Posted by: dsduffy | August 11, 2011

Beneath the surface

For the most part, I look at things on the surface. I go through my days seeing things on the outside, not often taking the time to look in, not tilting my head, focusing my eyes and really looking at things. This may be due to the stage of life I am in: making lunches, urging little boys to put their shoes on, rushing to get to school then off the to gym and the grocery store. I feel like that is just what I do everyday and I’m sure it is for a lot of moms.

During the last 11 days, on my holiday up in Port Douglas, I saw more. I saw things beneath the surface. Things like coral reef that have been around for millions of years, can you even imagine seeing something that began growing 18 million years ago? That just boggles my mind. Angel fish gracefully swimming down next to coral, the bluest blue I have ever seen. My boys bonding with their grandmother

Grammy and her boys


having a chat with an Eclectus Parrot

Eclecutus Parrot


and hanging out with this fella, just the five of us tucked away in the rainforest.

How do you do, Cassowary?

Walking from our towels under the shade of the palm trees, across the sand to the salty water along 4 mile beach, I didn’t just walk. I saw the little holes made by sand crabs, and watched as my two beach boys tried to dig them up, or be still to try and catch a glimpse of one making his hole deeper.

Searching for crabs

I went snorkelling. To most people this is not a big deal, as in “cool! You went snorkeling and saw some fish!” No. For me this is BIG. Rewind to 2000 in Hawaii on my honeymoon, Craig and I went to Hanauma Bay in Honolulu. This was my first time snorkeling and I’m not such an ocean person, as in: I like to go in up to my knees. So we got all geared up, and off we went. Once I got to a place where I was literally floating RIGHT ON TOP of the coral reef, I freaked the heck out. There was no place for me to stand up, and I started to panic. Craig saw all this taking place and had to literally carry me back to shore, after I stepped on/brushed against the reef BIG no-no. So that was my first and last experience, until Monday.

When we got to Port Douglas, we bought the boys snorkels and masks for them to practice at the resort pool, and I am so glad we did. Once we got out to the Great Barrier Reef (after a 90 minute boat ride) we got suited up and Jake got scared. I stayed back with him to have lunch while Craig, Cameron and Grammy went off to snorkel. After a quick lunch I asked Jake if he was ready (mind you, I sure as heck wasn’t!) and he said ok. We got all ready (wetsuits, lycra suits, fins, masks, snorkels, life jackets) and we made our way over to the snorkel platform off of the pontoon. We sat there. I made a few jokes to Jake, “let’s just put our masks in, look at the fish and just say we went snorkeling, whatdya think?” He said, “Come on mom!” And we both floated in, I saw some big fish coming my way and headed back to the platform, leading Jake back to the bench with me. I said, “Let’s just sit here for awhile.” I made a joke to the couple next to me, “I’m not sure who’s more scared, me or him!” Knowing it was just me that was apprehensive, I took a deep breath and knew what I had to do. Jake then turned to me, I could see his big brown eyes through the mask, and he said, “Come on, mom, be brave!” The people next to us that could see I was struggling to get in and the man, David, said to me, “You’ll be right, just go in, you have to see the blue coral. If you don’t, you’ll regret it.” And with that, Jake went floating in while holding my hand, leading me in. It was such a beautiful moment; my four-year old gave me the courage to do something I was so scared of.

After swimming with the fishes

I’m going to do a lot more snorkeling, if you will, in my life. Looking beneath the surface to see things that I’ve never noticed before.


A few more photos, just because I have 665 amazing shots to choose from!



  1. This just made me cry. I love that Jake encouraged you! So glad you finally did it. Although I can totally relate to the panicking feeling.

  2. What a beautiful story………so sweet. I’m afraid of the ocean somewhat too…… I can relate. “Good on you”

    (The pictures in the blog didn’t show up on my computer, but the ones on the bottom did. Did anyone else have this problem or is it my computer?)

  3. WOW!! Beautiful story and photos, simply amazing! You can see the happiness in all of your faces with big smiles, enjoying new experiences together! Very special boys you have! xoxo

  4. looks great! nice and warm. 🙂 we are headed up there in a week and half, staying in port douglas too. you need to tell me which rainforest tour you booked as i am undecided. glad you were brave enough to see the reef!

  5. Beautiful picture and a lovely story. Looking at places like this, and hearing about experiences like your makes me more and more excited about our move.

  6. I went snorkelling for the first time on the great barrier reef too – I was mostly scared initially (it is just not normal to be able to breath underwater). But it was so beautiful that I quickly grew to love it.

  7. I have found that my kids give me great strength to do things I am too scared to do. It’s really moving, don’t you think? I learned, too, to use this to my benefit when they’re not with me. So when I feel anxiety, I’ll invoke one of my kids and it helps bring me back down to Earth.

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