Great Barrier Reef

This weekend was one of the most incredible weekends of my life, seriously. I took a trip to the Great Barrier Reef with 6 of my friends (Jenna, Wade, Jared, Kelli, Jordan, and Sarah). We left Bond Uni at 6AM on Friday and drove north to the Town of 1770, a small beach town in Queensland. After seeing the Queensland countryside and taking a few pit stops, we arrived at our hostel at 3PM. Our tour guide for the weekend, Harry, was an upbeat guy from Brisbane who really made sure we had the best vacation possible. He was our bus driver, cook, and comedian.

Friday afternoon consisted of a relaxing trip to the beach, a short 300 meters from our hostel. After spending the afternoon catching some rays and taking pictures, we drove into town to watch the sunset. This was a sight to behold, as 1770 is one of only two locations on the East coast where the sun sets over the water. On our sunset tour we were also fortunate enough to see a wild kangaroo skipping around his natural habitat, which is always a plus. That night Harry cooked up a delicious chicken curry, which we all scarfed down, followed by a fun evening on the beach.

Saturday was the big day, needless to say, as we embarked on a journey to Lady Musgrave Island in the Great Barrier Reef. After a breakfast consisting of fresh fruit and toast, we were ready to rock and roll. The Spirit of 1770 set sail at 8:30AM and arrived two hours later at Lady Musgrave Island. Since we were all in group 1, we went on the island tour first. It was neat to walk around and enjoy the reef from several different viewpoints. There were also thousands of birds that nest on Lady Musgrave, which was neat to see. Following the island tour, we headed back to the boat for lunch.

After lunch, a few of us did the submarine tour around the reef, which allowed us to see the sea creatures from a unique vantage point. But the best part was strapping on our goggles and flippers and jumping in the ocean to swim right along with the sea creatures. There were tons of beautiful fish and coral that took my breath away, literally, since I still haven’t grown gills. All cheesy puns aside, the reef was miraculous. My favorite part of the diving experience was swimming with a sea turtle. Wade and I were lucky enough to spot a turtle coming up for some air, and naturally we swam towards it. Luckily, the turtle was by no means afraid of us, and allowed us to join him for a swim. We were able to touch and swim side by side with this beautiful animal in some of the clearest water in the world in the Great Barrier Reef. Yeah, I’d say that is pretty awesome.

The day ended when we sailed back to the Australian shore in time for what would be the best dinner I have had in Australia. Harry set out a delicious and massive spread, which preceded the even better main course barbeque. You all know how much we American’s like to eat, and we did not hold back after a long and exhausting day at the GBR.

Sunday was the final day of our trip and we wanted to end it with a bang. We decided to try our luck at surfing. Having never surfed, I was excited to give it go, although I knew it would not be easy. It wasn’t. It took me a lot of hard falls to finally get my feet under me and ride a wave to shore. Our instructor, JD, was the quintessential Aussie surfer dude and he clearly loved surfing. He was a great teacher and made sure that each of us had a great time and that we all got up on our board before the day ended. I will say, although I never thought surfing was easy, I never knew how hard it really was. After our surf lesson we headed back to Bond. I am so glad I had the opportunity to do all these incredible things this weekend, and I can’t wait for the next adventure (Hint: they take their opera seriously).

PS: Check out this video I made about the trip. Enjoy!

Great Barrier Reef Video

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One thought on “Great Barrier Reef

  1. Aunt Peggy and Uncle Mark says:

    Wow, Joel! We’re SO thrilled you got to see the barrier reef–what an experience (that we’d LOVE to do sometime, too)! Hope you continue to have lots of fabulous adventures, and thanks for sharing them with all the rest of us.
    Love ya,
    Aunt Peggy and Uncle Mark

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