulge from time to time.

  Curtis and I talked a lot about where we would splurge on our big trip this year.  To me, the trip itself is a splurge; something I am so lucky to be able to do and grateful to stay in a hostel, much less a nice hotel.  To us, the main highlight of this trip is diving the Great Barrier Reef since it's one of the top places people say you must see/do in your lifetime and we love to dive.  After looking into the locations of the best dive spots, the "splurge" portion of our trip kind of fell in our laps.

  We're going to do a Liveaboard on the Great Barrier Reef.

Taka Dive GBR Liveaboard

  Some of the best diving spots on the Reef are located too far out for a day trip, unless you plan to charter a plane to a private island and then take a boat to the bigger boats already there.  Yeah...too much of a splurge!  The main sites we wanted to visit were the Cod Hole and the Ribbon Reefs, two sites that include many diving sites within and tons to see.

  We haven't booked anything yet but I think we've decided on the Taka Liveaboard for 4 days and 3 nights including 10+ dives.  The entire purpose of the boat is to dive so it will be nice to be around divers, marine biologists (who tag along to do research) and people genuinely interested in ocean life.  I'm a little nervous (my worst case scenario mind does that to me) but excited at the idea of living at sea for a few days!

  The itinerary includes:
(click on each name that's underlined to see a picture of the animal)

-Leave Tuesday night to embark on an overnight trip to the Cod Hole

-Cod Hole dive 1- likely sightings include the Giant Potato Cod, Moray Eel, Reef Sharks & Maori Wrasse
-Cod Hole dive 2- Cod Feed; close encounters with the Famous Potato Cod!
Potato Cod

-Pixie's Pinacle/Reef/Wall or Challenger Bay dive 3- likely sightings include Lion Fish, Nudibranchs, Garden Eels & Barracuda

-Night Dive at Challenger Bay dive 4- likely sightings include Cuttle Fish, Seat Turtles, Reef Sharks & Manta Rays

-Clam Gardens dive 5- likely sightings include Giant Clams (200+ years old) anenome

-Steve's Bommie dive 6- sightings include Red Flame File Shell, Stone Fish, Wobeegong Sharks, Turtles & Thousands of schooling Anthias

-Temple of Doom dive 7- sightings include Flatworms & Clownfish

-Night Dive, Beer Gardens dive 8- sightings include sleepy Turtles & Parrot Fish

-Hogs Breath dive 9- sightings include Blue Spot Lagoon Ray & Clown Fish

-Split Bommie dive 10- sightings include Octopus & various Butterfly Fish

This itinerary is their desired dive plan but it can change depending on currents, weather and even time of the year.  We will probably end up skipping a few sites due to the latter.  Why?  As if this dive trip couldn't get any better, we're there during Minke Whale season!

  These whales migrate to Australia every year between May-July and up to 100 may be seen at one time.  There are strict rules in place (as there should be) to prevent harm to these animals but they're very friendly and are likely to approach snorkelers near boats.  They are the Dwarf Minke Whales but don't be fooled!  They run about 8 meters long and weigh up to 5 tons!


WOW!  How many times in your life can you say you swam with whales?!  There, of course, is no guarantee we'll see any but because we're with a dive group solely for 3 days, the boat will stop (by law) and cut the engines so we can jump in the water with them.  Yet another advantage to being on a liveaboard that you just don't get with day trips!

  The experience will be well worth the money and we're thrilled to get the opportunity to see some parts of the ocean most have never seen before.

Have you splurged on travel before?  In hindsight, was it worth it?

1 comment:

  1. I can't wait to see all of the photos from your trip. We are so living vicariously through this one. You will have to go into great detail about that massage and hopefully you'll indulge in more than just a couple of them. :)

    Oh, and I splurged on a spa day. :D