December 2015 on the Great Barrier Reef

Coral Sea

Captain Trevor Jackson

A few weeks ago I was in the school carpark. I’d just dropped my daughter off at prep and had made my way back to the car. I started it and popped it in reverse. The car did that visible little jerk that automatics do when you put them in gear, but I had my foot on the brake so the car didn’t move. Which as it turns out, was just as well…..

Just then I noticed a little girl, maybe four years old, run into view in the rear vision camera. She stops, right at the number plate at the back of the car! Her father, about 10 yards away, realises his child isn’t beside him and spots her. He starts calling to her, starts running and grabs her from literally inches away from the rear of the running vehicle….crisis averted! But here’s the kicker, at no point did the no doubt loving father of this beautiful child, get off his phone!

Jump forward a week or two to today, and again I’m with my daughter, down at the local park enjoying the mighty North QLD outdoors, when I noticed a strange yet all too familiar phenomenon. The parents that were there, weren’t watching their kids. They were watching their phones! EVERY SINGLE one of them.

As a society, we’ve become almost completely reliant on and addicted to these pocket sized wonders of technology. Now sure, they are great, I don’t need to rattle off all the wonderful things that can be learnt, achieved, browsed and commented on, on a smart phone with a web connection. But seriously…I think occasionally we have lost our way a little bit. On the subject of tablets, iPads, phones, social media and quite frankly…..the internet in general, I’m a firm believer that they were meant to be the tools…not the Masters!

Onboard the vessel, almost every week we get someone clutching an iPhone asking if we have WIFI. We tried it once…for one week. What happened??? Well, all the REAL social interaction – folks excitedly talking about what they’d seen underwater that day; yarning with the crew and exchanging stories about their lives; listening to Captain Pete play his guitar on the back deck as the sun goes down…ALL OF IT…went out the door!!!!  And was replaced with a saloon full of folks face down, immersed in little electronic boxes.

When guests ask me about WIFI onboard I proudly say “Mike Ball Dive Expeditions has made an informed decision to give you the time of your life. No distractions; no work emails; no Facebook home pages. For this one week we don’t need the internet. We just need you, this awesome crew, and the deep blue Coral Sea”.

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