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The Great Barrier Reef

  • January 19, 2014
  • By Brittany
  • 15 Comments
The Great Barrier Reef

Hi all!  Last week I recapped our first stop on our tour de Australia, the Whitsundays!  Well, I left one MAJOR thing out (mainly because I wanted a second opportunity to photo dump you) and that is the Great Barrier Reef!  You can’t visit the Whitsundays or anywhere is northern Queensland for that matter without visiting the Great Barrier Reef!  The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest living reef system and it is also one of the seven wonders of the world.  There are over 3,000 reefs systems in the Great Barrier Reef and it is the only living thing that is visible from space!  And it’s really beautiful and the fish are really cool.  So what more do you need to know?
To get to the Reef you have to take about a two hour boat ride from the main island (Hamilton Island).  This meant that we were up really early to catch the ferry to Hamilton Island and then the boat to the Reef.  For some reason the Hubs, who set this all up, made up leave for Hamilton Island TWO hours before our boat was scheduled to leave.  Being the nagging wife that I am, I badgered him constantly about why we had to spend two whole hours on Hamilton Island waiting for our boat.  Well, I think he had enough because he finally let it slip . . . we weren’t taking the boat.  We were taking a helicopter!!!!!  Merry Christmas to each and every one of us!  Yay! 

Helicopter 1

The Hubs and I had been to the Reef a few years ago but we had never taken a helicopter.  This meant that I would finally get to see the heart shaped reef from the air that is pictured on pretty much every photo you will ever see of the Great Barrier Reef.  You can really only see it from the air and now I was getting the chance!

Reef 2

When we arrived at the heliport our pilot informed us that only one of the six of us could sit in the front seat with uninterrupted views of the Reef below.  Well, guess whose hand shot up the fastest?  I guess it was only fair since I was also the only one with a camera.  On a side note, I had asked the Hubs if I should even bother with the DSLR since we were going to the Reef where it obviously would not cope under water.  He was adamant that I bring it (should have been clue #1). 

As we took off from the heliport we were treated with the most amazing views of the islands.  There is just something about a green mound of trees on sand in the middle of aqua waters that gets me every time!

View from Heli

View from Heli 2

View from Heli 3

Not long after we took off we soared over Whitehaven Beach. Whitehaven Beach gets its name because of the whiteness of the sand.  It is made up of silica which gives it a bright white color.  You can actually polish your jewelry in that sand.  I visited the beach way back in 2004 when I was studying abroad and the sand was so soft and so white.  It is what dreams of paradise are made of.

 Whitehaven Beach 2

At the north end of Whitehaven Beach the shifting tides creates these beautiful swirls of blue colors.  It was absolutely unbelievable to look at from the helicopter.  I snapped practically a million photos!

Whitehaven swirl 

After flying over Whitehaven, we ventured out to sea for about another 20 minutes before finally reaching the reef.  Yay!!!  Of course I have been snorkeling on the Reef before but I had never seen it from the sky!  It was absolutely amazing.

 Reef

And then the time came, we flew over the heart shaped reef.  I went camera crazy! 

Heart Shaped Reef

Can you see the heart?  It is so cool!  No wonder it is one of the seven wonders of the world.

You will notice that the reef looks like a sand color against the water.  Unfortunately this is because the reef is actually dying.  A healthy, live coral reef is vibrant and colorful, which explains why we love snorkeling them so much.  This reef is dying because at low tide the reef is not being covered by water and it cannot live outside of water.  This is due to a lot of factors that I won’t get into here and now but you can Google it. 

Anyway, we finally reached our destination. . . the plontoon we would be snorkeling from.  The helicopter landed on a heliport in the middle of the ocean (I kind of felt like James Bond and had to resist the urge to jump and roll out of the helicopter-probably a good idea).  A boat then picked us up and brought us to the plontoon to meet the other passengers that came over by boat. Now that’s an entrance! 

Snorkel plontoon

Heli 2

We spent the next several hours snorkeling on the reef, eating lunch, lying in the sun and viewing the fish from the multiple viewing platform.  If you want to see any additional photos, you can check out my Google+ album! I’ll leave you with this: Because I had my handy GoPro with me I was able to take this awesome video of the Reef when we were snorkeling.  Enjoy!

Fish 1

Fish 2

 

Readers, have you seen any of the seven wonders of the world?  Would you ever polish your jewelry in sand?  Have you ever had any urges to act like James Bond?   

By Brittany, January 19, 2014
  • 15
15 Comments
  • Kim
    January 19, 2014

    WOW!!! Those pictures are incredible!!!
    I’ve never seen any of the 7 wonders!
    I love that y’all took a helicopter and got to see the views from the sky – they are incredible!!
    My husband has been to the Great Barrier Reef (the first year we were married he had a trip to Australia (without me:()
    Love the photos and your story about it.

  • Kim
    January 19, 2014

    WOW!!! Those pictures are incredible!!!
    I’ve never seen any of the 7 wonders!
    I love that y’all took a helicopter and got to see the views from the sky – they are incredible!!
    My husband has been to the Great Barrier Reef (the first year we were married he had a trip to Australia (without me:()
    Love the photos and your story about it.

  • Danielle @ Fitness Frugalista
    January 19, 2014

    Wow! I love all the pictures. I love the blue ocean and sky! Gorgeous!

    I have never seen any of the 7 wonders 🙁 Hopefully that will change eventually. I maybe* would polish my jewelry in the sand, just for tourist reasons!

    I never had any urges to act like James bond, but I’ve also never really had any good chances 🙂

  • Danielle @ Fitness Frugalista
    January 19, 2014

    Wow! I love all the pictures. I love the blue ocean and sky! Gorgeous!

    I have never seen any of the 7 wonders 🙁 Hopefully that will change eventually. I maybe* would polish my jewelry in the sand, just for tourist reasons!

    I never had any urges to act like James bond, but I’ve also never really had any good chances 🙂

  • Davida @ The Healthy Maven
    January 20, 2014

    Incredible!!! I would have been freaking when the heli landed in the middle of the ocean. Googling the 7 wonders of the world (I can’t remember them ah!) to see if I’ve been to any of them. Seeing as I am not so well travelled my guess is no…

  • Nicole @ Foodie Loves Fitness
    January 20, 2014

    Sounds & looks like one AMAZING day!!! What an awesome surprise from your hubby! I would love to get here one day.

  • Tara
    January 20, 2014

    SO JEALOUS!

    I had to google what the seven wonders of the world were and there are so many lists! I guess out of the Wiki page, I have seen the Great Wall of China and Golden Gate Bridge.

    My ultimate goal is to see the Aurora Borealis one day!

    • FitBritt
      January 21, 2014

      I know there are a few! I guess I should clarify that the Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven *natural* wonders. Anyway, GGB and Great Wall of China are two huge ones! Aurora Borealis looks amazing (had to google that one). If you ever see that I expect lots and lots of photos!

  • Carla
    January 20, 2014

    How incredibly beautiful! Those views are amazing! I had no idea that sand really got that white. I’d never seen the heart reef before. It is cool!

    • FitBritt
      January 21, 2014

      It’s almost blindingly white! The heart shaped reef is pretty amazing. It is literally just in the middle of the ocean.

  • Joi @ Rx Fitness Lady
    January 21, 2014

    This is so amazing. The photos are excellent. The snorkeling looks fun. I like the song you chose for the video. Don’t my asking; Who’s the artist and what’s the name of it.

    Glad you all such a wonderful time and you took time to record so you could share it with us!

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