Easter on the Great Barrier Reef


This mid semester break was well spent up in Queensland! I did various amazing things during my 5 night stay in Cairns but the most amazing and memorable thing was my day trip to Green Island where I spent Easter Sunday in the water snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef. This experience was one I will hold with me forever. The amazing marine life had me completely speechless. The best way I could describe it to my family was that I hungout with the cast of “Finding Nemo” all day on Easter. I was fortunate enough to see thousands of fish, a green sea turtle, a reef shark, a sting ray, giant sea clams, and of course Nemo himself. I had become infatuated with the wildlife very quickly and spent practically the entire day laying on the top of the ocean as these creatures casually went about their daily routines and allowed me to spectate.

The oceans in Cairns had signs all over warning people about the dangerous Irukandji that may be present in the waters. These are really small jellyfish (aka “stingers”) – about the size of the red tip on a match – and they are deadly. Thankfully even if there were any in the part I was swimming in – my wet suit protected me from any possible stings.

Nothing I saw in the water particularly scared me – as I saw no Crocodiles (aka “Salties”) or anything else particularly aggressive. I did have a momentary second of ‘holy crap’ when I saw a bit of crocodile shaped coral a few meters away from me. Whew. Close to the end of my day on Green Island I was paddling into shore through the reef when I saw a really long something in the sand on the bottom. I finally got to the head and saw that it was a snake. My first actual wild snake sighting so far in Australia. I am not particularly scared of snakes – but I was not hanging around to examine this huge mean looking guy. I kicked pretty hard to shore after that – someone told me later on that the snakes are not commonly seen in the reef where people are usually populating the water to snorkle – and it was a good thing I got out of there because they are generally not the most harmless guys.

About a block from my hotel were these incredible mango trees – and as if that wasnt cool enough – in the trees lived THOUSANDS, not exaggerating, THOUSANDS, of flying foxes. Each evening around 6:30 pm they would all leave the mango trees in search for some dinner. They would absolutely swarm the skies above and it was an unfathomable thing to watch happen each night.

I have seemed to develop a bit of a souvenir addiction while I have been travelling around. I see really cool native Australian things or hand made goods and I cant help myself. I have spent an unreasonable amount of money on souvenirs. I am grounding myself officially from souvenir shopping for the rest of my time. I am ridiculous.

I am back to Melbourne as of today. I have a few more days of break before classes begin again. Midterm week. Im not too stressed. I have reached my halfway marker here I believe. I dont know how I feel about that.

Thats all for now!! Thanks.


My name is Mariah Munger and I am an Art Education major! I am spending the Spring 2015 semester abroad in Melbourne, Australia, and could not be more excited. I hope to explore, learn, and inspire others to take a big step into this amazing world we live in each day.

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