The Great Barrier Reef – One Down Six To Go.
One down six more to go because I have officially visited one of the seven wonders of the world, The Great Barrier Reef. Although there has been a lot of talk about the death of this beautiful landmark, I am here to report that it is thriving and teeming with life. I visited the reef once when I was much younger, however, due to my pure hatred for the cold, I decided I would sit on the boat and miss out on everything, what a buzzkill. Thankfully this past weekend I had a chance to not only experience snorkeling in the GBR but also experience scuba diving for the first time, and let me tell you, once you go scuba you never go back.
The day started off pretty gloomy; it was pouring rain and very chilly, but we headed out to the boat as excited as ever. We visited two reefs on our trip but it was a full day event. The weather gave us quite a trip out to the first stop and while Allison enjoyed our roller-coaster of a boat ride, jolting over the waves was not ideal for some of the other passengers. Let’s just say the side of the boat got a lot of action for 9AM.
We arrived at the reef just as the rain began to turn into more of a downpour and I didn’t mind at all. In fact, as I sat on the side of the boat swishing my legs like a child at swim lessons, I noticed that the dark clouds blended with the deep shades of the blue ocean made the turquoise, coral reefs stand out brilliantly. As I sat there I realized my attention should probably be on one of the dive instructors telling us how to breath underwater and not on the scenery, whoops. Finally, after what felt like hours of instructions it was my turn to submerge. As I dove down I realized that breathing underwater is freaking weird. When you go down you have to pause and go through a couple steps with the instructor so that they know you know what you are doing. One of the steps is to take out the mouth piece underwater, put it back in and blow to make sure you can still breath, simple right? Well, because I am 1) pretending to know how to breath underwater, and 2), attempting to hide my panic attack because I. am. breathing. underwater. I do the step wrong. I remove the mouth piece and face it upwards, in response it starts spewing bubbles, so much so that I struggled to turn it back over so I wouldn’t lose my whole air tank. I smiled sheepishly through the mountains of bubbles and probably made a weird inaudible sound of surprise but my instructor didn’t seem mad and I wasn’t dead yet so, no harm done. After that initial moment of confusion and excitement I was comfortable and ready to explore the ocean floor.
The first reef we dove at was great, but it was nothing compared to our second stop, Hastings Reef. I have never seen such beauty in my entire life. The reef stretched as far as I could see, it was massive wall after wall covered and crawling with life. We snorkeled here and spent time diving below to see the larger fish and skimming the surface to see the coral, which was brilliant, even in the gloomy rain. There were fish of all colors and corals growing and spreading all along the reef. Great Barrier Reef, you have my heart!