A Dream Realized, The Great Barrier Reef

Finally wrapping up the series on our outstanding month in Queensland. During our time there we traveled to some breathtaking areas that included: epic waterfallslush farmlands, dense rainforests, and pristine waters. However, the crème de la crème for me was a place that I’ve wanted to visit since I read about it in elementary school. The largest living organism on our Earth. Home to more than a 1,000 species of fish the Great Barrier Reef has been 3rd on my bucket list since I created one. It was only kept from the top spot by Uluru and Machu Picchu.

My hope was to be able to spend a day snorkeling and scuba diving on the reef, so we selected a company that offered some introductory diving since we’re not certified. On our cruise out to the reef I giddily listed off the animals I hoped would swim by us on our trip; a shark, a sea turtle, and Nemo. Now I didn’t want Jaws to swim underneath us or anything, but a less chompy shark would be incredible to encounter in the wild.DSC00305

When the boat finally stopped at the reef, I kid you not, I was the first one in the water. Barely getting my mask on before diving in to explore this placed that I’ve dreamed of exploring for so long. All told, we made three stops with the boat and each time I was right there in the water and only came back when it was time to move to a different spot. It’s hard to describe the immense joy I felt just happily floating on the surface of the water trying to take in all of my surroundings; the rainbow of colors, the incredible shapes of the coral, the jumble of fish darting back and forth. It was undoubtedly a dream come true.

At our first stop I got to catch a glimpse of a blacktip reef shark cruising through the area. Its dark, grey body moving effortlessly through the water. Unfortunately, I wasn’t quick enough to capture it with the GoPro, but I can still see it stealthily moving by if I close my eyes and think back. On the second stop, I had the good fortune of spotting a perfect little anemone in a little crevice. My guess was that Nemo might make that his home, so a took a deep breath and down down to get a closer look and sure enough right there in between the tentacles swam a cute little clownfish. At our third stop I was tired of carrying the camera, so I wasn’t able to capture the majestic sea turtles lazily swimming through the reef. Lucky for us they moved much slower than the shark, so we were able to spend quite a bit of time with them by casually floating nearby.

Nemo

All in all, I couldn’t have asked for a better trip to the reef. The weather was perfect, the animals plentiful, and the reef was exactly what I had expected.

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9 thoughts on “A Dream Realized, The Great Barrier Reef

  1. This is so awesome, Dustin! Well done! We visited the Great Barrier reef the first time we went to Australia and snorkeling there was the most exciting and memorable experience. I found Nemo, too, along with enormous schools of fish, huge clamshells and frighteningly big groupers. We didn’t dive…just stayed on the surface. Let’s hope that there are successful efforts to save the reef. Makes me want to weep.

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