"Don't worry, they usually don't
The above quote is the famous last words of the legendary Steve Irwin. He was snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef not far from where we snorkeled and was pierced in the chest by a sting ray in 2006. One of the greatest Australians in history left the world doing what he loved.
This was the thing I was looking forward to the most about coming to Australia. The Great Barrier Reef is the largest living organism in the earth. It the only living organism you can see from space. The Great Barrier Reef also happens to be one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Having already seen the Grand Canyon and now the Great Barrier Reef, I have plans of seeing the remaining five.
We woke up early that morning and headed over the Wavelength office and heard a brief overview about our trip on the reef. It was going to be an hour and a half ride to the first snorkel spot, and it was going to be a very, very choppy ride out.
We boarded the boat and were advised to take a pill so we wouldn't get sea sick. After seeing the two people that didn't take it get sicker than I dog, I was more than thankful for taking it. The best part about our trip was that we only had eighteen people, meaning there was some time for one on one instruction. Most groups that go out on the reef contain as much as 200 people.
We headed on our journey towards our diving spot and after about twenty minutes of being on the boat we were in the middle of nowhere. There wasn't a sight of land anywhere near us. When we reached our first spot I was getting so excited to jump in the water. We were handed all of our gear and given proper instruction on how to wear it. We had to wear sexy suits because of the coral being so sharp, and because it was stingray season!
They advised us that this would be the most choppy of the three sites we were going to be at throughout the day. My brother and I were two of the first people to jump in and we passed on taking the noodle, as we thought we were strong swimmers. That turned out to be a terrible decision. I had never been snorkeling before which meant I have never worn flippers or even a snorkel mask. As I jumped in I felt the flippers taking me toward the bottom and waves were crashing in to my face and I had no clue how to breathe.
Needless to say this was harder than I thought. I then demanded a noodle which made things a lot easier. I realized that I was not thinking about breathing which caused me to skip breathes. It took me all of two minutes to get used to the flippers and the mask. After those two minutes I was swimming like a fish in the reef.
I think I will always remember sticking my face under the water for the first time. You see on TV the coral reef and think you know what to expect, but when you see it firsthand it is absolutely stunning. I couldn't believe my eyes, and began making my way further and further from the boat.
Throughout the three stops we saw the brightest coral, hundreds of species of fish, a shark and yes even a stingray! The one thing I really wanted to see was a sea turtle but unfortunately we didn't run into one of them. I don't even know how to describe the Great Barrier Reef other than breathtaking.
So rather than sit here and tell you how awesome it was, I will leave you with some pictures to show you how spectacular it really is.
This is a must do when visiting Australia. I do plan on coming back to Australia one day (hopefully sooner rather than later) and plan on snorkeling again. They say snorkeling is better than scuba diving because the colors are brighter in shallow water.
Fun Fact: These clown fish became popular in the Disney movie Finding Nemo. After that movie became so popular, there were many people that dove the reef and would take these clown fish out and sell them. Needless to say this is a very rare sight to see a clown fish in the reef. We were lucky enough to see it!