How to snorkel.


This post is bought to you by Hilton HHonors, the award-winning guest-loyalty program for Hilton Worldwide’s 10 distinct hotel brands . They are having a MASSIVE sale at the moment and as you know… I love a bargain!

I took the kids with me to watch and marvel in their mother’s braveness. You see, I am determined to spend my Year of Turning 40 doing things that I would normally scoff at.
So far I have eaten Carpaccio, caught a fish, been tubing and watched an Adam Sandler movie until the very end. But an opportunity presented itself that would put my previous efforts to shame.

Snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef.

Normally I leave these types of activities to the fearless. I have a suspicion that all creatures of the deep are hanging out in the ocean in one spot just waiting, for me in particular, to dip my toe in.

For that is when they will shout “BUFFET IS OPEN” and gorge on my carcass.

The snorkelling challenge took place at Frankland Island, a remote and uncivilised location that is totally untouched. It is literally a deserted island that is surrounded by reef.

Making this challenge even more questionable is the fact that it is stinger season! This means that the sea is hosting deadly box jellyfish. AWESOME…

Not awesome was the fact that I had to wear a garment known as a stinger suit. A stinger suit is a lightweight, black onsie designed to save you from certain death, should you cross a box jellyfish getting about it’s business.

A stinger suit is not a flattering garment unless you are 6 and built like a whippet.

Because there were no mirrors on the Island, I decided I did not give a shit what I looked like, and because I could not see myself and I was just going to pretend I looked like Elle MacPherson and just get on with it….

So stinger suit in place, I tried for a long time to get the flippers on. Just because I am built like Elle, does not mean I have any grace.

45 minutes later I was in the sea up to my knees, my eyes searching the ocean nervously for the sharks that were waiting to eat me.

The water was warm yet still refreshing. It was a colour unlike any I had seen before. I took a deep breath through my mouth and gently, ever so hesitantly, placed my face into the water.

Less than 7 seconds later, spluttering and choking, I resurfaced.

I tried again. I needed to walk that fine line between understanding the breathing I needed to do to remain alive, all the while not thinking about it too much, lest I freak out again.

After I while, I began to get it.

BREATHE IN AND OUT OF YOUR MOUTH! Like you do when you are in a taxi and the driver drops his guts and you think you are going to die.

Along with my fearless son Harry, I began to swim out to the safety boat, which was about 50 metres out and was watching all the other brave souls, who were even further out. As I reached the boat, I looked back to the shore and realised, we were miles and miles away. (Even though we were not…)

I daren’t look at the ocean below me, instead telling the dude on the boat that I was not into snorkelling one little bit, I was deeply unhappy and I was heading back to the shore.

I might have said it in a more desperate, dramatic fashion, as he immediately radioed into shore, informing them that the lady that looked like Elle was having a mild panic attack and might require some assistance.

Harry was completely at home, mind you. It made me wonder at what age you start to develop “THE FEAR…”

I made it back to the beach and told the marine biologist Sigrid (yes, named after Ms Thornton) that I really enjoyed my snorkelling and I was done and could I please have a large alcoholic beverage with a large alcoholic beverage chaser. Please. RIGHT NOW…. Please?

Sigrid was not taking any crap from me.

 Sigrid – the non crap taker.
Sigrid whipped on a stinger suit like a pro and grabbed a life-ring and me. And Harry.

I was on the receiving end of a lecture telling me that I had travelled all this way, I was on the doorstep of one of the natural wonders of the world, I was being a pussy, no sharks were going to eat me and goddam it WE WERE GOING TO GO AND SEE SOME TROPICAL FISH… AND OTHER STUFF.

And we did!

We went about a hundred metres out and I spent most of that time with my face in the water, implementing the fart-smell breathing and feeling like a very privileged visitor to this mysterious world.

We saw giant clams that can live up to 150 years and can weigh up to 400 kilos. I saw a massive coral boulder that was 4000 years in the making!  I saw colours so bright , mesmerizingly so and hues I thought could only be made up in a laboratory.

The fish! Parrot fish that have a beak they use to smash things up. The blue fish that Dory was in Finding Nemo? There were dozens of them. Brain coral the size of a small sedan. Strange looking tubular things that squirt stuff out at you. Star fish!

And then a green turtle ambled on by, looking at me, unknowingly making my day complete.

I came back to shore and thanked Sigrid a thousand times.

Can you believe I was totally prepared to pull the pin on the whole deal? What a fool I would have been…. A complete fool.

As a bonus, it has given me the confidence to keep seeking adventure and saying yes instead of no. And as it is only January, I am excited to think of what still lies ahead for this former adventure naysayer.

 We travelled to Cairns and stayed at wonderful Hilton Cairns with thanks to the Hilton HHonors, the award-winning guest-loyalty program for Hilton Worldwide.
The Hilton Cairns is in the best location to base yourself when exploring the area. A lovely hotel with very helpful staff and an air-conditioning system second to none.  My favourite thing about the hotel? THE BED! And the pillows. And the fact that we could walk everywhere we needed to go.

 Membership in HHonors is free, and you can join online by visiting
Earn points with every visit and take advantage of free nights, early check-in/late checkout, express check-in lines and complimentary room upgrades.

Want to win a weekend at

any Hilton Hotel?

Hilton HHonors are giving a WoogsWorld reader 100,000 points to spend at Any Hilton Worldwide Hotel, Anytime! 
HHonors points can be redeemed (and earned) on free nights at Hilton Worldwide properties around the world (see below for list of hotels), flights, merchandise, experiences and much, much more, so that you can escape your mundane and do something a little different. Spice it up a little and all that

To enter, tell me….

Where would you go and what would you do?

            Would you be brave like me, or sleep for 48 hours straight.

This giveaway is open to Australian Residents.

The winner will be selected based on creativity.

The winner will be announced here on Woogsworld on 
FRIDAY 25TH January 2013.


The successful entrant will have to join the HHONORS Program so I can transfer your points across, but I will be there to help you out. No biggie.

To learn more about Hilton HHonors, how to earn and redeem points and what you can spend your 100,000 ponits on, visit HiltonHHonors/Rewards
Participating Hilton Worldwide properties that you can redeem your points on includes: Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels& Resorts, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton, Embassy Suites Hotels, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Hotels, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Home2 Suites by Hilton and Hilton Grand Vacations.

Even if you don’t win the above giveaway, you can still find a way to getaway and go anywhere – our friends at Hilton HHonors have literally put the world on sale – book a stay at hotels within the Hilton HHonors portfolio by February 14, 2013 and receive up to 40% off with the Any Weekend, Anywhere Sale .