Reina Tyl, Buckeyes Abroad marketing intern, writes:
The idea of spending all day on a boat approximately 35 miles off the coast of Australia on the Great Barrier Reef is both exciting and intimidating. To make sure you can fully enjoy your trip to the Great Barrier Reef, I have a few tips for you:
1. Take motion sickness medicine. Whether you get queasy from car rides or have never gotten motion sickness in your life, it’s better to be prepared than spend all day feeling sick. Whether you bring some from the U. S., buy some in Port Douglas (from where North Queensland programs depart for the Reef) or buy some on the boat, just be sure take a dose before the boat heads out to sea.
2. Lather on sunscreen. The Australian sun will burn your skin in a heartbeat. Even if you’re a dark complexion, you still need to continue reapplying sunscreen throughout the day to ward off sunburn.
3. Drink plenty of water. Physical activity, time in the sun and motion sickness medicine can all contribute to dehydration, so ensure you’re taking advantage of the bountiful supply of drinking water on board.
4. Pack a sweatshirt. It’s hard to imagine being cold when you’re on a boat in the sun but, without any windbreaks, it can get very breezy. You’ll just have to trust me when I say that wearing a soaking wetsuit in a strong breeze is less than pleasant, and you’ll be eager to put on something warm and cozy.
5. Stay in the water as long as possible. Not only is it warmer in the water than it is in the breeze, but you should take advantage of all of the time you have to see as many different types of fish and coral as you can. Remember that you are experiencing something that only a small portion of the world’s population gets to see firsthand; take advantage of the amazing opportunity you have before you!
6. Have an open mind. To get the most out of your experience you have to be willing to be a little adventurous. If you’ve never been snorkeling before, then don’t be scared. What better place to snorkel for the first time than on the Great Barrier Reef?! The local guides will teach you all the snorkeling skills you need and, before you know it, you’ll be duck-diving down to get a closer look at the coral. Be engaged and keep your eyes open, you never know what you’ll find. My group saw a wobbegong shark on each of our three days out on the Reef, which our expert guides assured us is a very rare occurrence.
Our days out on the Great Barrier Reef were some of my favorite days from the entire program. It truly is an outstanding experience, and being prepared will make it much easier for you to enjoy the time you have out on the Reef.