#65

Whilst away on my tropical getaway, I finally had the chance to do something I’ve embarrassingly enough, never done before…. I snorkelled!

Yes, I can tell you now that it is entirely possible to live 24 years and not don the ol’ flippers and snorkel to investigate what lays beneath the oceans skin. I am the very proof. So upon visiting the picturesque Mystery Island last month, I decided to change that small life fact of mine.

It may not be a huge leap and bound in the big scheme of things, but it was something I have always wanted to do given my intrigue with the ocean. And so it found a worthy home at #65 on the bucket list.

Having never snorkelled before, and being mostly a nose-breather (it’s a thing, just ask any nurse), I must admit that I found it a little hard to do at first. Training your brain to suddenly only breathe through your mouth in an almost dire circumstance given that you are under the sea and water in your lungs is not exactly compatible with life; wasn’t exactly easy.

I resembled something close to a struggling baby seahorse at first, trying to coordinate breathing and swimming simultaneously. Throw in a subtle wave or two to supersede the end of my snorkel, and you could have easily found enormous entertainment in my personal underwater wrangle.

But for the sake of the rainbow fish, I persevered.

Eventually I grew accustomed to having a little less air in my lungs, and slowed down my breathing enough to find a slow rhythm with my stride. I was able to navigate the oceans movement and anticipated the waves. I almost instinctively learnt how to blow any water that dared to enter my sacred breathing tube right back out into the air above.

After an hour, I decided I was brave enough to attempt a dive under the surface. After two seconds of deciding this, I was convinced being brave was a death warrant. Cue struggling baby seahorse performance number two. How people did this so naturally was beyond me. It was like the moment the water travelled down the snorkel and touched my lips, my body spontaneously thought, ‘Oh sure, come on in!’.

But for the sake of the blue starfish, I persevered.

Spitting out the salty ocean water my body had executively decided to harbour, I tried again. This time concentrating on blowing the air in my lungs out slowly enough to combat the water. By day two of snorkelling, I had this manoeuvre down pat enough to venture through tunnels in the reef at Paradise Cove in Port Vila.

This baby seahorse had found her wings… or scales? Either way, I had become a little less entertaining to the observers onshore.

It was worth every moment of frantic underwater fear, and salty-ocean-water-swallowing just to swim with the multitudes of tiny fish who call these beautiful reefs home. From clown fish (totally found Nemo), to vibrant coloured starfish; giant sea slugs, to vicious eels; curious reef sharks, to bright coral – it was an experience I enjoyed whole-heartedly and plan to do a lot more of in the future.

I’ll call it my warm up for scuba-diving – which also makes the list, and I just know that when I get to it I’m going to love it just as much, if not more!

Oh, just as a side note for anyone else who, just like me, may have not yet snorkelled – here’s a prominent tip above all else… try only to smile internally at the beauty of it all. As it turns out, smiling externally breaks the seal of your snorkel mask causing a great deal of salt water to flood your eyeballs. And take it from me, it’s not a pleasant experience.

#65 – Go Snorkelling: Check!

d x

#5: Vanuatu & New Caledonia 2017

We arrived at the port of Brisbane right on time for our early check-in, and excitedly kissed our Mr.’s goodbye as we stared up the giant cruise liner titled Pacific Dawn.

Celebrating 10 years of friendship, my best friend, J, and I couldn’t think of a better way to commemorate the occasion than to set sail upon the high seas on a Pacific Island Cruise! Additionally, this made the perfect excuse to tick #5 off of the Bucket List nice and early this year.

Grabbing our luggage – which were impressively very compact and surprisingly not very heavy despite our indecision over what clothes to bring (if in doubt, bring it all, right?), we stumbled into the line up outside the port’s centre doors. First in the queue, we made our way to the check-in desk quickly.

Boarding was an easy process, and we found ourselves excitedly galavanting up the gangway in a little under an hours time. ‘Bon Voyage‘ they happily wished us as we stepped over the ship’s threshold and into the spacious liner’s atrium. We quickly found our room, and dumped the excess carry-on straight onto our beds, before making a beeline for the back of the cruise ship.

One ‘Tropical Passion’ and ‘Martini’ later, we found ourselves completely at home on the decadent lounges overlooking the Port. I always seem to forget how easy it is to settle into holiday mode, and in that moment aboard the cruise liner… oh boy, was I on holidays. I couldn’t help but secretly burst with a unparalleled anticipation for what lay ahead.

We spent 10 days sailing across the Pacific Ocean, visiting four islands and two countries in total. It seemed that each destination was even better than the one before, and we thoroughly enjoyed immersing ourselves in the cultures of each. From traditional Noumea and scenic Lifou in New Calendonia, to the untouched Mystery Island and popular Port Vila in Vanuatu – we managed to fill two camera phones, one GoPro and one Canon DLSR worth of pictures between us both.

We’ve come back at least three shades darker in skin colour thanks to the Pacific Ocean sunshine, and holding close to our hearts some very special memories. I could not have wished upon a better way to celebrate friendship than with this tropical adventure to some of the world’s most beautiful islands. You can count on the fact that this is only the very beginning of my tropical holiday obsession.

You can check out the details and destinations out a little more in depth here at my Polarsteps profile (an absolute god-send when it comes to documenting any overseas holiday I promise you!).

And with nothing else to say, Vanuatu and New Caledonia – you have been a dream!

#5 – Travel somewhere new every year: 2017 – Check!

d x

#55

A couple of years ago, I bought a proper camera for my Mr. for his birthday. It cost just short of a small fortune, but he loved it so thoroughly that eating cucumber as a staple meal for the subsequent month became almost justifiable.

I would readily find him photographing everything from the couch pillows to the carpet – though it was always beyond me as to understand what kind of artistic flare he was going for exactly. He was enthralled with it, and so it came to be an essential item to pack on any venture out of the house.

I remember on one outing I asked if I could have a go, just to see what all the fuss was about. I aimed the lens toward to the pink horizon and pressed the shutter capturing the last fleeting moment of sunshine before it vanished behind the earths edge. 

I quickly found the replay button, and examined the picture I had taken. And it was in that moment that I truly realised just how well my money had been spent. It was the beginning of an addiction, a yearning to capture even more of the earths beauty in a frame to last eternity. 

I was hooked. Only a photographer could perhaps know the feeling. 

There was just something about photography that entangled itself immediately with my creative side that day. I couldn’t help but suddenly feel inspired by the world around me. It was like a thirst to portray the beauty I was seeing with my own eyes in the pictures I could take. 

So I made it #55 on the bucket list to start my own photography page. 

I had always promised myself that in this lifetime I would do my best to illuminate the most wonderful parts of life for others to see. 

And I couldn’t help but hope that the creation of a photography page would become a perfect definition of that. 

It’s been about four months since I’ve thrown ‘Wild Hearted Photography‘ into existence in the every-growing world of Instagram. And while I’m still very much an ametuar, the page is starting to gain a little interest. 

It’s become not only a place to quietly display my collection of photos, but almost a guide to some of the most beautiful parts of the earth I’ve travelled so far – including Bali, Japan and certain roadtrip ventures down south. 

My goal is to keep adding to the collection, with many more pictures from the places I have every intention of exploring. I hope to inspire people not only with the places I photograph, but with the challenge I’m posing for myself in starting something I know nothing about, and making it my own. 

I haven’t nearly nailed photography on the head. I’ve got a long way to go. But when I look back to some of my first shots, I can see I’m improving and that’s okay with me! I’ve picked up a new hobbie, and I’m loving it. 

If you feel like joining the journey, head over to @wildheartedphotography and click follow! I promise to be the wings and the adventurer for us all. 

Now just to convince my Mr. that his GoPro is way cooler than the Canon – wish me luck!

#55 – Start my own photography page: check!

d x