I’ve mentioned a few times that my husband is a huge fish. He will literally jump into any body of water, regardless of temperature, and on our honeymoon, we checked off a bucket list item for him: dive the great barrier reef. As mentioned earlier, Steve planned our entire honeymoon, and as a result, he came up with numerous ways for us to immerse ourselves in the world’s largest reef system. First up, a helicopter ride.
I had never been in a helicopter and as always, I was the nervous one. Skysafari Port Douglas (no longer in business unfortunately!) picked us up from our hotel and drove us to their helipad. Our pilot walked us through the safety procedures and we signed the typical waivers as with any adventure. The plan for the day was to head up over the reef, land on an uninhabited island, picnic, snorkel, and then head back, completing our half day of adventure. Snug in the backseat with my headset on, throwing out cliches like “alpha, niner!” to cut through my own nervous tension, we were off. Taking off in a helicopter was the smoothest, most incredible experience. A ride in a chopper is just beyond words, you don’t even feel like you’re flying, you’re floating.
From the air, we tried to spot fish from above and just take it all in. The views were spectacular! To see such beauty from above was incredible, and knowing my husband, I knew he couldn’t wait to literally dive in. Unfortunately, which turned out to be a serendipitous event, we could not land on the island in the reef as previously mentioned, so instead, we landed on a beach in the Daintree Rain Forest, which was pretty hard to beat. We had a picnic, some beers, and a snorkel, our first time really in the Great Barrier Reef. Our pilot was awesome, and because he thought we were fun Americans, he gave us some extra time in the air above the reef and above the Daintree. The people in Australia are just wonderful, and it felt like we knew the guy for years. It is always nice when you’re on a private tour to really get along with your guide, and it was as if we had made a fast friend. The American and Australian cultures have so many similarities, and the people really put us at ease there. Especially calming my nerves around take off!
I still couldn’t believe we had gone up in a helicopter, and after such a smooth and incredible ride, I swear all I talked about for days was learning to fly one (the dream’s not dead!). It was such a memorable experience, and I cannot imagine leaving this out of our Australian experience. To be fair, it was expensive (~$1000) but can you put a price tag on making those kinds of memories? Sometimes, you just have to go for it, “yolo”.