Ever since I watched “Aquamarine” as a girl, I dreamed of the day that I would visit the Great Barrier Reef. Eleven years later, with a SCUBA certification and living in “nearby” Fiji, I finally walked off the plane into the humid landscape of Australia.
My dad and I planned the trip together, and we booked ourselves a 5-day live-aboard in Cairns, where you live on a dive boat for the entirety of your trip. SCUBA, eat, sleep, repeat. It was an incredible way to experience the GBR. Because the reef is so extensive, you have more time to travel to further sections.
As we left the shore of Cairns and made our way through the reef, I was in awe. The water was incredibly clear, and you could see the coral reefs that lay just below the surface. As the boat strategically maneuvered around the reefs and land disappeared from sight, the majesty of the sea showed itself. Hundreds of varieties of fish came into sight before darting away, and the reef stretched far past the horizon.
For the next 5 days, our SCUBA excursions were all unique. When we woke up every morning, the boat had moved to a new part of the reef that we would dive. If I documented all of the wonders that lay below the surface, this blog post would be a novel. So I’ll be as brief as possible: sea turtles, barracudas, clownfish, every type of coral, (oh my!). One evening we had a night dive, and as I dove to the bottom of the ocean, it was dead silent and dark except for the beam of my flashlight. What an adrenaline rush!
While my experience was absolutely incredible, it was tinged with the knowledge that the reef may never be this pristine again (and was not as pristine as 30 years ago). As an avid marine activist, I cannot stress enough the importance of conservation. The UN reported yesterday that 1 million species face extinction, and 99% of coral reefs will be affected. Together, let’s put our environmental crisis front and center and prioritize saving our planet and all the animals that live on it, including humans. Less plastic consumption, more activism!