Guiding Us Home
Rebecca Mannor, Division 1, 5th grade

The sky overhead was of the most brilliant blue I had ever seen. Not a wisp of cloud, or a bird flying by to blemish it. Tentatively stepping down the ladder of the pontoon, the cool water lapped at my feet and to my delightful surprise, a bright yellow fish darted out of the clear water towards my direction. Startled, nervousness came over me along with a flutter of excitement. When I realized the fish was not going to hurt me, I plunged into the water, flippers first. The air around was cool and the breeze made me shiver. I cleared my mask and placed it on my face. It was tight and uncomfortable, but kept the water out. Submerging my head and peering around, a vibrant world of colors unfolded and welcomed me with a wet embrace.

Gazing in amazement, I saw a multitude of different fish, some dashing by while others calmly taking their time. None seemed to be petrified by my presence. With the warm sun on my back, I looked in every direction as I floated aimlessly, taking it all in. I only recognized some of the creatures such as giant clams, sea turtles, clownfish, and brain coral. I had never seen fish this close before. The harmony of the colors was majestic and took my breath completely away. The proximity allowed me to reach out and almost touch these sea dwellers. Dappled light flickered over the underwater scene and illuminated the fish around me. As they quickly moved and changed directions, sunlight gleamed off their silvery, scaled bodies. Drifting along, the school of fish seemed to be swaying with the ocean currents. 

As if someone was granting my wishes, a sea turtle gracefully glided by me. Hearing my breathing in the snorkel, I reached out to my mother, frantically getting her attention to this amazing creature. We gave each other the thumbs up sign. Sadly, it was time to get back onto the boat. My family and I compared what each of us had seen, chuckling excitedly. The salty water on my skin brought shivers and I wrapped a warm towel around me. As we were leaving, I waved goodbye to The Great Barrier Reef that I would be missing. This had been the best experience of my life and I hoped to return to this incredible spot one day. On the way back to the shore, someone exclaimed and pointed to the water. Everyone looked in wonder as four huge humpback whales came into view. They swam along side our boat all the way back to the dock. To this day, I still remember my first encounter with the whales and I believe that they were guiding us safely to the harbor. 
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