On April 10th I woke up to the sound of the train wheels clacking. It was 5:30 in the morning. I was so tired but also so thrilled to be traveling to a new destination. Soon after we woke from the comfy and unique accommodation of the train, we all gathered our belongings and hopped off the train and directly onto a bus. The bus then brought us to the Harvey Bay airport.
We then waited at the airport until our departure to Lady Elliot Island. To get to Lady Elliot Island we boarded onto a very small and squished airplane. But it was so worth it! The view from the airplane of the open ocean and reef was absolutely incredible and unforgettable. My very first encounter with the Great Barrier reef! I could not take my eyes off the window the entire ride. As we neared Lady Elliot Island everyones’ expressions immediately changed to eyes wide and mouths open. WOW!! The island is so magical and beautiful. What a great experience. Austin even got the chance to fly the plane for a short time.
Once we arrived on the island, we settled in for a bit and then headed out on a glass bottom boat to go on our first snorkel. On the boat we had the opportunity to see squid, an abundance of fish species, and giant loggerheads. We were all so amazed by the size of the loggerheads in particular. This was my first encounter with a sea turtle and it made me so incredibly happy to see one in the wild. Next, we hopped into the water and went for our first snorkel. We saw beautiful coral structures and so many fish and sea turtles! I am still blown away on how great this experience was.
Lastly, we ended the day with a wonderful lecture from Jayna. We were given an introduction into the environments and history of Lady Elliot Island. It was so great to receive this background knowledge on the island right after we had the chance to begin exploring it.