Great Barrier Reef: Heron Island

DSCN1422Remember when I visited Australia, got halfway through posting photos, then disappeared for awhile all distracted by my full time job working retail over the holidays?  It’s time to get caught up.  Over the next few weeks, every Friday I’ll be sharing the rest of my travel photos from the epic Australian journey.

Heron Island is actually quite difficult to describe.  It’s one of those surreal Discovery Channel beauty type of places that just saying “It was so beautiful” doesn’t even scratch the surface of how I really felt.  The skies are the purest blue of blues and the ocean looks as if a turquoise diamond has melted over the reefs.  This island is located on the Southern end of the Great Barrier Reef so the coral is mostly browns and neutrals with a few great pops of color.  The bright colorful coral is more North where the water is warmer.

One of the fantastically fun things about Heron Island in particular is that during low tide, you can walk a good mile from shore and only be up to thigh deep water.  It’s such a remarkably unique way to visit the reef!  We were able to spot tons of sea life just during these walks alone.  Bright blue starfish, neon lipped clams, sea cucumbers everywhere, and we were even lucky enough to spot a sea turtle both times we did a reef walk.  You’re literally in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, surrounded by wildlife.  From birds to sharks, you’ll have some form of wildlife in sight at all times.

This Island is known for its sea turtle activity.  While we visited in October, the sea turtles were in mating season.  We witnessed quite a bit of sea turtle love and saw evidence of the females coming to shore for a little rest.  Apparently, the males practically drown the females while, you know, getting busy so the ladies need a break.  A sea turtle cigarette so to speak.  At other times during the year, visitors can witness the entire sea turtle life cycle.  I would have died to see the baby turtles!  Next time, I suppose.DSCN1494DSCN1579DSCN1470DSCN1407DSCN1545DSCN1359DSCN1534DSCN1502DSCN1454DSCN1393DSCN1375DSCN1361DSCN1726DSCN1356DSCN1605DSCN1432

 

Fun fact: Heron Island was named after these birds above but they’re actually Egrets!

To plan your visit to Heron Island, click here.

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LookBook: Walk Around Heron Island

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After arriving on Heron Island by seaplane, we grabbed a quick bite to eat and immediately went for a walk around the island.  It’s such a tiny place you could easily do it in 20 minutes at a brisk pace.  It was amazing to see absolutely no other signs of land from any point.  Just in that short walk, we encountered sting rays, sharks, a couple sea turtles, and lots and lots of birds.  If you’re afraid of birds even a little bit, this island would be your nightmare.  The ocean views were just breathtaking!  We spent a lot of time with our toes in the sand.  Actually, it’s not even the type of sand we are used to on the beach!  Heron Island is a coral cay.  So that means the island is formed by tiny bits of crushed coral.  Such an unique experience!

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Romper: Young, Fabulous, and Broke ‘Malik’ (Similar & Similar), Sunglasses: Ralph Lauren (Similar), Sandals: Havaianas
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Sunrise Over Tokoriki

DSCN0560The sunrise from the top of Tokoriki Island was hands down one of the most beautiful sunrises I have ever experienced.  The orangey-pink skies were some of my favorite colors hovering over my newest favorite place.  It’s really hard to describe the beauty.  The way up there was quite a steep hike and at 5:15 am, it’s somehow even more difficult.  I almost passed up the opportunity to see this for a little extra snooze time but I’m so happy I peeled myself out of bed!  It was just the most stunning and romantic experience!

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Flowers From My Garden

imageOn my days off work, I love hanging with my flowers in my little garden.  Since I’m just renting and want to take my flowers with me when it’s time to go, it has turned into my little potted piece of paradise.  I’ve been getting lots of bug visitors lately though.  Viva spider season!  I saw this green one catch a fly and a bee out of mid air!  Freaky much?  Um, Yes!

Here’s a little sampling of some of the flowers I’m growing currently.

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I Got To Feed A Buffalo – Olympic Game Farm

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For all the years I’ve been heading to Washington to visit family, I can’t believe I (the super duper animal lover) was the  only one in my family not to visit the Olympic Game Farm.  Not only is there a pretty incredible variety of animals in this little park, you can feed them while driving your car through it!  Hello!  This is a Chelsea dream come true!  Have you ever gotten to feed a Yak?  Or a buffalo?  How about a BABY buffalo?!  I knew I was in for a treat when the attendant tells you to “just keep moving” when you get to the Elk/Buffalo enclosure.  And let me tell you, those Elk are just as tall as our Suburban!

I had the pleasure of going in the Spring after all sorts of babies had been born.  I mean, come on!  All baby animals are just plain cute.  A lot of these animals are rescued from bad situations which makes me extra happy to see them roaming this beautiful place.  Many of the bears are retired from show business and will sit back and give you a little wave for their treat too.  Talk about cuteness overload!  If only we could hug them…

For more information on this super fun game farm, head on over to their website here.  My only recommendation is… get a car wash soon after.  Hehehe.

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DSC_0143 Hungry Deer!

I've never had a deer so happy to see me!

I’ve never had a deer so happy to see me!

Bear Yoga

Bear Yoga

Baby llama sleeping in the grass

Baby llama sleeping in the grass

Hungry buffalo!!  I couldn't believe they walked right up to our cars!

Hungry buffalo!! I couldn’t believe they walked right up to our car!

Uh oh.  There's a yak in the road...

Uh oh. There’s a yak in the road…

Hungry yak!  Look at those teeth!  He has a bit of an underbite going on there...

Hungry yak! Look at those teeth! He has a bit of an underbite going on there…

Isn't this the sweetest face?!

Isn’t this the sweetest face?!

This guy trotted after us as we drove away!

This guy trotted after us as we drove away!

Uh oh.  Another yak on the road...

Uh oh. Another yak on the road…

Home on the range.  Not a bad place to be living.

Home on the range. Not a bad place to be living.

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Clam Digging in Washington

Clamming

That’s right, my friends.  I went digging for clams in Washington.  Over our Thanksgiving trip, Tyler’s family suggested a camping adventure to Pacific Beach to dig for razor clams.  I’m game to try anything once but got a little freaked out after looking at the weather report.  It kept warning of an “Arctic Invasion” (“Killer Snowflakes!”  My mom exclaimed) and the thought of battling almost freezing temperatures with high winds and rain while clomping through the wave edge looking for razor clam holes was not as appealing as I originally thought.  We totally lucked out though.  When the tide was low, the weather broke and we had an absolutely great time.  I was shocked how fun it really was!  That was until we got to the cleaning the clams part…  I’ll spare you the details.

P.S. – I wore this look when I went to get my clamming license at Sportman’s Warehouse.  I don’t think they believed me that I was actually going to use it…

 

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Hawaiian Sunset Montage

Sunrise in Oahu

As a finale to my Hawaiian adventure, I’ve compiled all the beautiful sunset/sunrise shots from throughout the trip.  I never really did get used to the time change so I was up by 6 am and usually passed out embarrassingly early every day.  I actually liked it because I got to see both the sunset and sunrise!  I’m everything a morning person is not so I can’t remember the last time I saw a sunrise!  I have to say… I kind of like them!!

Thanks for following me on my Hawaiian Adventure!  We have a few other trips in the works and I can’t wait to share more details with you when everything gets nailed down.  Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter (@WanderingHeels) for all the details!

Sunset in Hawaii

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Ocean sunetHawaiian SkySunrise over a mountainSunset at the KahalaSunset at the north shore