Waking up at 4 AM does NOT tickle my fancy UNLESS it is to snorkel at The Great Barrier Reef, then I’m all for it. To save $300 a person, we drove the three hours from Mooloolaba to Hervey Bay to catch our seaplane over to Lady Elliot Island. After a short introduction while sipping a pretty tropical drink, we were fitted for our scuba gear, practicing in the pool, and hopping on the glass-bottom boat where we were lucky enough to see a huge manta ray and dolphins. Our snorkel in the ocean was filled with turtle (even “petted” a few), sea cucumber, shark, schools of fish, and jellyfish encounters. Definitely a day to remember for a lifetime.
Landing back in Hervey Bay after an incredible day spent at Lady Elliot Island and the Great Barrier Reef, we wanted more amazing animal interactions so we drove to Mon Repos to witness the beautiful miracle of a loggerhead turtle giving birth. Luckily we were rewarded for our month early booking and placed in viewing group #2. After waiting a reasonable hour and half in the rain, our turtle had officially crawled onto shore and was beginning to nest. If 40+ people watching her give birth to 125 eggs wasn’t enough to make the experience awful, boy did she make it difficult for herself: climbing over rocks, head right into the sand bank, and tangled in roots and grass. Poor, tired girl. After she retreated to the ocean, our group was able to help move her nest of eggs off the dangerously low sandbank onto a safer, higher one. Yes, we personally helped save a portion of the turtle population that night. 🙂 Two hours later at 10:30 pm we were headed back to the car (groups 4 and 5 were still waiting for a turtle), driving back to Mooloolaba, staying awake with endless supplies of sugar, chips, pop, and Red Bull. Parents second day in Australia considered a success.