The Wonderful World of Oz

August 19, 2019

Great Barrier Reef

Filed under: Uncategorized — A @ 8:52 am

So, as Brandon mentioned, we’re about halfway through our trip through Australia, but we each wanted to get a little blogging done. Brandon talked about our first day in the country, so I’m actually going to fast forward a bit to one of our big stops, the Great Barrier Reef.

From Sydney, we flew to Brisbane, and after a couple very relaxing days there, we were picked up by a tour company that took us to the coast. We stopped at a small zoo on the way, where we got to pet a koala, handle a python, and watch a giant croc get fed. Our little resort we stayed at on the coast was a series of cute cabin-like villas. It was a lovely place, and we were wakened in the mornings by none other than kookaburras! Yep, like in the song. Anyway, we were up early the second day (helped by kookaburras) to board a boat and head to the reef.

Let’s go ahead and get the unpleasant stuff out of the way: I have never been SO motion sick in my entire life. Brandon and I both tried the accupressure bands; I’ve had success with them in cars before, but they were pretty much useless on this boat ride. I could make the argument that “Oh, maybe they helped me get less sick than I would have otherwise,” but seeing as how I think I vomited more than literally any other passenger on that boat, I’m not sure that holds up. I won’t bore you with too many details about being super sick on a boat, but suffice it to say: I. Was. MISERABLE.

One brief, shining moment of goodness occurred during my personal hell: I saw some dolphins, followed shortly thereafter by a breaching humpback whale. I was so excited about the whale — even in the midst of my misery — that I turned around to see if anyone else had seen the whale, but the extraneous movement caused me to get sick again.

It was around that time that my misery started to turn a little existential. I was sicker than I’d been in a really long time, and I’d just seen a beautiful creature that no one else had seen and I didn’t have the capabilities to communicate with anyone about it… My mind wandered quite a bit, but I eventually honed in on one train of thought: “Is this worth it?”

I’ll save you the suspense: YES. Without any hesitation, it was worth puking multiple times in multiple bags on a choppy and uncomfortable boat ride for the chance to spend a few magnificent hours in one of the most spectacular places on earth. I knew it the moment the boat slowed down and entered the lagoon where it anchored: I saw water colored a turquoise blue I’ve never seen anywhere before, and it was magical.

Our first stop was a little walking tour of an island made up of dead coral with some really cool trees and birds. Then we were taken on a glass-bottomed boat tour of parts of the reef. The real highlight of the day, though, was snorkeling. Fortunately, the seasickness had worn off pretty quickly (by about the time we got to the island), so I was able to enjoy a delicious lunch on the (not moving) boat before donning a wetsuit, mask, and snorkel and diving in. We saw LOOOOAAADS of cool fish, including some species we recognized from “Finding Nemo.” I think our favorite underwater friend was a sea turtle. It swam right up to me and practically invited me to come along for a swim, so I did! It was really mesmerizing, swimming JUST slowly and smoothly enough to keep up with the turtle and but not disturb it. And, of course, just watching its gentle, laid-back gliding through the water. It was absolutely one of the best quarter-hours of my life. (I mean, we were in the water about an hour and a half, but the turtle was only really with us for about 15 minutes. But still, point made.)

The best capstone of the Reef trip was the fact that the trip back was super smooth. No motion sickness! Everyone else in our little tour group who’d been sick on the way out agreed that the trip back was a breeze compared to the hell we’d all endured the first part of the day. And to make that pleasant journey even better, the boat stopped to watch a couple of humpback whales breaching. They were really cool! They do this kind of roll-on-their-sides maneuver that causes their fins(?)arms(?) to flap around in the air, and it looks like they’re waving at you.

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