#GWDownUnder Day 2: The Great Barrier Reef

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G'day, mates! Today the team was afforded the experience of a lifetime as we swam and snorkeled at the incredible Great Barrier Reef - the world's largest coral reef system at the edge of Australia's Continental Shelf that stretches roughly the equivalent from New York to Florida. We could not have asked for a more perfect day as the sky was clear, the sun was plentiful and the water was calm and crystal blue.

The team met our tour guide Leslie at the Marlin Jetty Marina and rode on a three-story catamaran named Reef Magic III for an hour and a half until we reached the Outer Barrier Reef. Once we arrived we transferred to a floating platform, put on wet suits, grabbed snorkels and flippers and hit the stunning water.

Throughout the day members of the team also got the chance to experience two other activities - a semi-submersible tour of the extraordinary Reef that provided an under water look and a glass bottom boat tour with an observatory for coral and fish viewing. Some were even lucky enough to see sharks and turtles throughout the tours.

Everyone took a break mid-way through the afternoon to enjoy a tropical buffet lunch on the platform and some sunbathing, highlighted by reapplying of sunscreen! In addition to swimming and snorkeling with several types, shapes and sizes of fish and the beautiful coral reef, the team also enjoyed a fish-feeding session from in the water as well as from a viewing platform.

In the evening everyone went off to have dinner and explore Cairns at their leisure. Tomorrow we will complete a community service project at Harald's House in Cairns, then depart for Barron River Rafting in the afternoon for a white water rafting excursion.

Be sure to flip through The Great Barrier Reef photo gallery!

"Being on the boat and in the beautiful water today was awesome. It's great to see an entirely different part of the world and what it has to offer. The Great Barrier Reef was a really amazing experience and it really opened my eyes to what is out there. I am definitely looking forward to the rest of the trip and learning about Australian culture, especially seeing a kangaroo because I have never seen one before." - Cassidy Shollenberger, Freshman

"Being here is incredible and it is nothing like I expected. I was naïve about Austrlia and have learned so much already. The boat with the glass bottom was incredible; I have never seen anything like that. Our tour guide was so helpful and even pointed out a shark. It was scary and awesome at the same time because we knew we were protected." - Jordy Bathras, Senior

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