My astonishing trip to the Great Barrier Reef Posted by Jemma Craig - 25 July 2016 Jemma Craig’s connection to the Great Barrier Reef began before she was born. Her Grandfather, a crocodile hunter moved his young family to Green Island in the 70s and established a marine and crocodile park. It is here, on this small island, situated on the Great Barrier Reef that Jemma grew up. As Jemma puts it, “I swam before I could walk.” With this came a childhood spent exploring, diving and learning as much as she possibly could about the reef. Something she has continued into adulthood. A self-proclaimed ’Reef junkie’ Jemma has a hunger to see as much of the reef as she can: “I’ve seen things beyond most people’s wildest dreams… and one thing it has given me out of anything else, is a desire to see more.” It’s with this enthusiasm for experiencing the reef in new ways that led Jemma to visit Hamilton Island and she shares her experience with us: "When you hear of the Great Barrier Reef, some of the first places to come to mind are the Whitsundays and Hamilton Island, so I knew I needed to come and explore the reef from this location. It was also getting the opportunity to see the astonishing Whitehaven Beach and the iconic Heart Reef, which are both unique to this region that made me want to come even more. The stand out highlight for the whole visit was the helicopter trip and day out on the reef. I would recommend to anyone: if you've never been in a helicopter over the Great Barrier Reef, do it today, it will blow your mind! Flying over the Great Barrier Reef was an astonishing moment! The vastness and structure of the Barrier Reef from the air is like nothing I've ever seen, with huge scattered walls and giant gullies, and blue turquoise water shimmering in the sunlight. As part of our tour the helicopter landed on a pontoon at Reefworld and we were able to get out and snorkel. It felt surreal to have just seen this amazing living organism from the air and then to plunge into the water and be immersed in the reef. It was really something else. Snorkel time. So much to take in as we plunge into the water. Photos by Jemma Craig. The first thing to strike me was the colour. So much light and so much intensity. There were sunbeams, filtering down through the surface of the crystal water as we snorkeled hitting the corals - Reds, purples, yellows, all different shapes and sizes, literally blooming under the water. I absolutely loved being in the water. The stunning creatures of the Great Barrier Reef. Clams and Clownfish. Photos by Jemma Craig. I also got to take in the stunning sights of Whitehaven Beach, as we flew back from our snorkel. Seeing the Hill Inlet, with the crystal clear blue water, swirled with the pure white silica sand was astonishing. Flying over Whitehaven Beach. Photo by Jemma Craig. Back on the island it was a chance for me to continue exploring a part of the world I hadn’t seen before. I loved the beaches on Hamilton Island, the sunsets, the fresh air, the beautiful food, the activities and adventure. I loved it all! There was so much to see and do. I enjoyed time at Catseye Beach, sunsets at One Tree Hill and time at the marina. The view from the Reef View Hotel. Hiring a golf buggy for the day was a unique experience. Not only does it help you get around, quick and easily at your own pace and, on your own schedule, it was also a lot of fun! My favorite meals were at coca chu and Bommie restaurant. coca chu is best described as a modern Asian restaurant with an incredible mix of spice and flavor. At Bommie Restaurant it was all about the stunning setting and sophisticated menu. A very luxurious experience and one I won’t forget anytime soon. Dinner is served at coca chu. The whole visit was an indulgence. From the moment I arrived and got off the plane, everyone was so friendly and helpful, the landscape and activities spoke for themselves and the food was a delight. I will definitely be back!" Seeing Heart Reef by air. Photo by Jemma Craig. About the Author Jemma Craig specialises in underwater, ocean and travel content (photos and video) and social media. Her life passions are scuba diving, photography and travel/adventure blogging. You can see her stunning work here.