Day 7 - one last exciting mission!

Day 7 - Andy saluting

Sadly today was the last day of the expedition. But we discovered this morning that we are going on one last exciting mission- a snorkeling trip to the other side of the island! We had breakfast, got the boat organized (Glaucus- the middle-sized boat) and got our wetsuits and snorkel gear on. James sped us to the spot, and I mean sped us: 70km per hour was our top speed! Even at that speed, I noticed some birds overtaking us- wow! We had to pass through a sand bar to get to the location and things got real pretty quickly when we approached it. Life jackets went on and James told us to hold on tightly. He even said that he might 'bail out' (not continue) at any minute if it got too shallow. Getting across was like going on a roller coaster with water flying everywhere and people hooting and laughing and occasionally screaming like curlews!

We made it though and arrived at the snorkel spot. It was called 'Manta Rock' because manta rays hang out there. Manta rays are beautiful gentle creatures that look like giant flying carpets, in the shape of black and white sting rays (although they don't have stings, or scary teeth!). They can be as wide as a bus! It was a beautiful snorkel with clear water. We could see scuba divers many metres below us on the ocean floor. Although we didn't see any mantas, it was a very special time for all of us.

We then cruised to another snorkel spot which was 5km off shore which seemed like a loooong way out! On the way we had a stunning experience- we saw a dolphin mother and calf swimming peacefully through the blue waters. They were a rarer type of dolphin than the bottle-nosed ones you often see. A couple of us slipped into the water and had a little swim with them. My whole body felt so alive! After this we sped home, packed to leave and then we received one last special surprise. James the professor In charge of the expedition, invited us into his catamaran for one last sail- all the way back to Brisbane! Jillian (another expedition participant) and I spent a happy couple of hours sailing through the bay that we had spent so many hours studying. I've gotta say- sailing on a 40ft catamaran on top of the water beats jumping into the murky depths anytime! It was so special- thanks James. I have had such an amazing time on this expedition.

I've learned so much about a very special but vulnerable place in Australia, I've met very interesting people who have astonished me with their kindness, knowledge and passion for teaching and learning. I've faced my fears and seen animals that o never thought I'd get to see. It really was the trip of a lifetime for me and I can't wait to start sharing the ideas that have come from all the things I have experienced on this trip, to my class this year and the classes that will come after that. Oh- and thank you for reading my blog!!

Day 7 - tree lit up with triangle

Listen to Grow Do It by Formidable Vegetable Sound System http://formidablevegetable.com.au/

Day 7 - Andy talking to camera with triangle