Moreton Bay, Australia - Renee Engelke

My name is Renee Engelke and I recently moved from Willow Grove, PA to Toronto to study archaeology at the University of Toronto. My most memorable experience with water didn’t happen in my home town, but half a world away in Tangalooma, on Moreton Island off the east coast of Australia when I was 13 years old. I was in Australia on an organized tour with a group called People to People, and one of our stops along our route was Tangalooma Island Resort. It started off as a great experience as we got to feed dolphins, learn about marine biology and relax and spend time with our newly made friends. The resort that we stayed at on the island was beautiful, it was surrounded by luscious greenery. The sand on the beach was indescribable, the texture was smooth and the colour was the perfect shade of beige. Up close the water was a light shade of blue but as you looked farther out, the water ombréd into a deep navy. However the fun didn’t last long, the next activity on our agenda was to take boats to manmade ship wrecks and go snorkeling. I remember slowly emerging myself into the frigid water, this made me very nervous since I was never a strong swimmer. Everything was fine for the first few minutes until I got further away from the boat. I started to notice the cloudiness of the water and realized that it was much deeper than I had previously thought. My chest tightened up and I gradually became short of breath as my fear of deep water began to take over. I started to doggie paddle back to boat along with a few other girls who had also scared of the deep water. After five exhausting minutes, we had finally pulled ourselves back onto the boat but it was not very reassuring, as boats also make me feel extremely uncomfortable. We waited on the boat until the rest of the group came back. When we were all together again, we headed back to the shore but I was terrified the whole way back that something bad would happen. Thankfully nothing did, and we all made it back in one piece. Even though this one instance was very traumatic, the rest of the trip was very fun and I enjoyed it greatly.

Esther Bushuev
Renee Engelke

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