Great Barrier ReefSydney, Spring 2012

For our mid semester break, IES flew us to Cairns to experience the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest which are both World Heritage sites. It was an amazing trip of a lifetime and had so much fun! Our trip was only 6 days long, but I managed to take 800+ pictures and movies combined, so this blog will be part 1 of my mid semester break (In Australia, they don't call it spring break because it's the fall semester). We had a very busy 6 days..on Saturday, we flew from Sydney to Brisbane to Cairns and went straight to an Aboriginal culture dinner which was really interesting, especially because I could apply it to what I had been learning in my Indigenous Australia class I am currently taking at UNSW. On Easter Sunday, we met at 7:30 AM and boarded our boat. 85% of the passengers on the boat was our IES group! I was definitely not expecting a 90 minute boat ride to the great barrier reef, but it gave us a lot of time to eat and relax. A bunch of people got sea sick, but I was lucky that I didn't get sick. The hardest part was walking around the boat because the ocean was really choppy that day and the boat was reaaally rocky! At Flynn Reef, we had 3 separate dives to Coral Garden, Gordon's and Ski Slopes. We spent around an hour to an hour and a half at each dive site, and I was snorkeling/diving for the entire time--it was SO much fun! Everyone was given the option of renting a lycra full body suit to protect people from getting jellyfish stings for $7 but they said that the chance of getting stung by one was slim, so I decided to take my chances and not get one. Besides, I didn't want to wear a full body suit when the water was perfectly 80 degrees! I saw some pretty amazing corals, and HEAPS of fish. My favorite part was seeing the giant clams and the reef shark! I'm usually terrified of sharks, but since there were over 50 of us in the water, the shark was more scared of us.  After snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef, I realized how lucky Maile and I are to live in Hawaii because we don't have to worry about taking long boat rides to see amazing underwater life. The GBR and Hawaii reefs are similar, but the GBR had WAY more variety of species of fish and coral than Hawaii. I was also really glad that I didn't chose to go scuba diving like I had originally wanted to do because the dive spots that we went to weren't very deep and I could go just as deep by free diving. Also, the more interesting corals were mostly in the shallower waters! One thing that I learned about the city of Cairns was that it was a pretty sleepy town, especially since we were there for Easter weekend. When we drove around in the small city, it kind of looked like Hilo, Hawaii. There are a lot of activities like bungee jumping, skydiving, white water rafting, horseback riding, hiking etc right outside of the city, but as for the city itself, there's not much to do besides the shops. Cairns also had the BEST meat pies I have ever tasted. I got the chicken and avocado meat pie twice from Meldrums because they were sooo amazing! Hope you like the video! Great Barrier Reef Video
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