Location: Hayman Island, Whitsunday's, Australia

So today was probably the best day ever. I’m not joking like ever. It was the long-anticipated Great Barrier Reef dive day, and it was just as beautiful as wed all hoped it would be. Watch team 3 started off the day very early, at 5 am, to get us to Hooks Reef safely, where we hung out for most of the day. Dive group 1 (my dive group) jumped in the water to start our first dive, led by our fearless leader, Ben. We descend to begin our dive, and what do you know, there are three HUMPBACK WHALES like 30 feet from us!! There was a big one that was about half the size of the boat, a medium-sized one that was a little smaller, and a little baby!! They just swam right past us as we just sat there in awe. It was the single most amazing thing that I have ever seen. Still a little in shock, we continued on our dive and had a wonderful time with lots of bright coral and pretty fishies! The next dive was a little later, and the very first thing we saw when we got down, there was a sea turtle! I followed that thing like it was my JOB and got close enough to touch it, but of course, didn’t! Then, as we were swimming along, we just happened to see a Devil Ray, which at the time we thought was a Manta Ray, with a little baby shark swimming under it. I may or may not have cried tears of joy.

The third dive became a joke. What cool things would dive group 1 see this time? The good ol’ GBR didn’t disappoint. Before we even descended, we looked down and saw a three-foot Black Tip Reef Shark! We descended as fast as we could safely (don’t worry, Mom) to chase it, but he left pretty quickly (probably because I was squealing like a little kid in a candy shop). We continued on our merry way drifting along a wall on the edge of the reef, all the while listening to the whales singing. It was pretty majestic. Just when we thought that our dive luck had run out, we saw something from out of the blue in the distance.

What is that thing? Oh, it’s another shark!! This one was a Gray Reef Shark a little over four feet long! This guy was a lot less skittish and came fairly close to us before swimming off to do more sharky things. After we finished diving, we began the three-hour trek back to our anchorage, which I spent in a hammock with Eric helming and Sully playing the guitar and singing. It was the perfect way to end the day! I’m, of course, ignoring the fact that we went back and had to take an exam. No one wants to hear about that. You all want to hear about WHALES! And there were a ton of them! Just jumping around and breaching, and we got to see them. We saw like a billion of them. It was spectacular.