The time I lived 4 months on a small island in The Great Barrier Reef

Story by: Eliana Lorenzo     Date: 13 March 2022    Image by: Canva

4 minutes reading time Australia

When I was 23 years old, I left Argentina because I wanted to see the world. Sounds a bit crazy, yes. And maybe too ambitious. But when I was a little girl at school, I already knew all the capitals of all the countries in the world, and I spent hours looking at the maps of my geography books. I loved the world even long before I knew it.

So, as I was saying, at the age of 23, I applied for a visa to go to Australia as work and holidaymaker. My goal was to live in nature and to live in places that I had never imagined. Basically, I wanted to dream. I proposed to myself the most beautiful challenges. And the best part is that I made it.
That’s how I found my job on Heron Island, in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef. Following that habit from when I was a child, I opened a map of Australia and sent an email asking for work to each remote island that I found. Until someone answered.

Yes, we are looking for staff at the moment. Are you available to come on Friday on the 2 o’clock boat?

At that very moment, I packed all my stuff. In fact, my few things because everything fit in a backpack.

After 3 days, I arrived at my destination and took the boat. I remember myself picking up a brochure of the island and just couldn’t believe the place that would become my home.

 Great Barrier Reef Island

To the island

The trip was too choppy. I spent the entire hour throwing up my breakfast. I could see giant waves through the windows. Definitely didn’t enjoy it. But as soon as we started to get closer to the island, I almost started crying. I could see the full size of the island from the boat. I thought: “ Am I sure about this? It would be hard not to get too nuts in this small piece of sand”. On the dock, my future co-workers were waiting for me.

That same night I sat on the dock and watched some small sharks passing under my feet. I had never seen sharks in my life before. But I wasn’t afraid of them either. There I knew that my love with the sea had been born.

My life on Heron Island passed between working as a housekeeper in the morning and a tourist in the afternoon. I spent my time snorkeling and watching sunsets. In just 15 minutes I could go around the entire island on a normal walk. You could also find three types of sharks swimming for 10 minutes in its turquoise seas. And you would always have some turtle hanging around with you.

This little life also connected me a lot with the sky. I saw stars like never before, and even a meteor shower like a movie show.

I began to be more observant of my surroundings, and I could see that the same turtles came to every full moon to the edge of the pier. I knew them, I knew they were them. They had the same markings and the same attitude.

Sunrise at the Great Barrier Reef

Sunrise at the Great Barrier Reef

Every day I had an appointment with myself at 6 am. Before going to work, I would have a coffee watching the sunrise, while the sky was filled with birds, and while the world still slept a little longer. I had realized I had the fortune to see the sunrise and sunset both on the same day. And that was pretty close to what happiness means to me. Seeing how the day begins and how it ends is just wonderful.

I also saw giant hundred- years-old tortoises laying eggs on the beach, and months later, with the magical and perfect cycles of Mother Earth, I saw them hatching and running to the sea. I also could see more sharks than ever, ready to eat them.

Nature was everywhere, all the time. And I was able to understand it like never before. And, from that understanding, comes my need and desire to respect it, and try to preserve it.

My visa finally ended and I had to leave that little home in a corner of the world. But I thank that version of me that took me to this island and where I realized that nature is simply perfect.

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