Great Barrier Reef
Our first day in Australia was in Cairns. Cairns is on the North East coast of Australia, near the great barrier reef. After we got settled in where we were staying, Dad and I started off with a relaxing trip to the lagoon. If we stayed in the hotel, our sleep schedule would have been way worse from the jet lag, so we decided to go somewhere relaxing and calm to start. The lagoon is a salt water enclosed swimming pool. Since it was winter when we got there the water in the lagoon was pretty cold, also because we ended up getting to the lagoon in the evening. Since it was too cold to swim, we sat on a bench, read our books, and took a few walks around the esplanade. During our walks it was low tide, so if I jumped over the wall we were walking next to there wouldn’t be any water, just wet sand and rocks. The walk continued past 5 PM so we got to see the sunset over the mountains. It was a breathtaking view. We ate at a local restaurant for dinner and went back to our accommodation called Crystal Cascades. It was a cute cabin that had a view of the mountains and palm trees surrounding it. We ended up falling asleep really early (it was early for my family, sometimes at the time we eat dinner!) around 8 PM.
The next morning we woke up early to go on a mini cruise to Green Island. Green island is one of the islands that make up the Great Barrier Reef. Fun fact: it is the only island in the Great Barrier Reef that has a rain forest (according to my Dad’s tour guide). Once we found where to park (it took us about 20 minutes of going in circles) we checked in and took an hour long catamaran ride to Green Island. The ride wasn’t as bad as Dad had anticipated it would be (he had a bad catamaran experience once) but it may have been because we slept most of the ride there so I guess the world may never know how bad it actually was, except the people that were on it too. We got my snorkel gear and waited for the boat to finish docking. I stepped off the boat and didn’t know where to look, (I felt like a dog spinning in circles) it was beautiful 360º.
We first took a walk along the path in the rain forest. We Skyped mom for part of our walk and ended up with this beautiful view, it made my mom jealous (SUCCESS! I made her jealous yayy!!). After that walk, we went back to the boat for a buffet lunch, it actually wasn’t that bad, but it wasn’t too exciting either. I left Dad on the boat by himself because I was mad at him. no jk it was because that is where he had to meet in a few minutes to go on the glass bottom boat tour. I went to the beach and just relaxed lying on a towel soaking up the sun and the beautiful views.
When Dad was done with the glass bottom boat tour he found me on the beach and we moved to a less populated area. I put on my Lycra suit and snorkel gear and was ready to snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef. As I was going in, I saw my Dad Skype my family back home so they could see how funny I looked in all my gear. As I went into the water, which was a bit cold, it was hard for me to walk with my fins. The first few times I wend underwater it felt weird. I didn’t like feeling as if I couldn’t breathe correctly. But after a few tries and remembering my Dad’s advice, breathe in and out slowly through your mouth only, I got the hang of it. Snorkeling was pretty cool!! I saw some grass and plants at first, I couldn’t go out to far because I started choking after doing something wrong. But it was pretty shallow and I could stand up even pretty far out. On the way back to shore, after I used up all my underwater camera film (of course I used it up), I saw fish for the first time during the snorkeling session. There must have been a few hundred fish swimming together in a long line. It was so cool to just look down and see fish. I was so entertained by them that I just floated in that one spot as they kept swimming back and forth under me. After I was done snorkeling we had been on Green Island for about 5 hours, so it was time to head back to the boat. I took off my Lycra suit near this elderly couple (don’t worry I had a bathing suit on under the Lycra suit) and the man started taking pictures of the ground, (it was a bit weird he should have been taking pictures of his beautiful wife) but then we started to walk towards the boat.
We took the catamaran back to Cairns, we slept most of that ride too. (We sleep a lot, it’s a family tradition to just sleep everywhere, so why not bring that family tradition to Australia?!?) Either that night or the night before, I don’t have the best memory, we took dinner back to the cabin to relax. We ended up walking around the town at night looking in souvenir shops and places to eat. We both conked out between 8 and 9 the second night as well.
Cairns was beautiful! I definitely wouldn’t miss snorkeling in the great barrier reef if I were to come to Australia again. It was an awesome experience with amazing views. It was the place my Study Abroad Adviser back at New Paltz told me not to miss, and I would pass on the same advice. I think it still didn’t sink in that I was in a different country. There are some pictures to prove how beautiful it really was. The pictures don’t do it justice, but its the closest you can come to seeing it and not being in Australia.
Next stop: Brisbane
Thank you for reading!
Stay awesome!! <3