Recap of My Unseen Travel Experience

When I posted my first blog for this adventure I mentioned I would go into a little more detail about my time on Lady Elliot Island.
This trip, and rare opportunity, would not have been possible without Guide Dogs NSW/ACT and their Unseen Travel Award. The key objective of this award is to provide the vision-impaired award recipients with an opportunity to fulfill their dream holiday. Whether that be experiencing a big city for a few days, going on a student exchange to Europe, or snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef, this award makes the adventure become a reality.

Without a doubt these adventures certainly can’t happen without the support of family and friends to assist you on the journey. For example, I’ve backpacked on my own all over the World, but there is no way I could experience the Great Barrier Reef the way I have unless I have assistance. My friend Jordan wanted to see the reef just as much as I did, and didn’t hesitate for a second in coming along to help me out.
Apart from the standard guiding me at night time (I am night-blind), collecting my plate/cutlery at the buffet restaurant, and pointing out where the (Male!) bathroom is, Jordan would also lend his shoulder as we walked over rocky reefs, steered me clear of undulating coral along the reef’s ridge, forever checking that I was able to see him where ever we were snorkeling, and pointed my eyes in line of sight of turtles, sharks, and Manta Rays when they all swam nearby so I didn’t miss out. Without these kind of generous and compassionate friends and family these adventures would just remain pipe-dreams..

If I can share one thing I have learnt from my recent travel experience, it is that EVERYONE deserves to travel, whether you have a disability or not. Sometimes you just need a little help and perseverance🙂

Do whatever it takes to embark on your own Unseen Travel Adventure!

Day 4 of Jono’s Reef Adventure

All good things must come to an end…

This morning Jordan and I made sure we got up early (5am) to catch the island sunrise. It wasn’t what we’d pictured, clear crisp skies with the darkness quickly changing to lightness, it was much more than that. I remember my Uncle Tim telling me that the best sunrises over water are the ones when its overcast with broken cloud cover, the lifting light refracting through the breaks in the sky, mirroring off the smooth morning sea. This is exactly what we got, more than what the sun could have provided on its solemn own. (check out the sunrise picture in my blog)

We then set off on a walk around the island, over the rocky coral sand, passing freshly made turtle trails, until we managed to stumble across a turtle in the process of laying and burying her eggs in the nest she had spent hours crafting out of the sand. We spent 30mins watching her meticulously build her nest before edging her way back across the sand and over the rocky coral back into the lagoon – surreal experience, and classic case of being in the right place at the right time.

This was a sign of things to come for the rest of the day. Our last snorkeling session from Shark Bay up along Coral Gardens provided us with more shark and turtle sightings than we’d had over the previous 3 days, This tropical oasis taking my breath away one last time🙂

Although our 4 days at Lady Elliot Island have come to an end, and its now time for us to head back to reality on the mainland, we haven’t wasted a minute of our time here and are both very exhausted from the overload of snorkeling, hot sun, and limitless food. I have no doubt there will be a next time🙂

~ In the world through which I travel I am endlessly creating myself ~

Day 3 of Jono’s Reef Adventure

There is only so much you can do on a remote island, but that doesn’t mean we can’t see something new each day🙂

Day3 was filled with more Manta Ray sightings, turtles foraging, and sharks sleeping. Four of us set out for an early morning snorkel at Shark Bay, hoping to catch a glimpse of these important sea creatures. According to Jordan, the best sighting was when a small shark was nipping at my fins behind me for a minute or so, and I didn’t even know..! It seems like there has been an abundance of marine life swimming very close to me (always without me knowing) probably because I am so relaxed in their presence (again, because I can’t see them there..!).

Jordan and I snorkeled again after lunch in the Coral Lagoon. The clarity in the lagoon is incredible as it is very shallow, with plenty of sunlight – perfect for a vision impaired person like me🙂 It was during this snorkel that we experienced a turtle up-close-and-personal, scratching its belly and cleaning barnacles from its shell. A short time later Jordan grabbed my wrist and swam us to where he had spotted a sleeping Sting Ray, or was it a Manta Ray?! It was awesome either way!

To round out the day we watched what will be our final Lady Elliot Island sunset – absolutely spectacular again🙂

One final day tomorrow before heading back to reality… Time to say goodbye to heaven in the sea😦

~ In the world through which I travel I am endlessly creating myself ~