A Bison Abroad | The Great Barrier Reef Checked Off My Bucket List

When I was younger, I used to think about Australia and the Great

THE SPECTRUM | Payton Mark
The look out above Whitehaven beach, which is different each day.

Barrier Reef always came to mind. I knew that I couldn’t leave Australia without seeing some part of it.

So, I went on a three-day, two-night sailing adventure around the popular Whitsunday Islands which are off the Airlie Beach. Every day we got to snorkel a different part of the inner Great Barrier Reef, and each place was unique in its own way. One had beautiful coral, the other had an abundance of fish such as rainbow fish and bat fish and the last one had many sea shells that I could take back with me.

The visibility was not as great as it normally would have been since a cyclone had hit there just about a month before we went. Still, I was so glad that I did this because the Great Barrier Reef has always been on my bucket list along with spending the night on a boat.

The famous beach that I was lucky enough to see was Whitehaven which has some of the world’s finest and whitest sand. There are only five beaches in the world that have this white acrylic sand. The newest “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie had a section filmed on this beach, and NASA used this sand in their Hubble Telescope. This is, by far, my favorite beach I have been to because of the turquoise blue water and the pure white sand.

When we left the beach and were on the smaller boat going to the bigger one, we got to see a baby sea turtle. This was a great surprise because sea turtles are one of my favorite animals.

THE SPECTRUM | Payton Mark
The colorful sunrise over the Whitsunday Islands.

Some of the highlights on this trip for me were the sunrises and sunsets. The first morning we were woken up at 5 a.m. by the pounding of the waves because we were heading to the next location. Since we were up, we took advantage of watching the sunrise which turned out to be one of the most colorful sunrises I’ve ever seen.

Because we were sailing around an area filled with islands, there was always land to look at in the distance which I thought made the views even better. I got to start my day by watching the sun come up and end it with watching the sun go down. This was the best sunset I’ve seen for many reasons. We got to see it on a mini sand island and watch as the sky changed colors, but my favorite part was right before it got dark — you could see the crescent moon.

THE SPECTRUM | Payton Mark
A breathtaking sunset over the ocean with crescent moon peeking out.

That same night we got to see my other favorite kind of animal, a dolphin, swimming around the boat. This was a great ending to an amazing once-in-a-lifetime trip.

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