The number of snorkelers drop like flies today. Yes, the wind and rain picked up over night and the water looks choppy, but a little rain never hurt anyone. Well, that's what six of us (a.k.a Team Adventure) think….until the boat ride.
Disney has some pretty good logic – life is better under the sea! There’s so much life to observe living underneath the clear water encapsulating the Great Barrier Reef. Without stepping foot in the water you can encounter stingrays, sharks, turtles, dolphins, and a variety of birds that add so much to the atmosphere (mainly, their nonstop chatter and guano). But when you take one peak under the surface, you find a world unimaginable, and much of it is unknown.
By this point in the blog we’ve established several things. First, yes, it is hard for C of I (or Idaho for that matter) to beat a “winter experience” of being on a remote island in the Great Barrier Reef. In fact, I’d take suffering through 30 minutes of lecture in an extremely air conditioned classroom on an island any day over a regular lecture at home (Note: Dr. Mark Gunderson’s lecture last longer than the scheduled 30 minute period so we’re not getting off that easily).
It is our fourth day on Heron Island and I still can’t get over how amazing it is. There are beautiful sandy beaches and the water is so perfectly blue. The island is only about a mile around, but there is plenty to see! On the island, there are trees and birds everywhere. In the daytime, it is a beautiful sound…but when nighttime rolls around and the shearwaters move in, the air is filled with sounds that resemble a combination of small children whining and wolves howling. Seriously. They make these awful sounds all night and wake you up at the crack of dawn!
I think we have arrived in paradise. Literally, that is what I thought when I stepped off the catamaran and onto the dock of Heron Island yesterday afternoon. I am sure my classmates felt the same way. If the two hour boat ride with views of sea turtles, jellies, and sea birds wasn't enough to get environmental science and biology students excited, then the first snorkel within hours of arriving most definitely was.
We boarded the bus at 8:00 a.m. and began down the road. Yesterday the bus got stuck in the sand, but it rained during the night. This should make the roads firmer, but I could still bury my feet in them very easily. The bus was barreling along blasting songs by Taylor Swift and other artists I will not name. While many of our ears were bleeding, we were also bounced up and down and rocked around. Imagine four-wheeling in a great big bus. Our driver, Lee, is a young fellow who has been working as a tour guide on Fraser for about a month.