The adventure of a lifetime

From Bega District News

The Mermaid sank 180 years ago (1829) off the coast of Cairns on Flora Reef.

In 2004 a search team went out to look for the ship and confirmed that Flora Reef was the most likely position of the shipwreck, then early this year a team set out to survey for the wreck.

The Australian National Maritime Museum and John Mullens from the Silent World Foundation sponsored us along with the help of our teacher Elaine Cozens to accompany the search party to find the Mermaid.

On New Year’s Day we boarded a plane in Merimbula to join the maritime archaeological expedition to find the wreck.

The group arrived in Cairns and boarded the Spoilsport, a well equipped professional diving vessel, to journey to the Great Barrier Reef.

The vessel has three levels: below deck, the cabins (one of which we shared and managed to fill to the brim with our stuff) the main deck with living room, kitchen, dining area which features two enormous flatscreen TVs.

When we first snorkelled on the reef we thought it was stunning; we were able to spot numerous bright blue starfish which looked like they were made of velveteen, sea cucumbers - big black knobbly ones and skinnier grey ones, and an eel hiding in a hole.

All the bright little polyps that suck in and out and the tessellating patterns of the hard corals are just amazing.

It was absolutely breathtaking to dive down into a world unknown by our eyes and discover all this beauty.


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