Snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef is like swimming inside a giant aquarium. But to get perspective on its vastness means also seeing it from the air – it’s the only living thing you can see from space.
Before co-producing and hosting these short films for Lonely Planet and BBC, I had never before ridden in a helicopter. What a brilliant place to experience for the first time the thrill of vertical liftoff! We flew 50 miles from the coast to a landing pad in the middle of the ocean (note my enormous grin as we step out of the helicopter), then shuttled to a floating dive station and snorkeled the reef. Lifeguards and roping kept snorkelers from drifting out to sea, and guides led us to clown fish hiding in anemones, past mountains of coral, with a rainbow of fishes surrounding me everywhere I looked. From the macro to the micro, seeing the reef from above and below changed my perspective on the ocean, and by extension, the entire planet.