Great Barrier Reef, Queensland

The Great Barrier Reef is something I didn’t know if I’d ever see, and I especially didn’t think I’d see it scuba diving. But both those things happened, and it was awesome.

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From Airlie Beach, or all of the Whitsundays I suppose, there’s only one way to reach the Great Barrier Reef, and that’s with an organized tour through Cruise Whitsunday. The boat ride out to the reef took a few hours – there were snacks and drinks provided and lots of information going around for what would happen once we got to the reef.  Representatives from diving, snorkelling, helicopters, and other activities came around and spoke with everyone about different options at the reef.  Mom and I signed up for the diving and managed to get our names high up on the list.

Diving was awesome.  The diving school offered different levels, but since we were beginners we did an introductory dive.  They suited us up with wet suits and giant oxygen tanks that were almost like backpacks connecting at the front.  They taught us how to breathe into the mouth piece and practiced unplugging our ears, which is necessary as you descend in the ocean.  The actual dive was awesome.  I quickly got over my nerves and was able to take in the unbelievable wildlife in the reef.  The colour of the coral was amazing and I’ve never seen so many different amazing fish.

img_9493 After completing our dive, there was lots more to do at the reef. The company has this giant stationary outpost called ReefWorld with underwater viewing chambers, a mini submarine, and tons of snorkelling equipment.  It was really nice to go back in the water to snorkel after the dive – it was much more relaxing and very cool to see the reef from above. The water was so warm, too.  I could have stayed down there for hours. One of my favourite parts was the giant sea turtle that was swimming around the boat – it was so friendly almost as though it was putting on a bit of a show for us.

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Overall it was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done.  The reef is highly at risk from ocean acidification and coral bleaching was already visible on our dive.  I’m so happy to have been and seen the reef as it is now.  Such a cool day.

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