Choosing Australia for study abroad was hands down one of my best decisions. While Europe is beautiful and has so much to offer, I know that it wasn’t for me. Don’t get me wrong, I want to live in Europe at one point in my life, and explore it all, but for this experience Australia was the right choice. I am seeing things some people, most people, will never see. It isn’t just what I’m seeing but what I’m doing, who I’m meeting, and where I’m going. I have met true friends here that really care about me. I would never have met these amazing people who I have so much in common with if I chose to go to Europe. I have fallen in love with this country. I am so lucky and blessed to be here, seeing things so beautiful so far from home. If you ever have an opportunity to travel out here take it, anyone to visit (cough cough visit me) do it. There is so much here to explore.
This weekend started on Thursday for me as I boarded a plane heading toward the Whitsunday Islands. Once we arrived we had the rest of the day to walk around the island town and grab some food. We swam in a “lagoon” that was man made and super warm. We ate some good food, and spent a good amount of money. We bought snacks, alcohol, and sunscreen galore for the next dew days ahead of us. We went back to our hostel early to get a good night’s sleep before we got on the boat.
On Friday we boarded the boat. The boat was exactly what I expected. In terms of size it was not too big, not too small. However; it did feel cramped at times. There were four bedrooms that all consisted of a couple double beds, bunk beds and what I call “coffins.” Unfortunately my friends and I were all assigned different rooms, and I got one of the coffins. With sleeping arrangements figured out we started our day on the boat. The first snorkel stop was great, got a taste of what the Great Barrier Reef really was. I saw more fish than I ever could’ve imagined. I was surprised that they really weren’t scared of us, they swam right up to, and around us like we were part of their world. With each snorkel stop I was more and more enthralled with this world. On Saturday my dream came true and I got to swim with three turtles, (and saw plenty more) it was absolutely majestic. This is going down as one of my favorite memories to date. In one of the bays, I went off on my own for a while and hardly ever lifted my head from the water. I saw some of the most amazing things that the ocean has to offer. The reef was incredibly beautiful, I’ve never seen so much marine life ever. The coral was bright and colorful, the fish were copious, the whole reef seemed to be thriving. About an hour into my little adventure alone I saw a turtle. With nothing to capture this moment with I gasped and just stared, in awe. (Don’t worry there would be more turtles to come that I did have something to capture the moment). I watched the turtle gracefully float through the water and peep it’s head up for air, then swim back down to a resting spot. I wish I could put into words what it was like to watch this beautiful creature in it’s natural habitat. After that I was lucky enough to see more turtles in and out of the water. It was hard not to fog my goggles with my tears of joy!
Between snorkeling points we mostly hung out on the boat, tanned, enjoyed the (mostly) good weather, talked and ate more food. The water was blue and gorgeous all around us. The islands were glorious. On Saturday we got to stop at Whitehaven Beach. We got to hike up to the lookout and spend a couple hours at the beach. Hidden in the islands of the Great Barrier Reef, this beach is a secret beauty. The tide of the beach is always changing, so on any day of any given year, it will never look the same. The sand is so spherical and perfect it acts as an exfoliator and is great for your skin and hair, so naturally we were all rolling in it upon arrival. The water was warm, and even tho we couldn’t fully go in the water without our wetsuits (for jellyfish protection) we sat at the edge and felt the warm water, and it was amazing. Anyways I’ll stop boring you with positive adjectives that show my fascination. All in all it was a tiring, but great weekend on a boat in the world famous GBR. I am thankful I got to have this experience, thankful beyond belief. Like I said before, seeing the Great Barrier Reef is something a lot of people will never have done or get to do in their lifetimes, which is a reason to visit, and a reason to keep it from disappearing in any way possible. If you ever have a chance to see it, do. There is a whole different world and ecosystem in the oceans of the world, and getting to really peer into it is (was for me) a life altering experience.
Again I couldn’t be more confident that this was the right choice for me. I love exploring this part of the world and I can’t wait to do more of it.
Sorry if I post excessively to Instagram in the next couple days, or even the rest of my time etc. I just can’t help it!
Before I sign off I’d like to say one more thing… GO COCKS! How about that Duke beat down? One of the best things I’ve ever streamed illegally, and thats saying a lot!