The first time I went to Lady Musgrave Island, on the Great Barrier Reef, I was three weeks old. My dad was competing in the Australian Scuba Diving Championships, so it was only natural that I went along on the boat too. It was the place where my love of the reef and ocean began, so it seems almost fitting that almost 30 years to the day, I returned to Lady Musgrave Island on a day tour to snorkel and hang out with the fish.
While I don’t remember my first outing to the Great Barrier Reef, I surely remember some of the other milestones lived out in this natural wonder of the world. I remember the first time I went snorkelling at five years old. Mum and Dad were on either side of me, holding my hands, and we leapt of the edge of the dive boat and plunged into the water. It was dark, but after a moment I adjusted and could make out the dark shapes of thousands of little bait fish swimming around us in a tight circle. I remember the first time I ever went spear fishing. I was so excited to spear my first fish, a docile Coral Trout that had sat there looking at me, while I lined it up. Later that night we cooked the fish up on our fire on the beach at Manta-ray Bay on Hook Island in the Whitsundays. Most of my weekends and school holidays from as early as I can remember until I was 14 years-old, were spent out on the beautiful Great Barrier Reef. And after the two-hour boat ride from the town of 1770, I walked out on to the pontoon and knew I’d arrived back home.