Knowing I would be heading to the Great Barrier Reef while I was In Australia, I knew it would be an unforgettable experience, but I never expected it to be filled with such pure joy.
Without going through any security check points, having no boarding pass and only carrying a small backpack with our things we boarded the plane from Hervey Bay. The plane itself was quite small and honestly a little questionable, but we all split up into two groups and took a quick flight across the vast ocean. In just thirty minutes, Lady Elliot Island was in view and looked just like pictures, small but beautiful. When we were landing, I realized how short the landing strip was and it was grass…Normally at this sight I would get slightly nervous, but instead I had an overwhelming sense of excitement for this new place, where even the journey to get there was a completely new experience.
Within the first thirty minutes we were there, we went on our first snorkeling adventure at THE GREAT BARRIER REEF. In just one hour we saw more marine life than I ever have in my life. Including sharks, turtles, sting rays, sea urchins, parrotfish and so much more. From that moment on, I knew I wouldn’t want to leave.
We were spoiled with food here. After having to fend for ourselves for the past 2 and a half weeks, I felt like a queen at a feast. We had delicious breakfasts, lunches, dinners and at every meal—dessert. I have one of the biggest sweet tooths I know, so I was in a happy place.
The resort itself isn’t at all what you think it would be when you hear the word “resort.” We stayed in small eco-tents, used community bathrooms and had no access to the outside world. Aka this was my paradise. When I am completely disconnected from everything, I find myself at so much peace. It’s these moments and experiences when I can see the full and true beauty of this world and I am so humbled to be a small part of it.
Leading up to the trip, I was battling a cold and was extremely worried I wouldn’t be able to scuba dive. I had been looking forward to diving the reef since I applied to the program and now that experience was potentially going to be taken away from me. So my friends and I waited until the last day we were there to plan our dive, so I had a lot of time to get better. And even though I was slightly congested, I decided I would try and if I had problems equalizing my ears I would just go back on the boat. As soon as we started to descend I had ZERO issues and it was like all my symptoms had disappeared. Within the first minute of descending, our dive master motioned us to go onto the sandy bottom. Within seconds a giant manta ray was swimming right over our heads.
It was one of the most magical and surreal experiences I have ever had. I was in awe of the world and everything in it that God has created. It’s one of those moments in life that feels like a glimpse of heaven.
The dive went by quickly and I wanted to go again—and hopefully someday I’ll make it back for a diving trip. I had my last snorkel the next morning before leaving, to take it all in once more. That day there were moments the sun shined through the water and the visibility was so incredible.
We climbed back aboard the small aircraft and made our way back to reality. As soon as we landed everyone connected to the free Wi-Fi (including me) and I knew we were back. Now being in Brisbane, a big city, we are far away from our remote, humble island home and I find myself missing it and looking forward to disconnect once more, which will happen tomorrow! We will be leaving for Lamington National Park, a sub-tropical rainforest! So next time y’all hear from me, I’ll have had new experiences in a part of world I have yet to discover!