Lady Elliot Island: The Place of my Wildest Dreams

The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper – William Butler Yeats

I already grew up on an Island in the Great Barrier Reef. I did it… but even I can’t help but feel envious of the people who get to experience the magic of Lady Elliot Island every day.

I find it hard to breathe sometimes. A lot of my life is spent breathing through scuba cylinders or snorkels or not breathing at all while free-diving the reef. There are two moments in my life when I came close to drowning, but that’s another story. Sometimes I get so excited I find it hard to breathe. Do you know the feeling i’m talking about? It fills up your chest, your hands start to shake, your head gets cold, you get shivers through your body and you want to laugh out loud for no reason, but you can’t because you have to catch your breath first. It’s a feeling I closely link with my childhood, because I feel so elated, I feel like I could sing and dance without a care in the world. I have no problems, only childlike wonder and bliss. It is my most favorite feeling in the world, and I’m blessed with the opportunity to experience things in my life that make me feel this way fairly regularly.

Lady Elliot Island is like a place directly out of my dreams, catering exactly for my every imagination. It’s as if the Island itself is speaking to me, through a sunset or the sound of the waves on the sand or the inviting colour of the water. The first thing I did when I stepped off the plane was get in the ocean. The water is crystal, the corals are healthy and there is an overwhelming abundance of marine life. Three Manta Rays were waiting to greet me, I could hardly keep up but if you go there, you’ll find the Island has a weird way of showing you things. Follow the Manta Rays, and they will lead you to the huge, ancient looking Loggerhead Turtle with barnacles growing all over his shell. Listen to the Loggerhead, and he will tell you how to get to the school of seventeen giant Eagle Rays, dancing across the sea floor. Through the dancing wings you will spy the Shovel-nose Ray, she will point the way to the school of Big-Eye Trevally, who will spell the location of the band of shiny reef squid, with their tentacles will tell you how to find sleeping Green Turtle neighborhood. When you’ve just about had enough you will go to get out of the water as the sun is setting and almost step on the expertly camouflaged Tasselled Wobbegong shark sitting in half a meter of water off the main beach. You must understand – this place is MAGIC; and you will find it… all you need to do is listen.

I met a man here, who had been listening for a very long time. He doesn’t realize how much of a fan of his I am now, but he was one of those real life heroes you only meet very few times in your life. His name is Peter Gash, he took over the Lady Elliot Island Resort in 1990 after operating the airport on the Island for a number of years. He and his wife Julie have turned Lady Elliot Island Resort into an environmentally sustainable, Eco-friendly island paradise. No really, he was telling us how he converted to solar electricity systems which essentially paid for itself in the space of two years. There are re-vegetation programs set up on the island, but the stand out for me is when Peter talked about the plastic bottle ban they imposed on Lady Elliot Island a few years prior. He was talking to us over dinner one night, after he welcomed everyone to join him – the film crew and I, island staff, resort guests, friends and strangers alike. He was talking about a symbiotic relationship between humans and the environment, about how if he looked after mother nature, she would provide and look after him in return. He applies the same principle to his colleagues and friends. If you look after your staff, they will look after you.

He told about about how one day some of his staff came to him with an idea – rid the island of plastic water bottles and convert entirely to reusable recycled material and install desalinated water stations throughout the resort. He asked his staff; “okay, but how are you going to pull it off?” Together they reasoned imposing a Island-wide plastic bottle ban, effective immediately – selling reusable, branded bottles for $2.50 – half the price of one plastic water bottle, reusable and refillable at desal water stations, and branded with the Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort’s logo to take home as a souvenir. Peter said yep, lets start tomorrow. Well this idea got a huge amount of media attention, naturally they wanted to know how Peter thought of the idea, and how he made it happen… he told them it was his staff that made it possible. Even watching this man in the water with the manta rays was like seeing something for the very first time – he knew them as his equals and his friends. I will never forget the short time i got to spend with Peter on his island playground. It has changed the way i see the world, made it so much more possible to be kind to nature. When you can hear it put so simply in to words – to do something easy that benefits the environment today, which in turn will benefit yourself and the whole entire planet for generations to come.

If you were ever thinking about visiting Lady Elliot Island – go, do it today, don’t wait. The world is waiting for you.

Throughout this entry are some photos I took during our week on Lady Elliot Island filming, and below is a short video I made. At the end of this month we will head to our next destination, I can’t wait… Very soon I will have an opportunity to share more about this exciting project we’re working on, so please stay tuned and stay inspired!

Lady Elliot Island: The Place of my Dreams

Lady Elliot Island, the place of my dreams.Blog to come shortly via the website! Elliot Island Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort BiopixelFind me on Facebook as Islandjems Imagery and FOLLOW my Instagram accounts @islandjems, @earthadventure and @reefspectrum :)#exploreTNQ #thisisqueensland #thisismyparadise #seeaustralia #experienceoz #canonaustralia

Posted by Islandjems Imagery on Friday, 23 June 2017

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