This post is part of February’s DSMA Blog Carnival.
I feel like I’ve done a lot of great things despite having diabetes. I’ve gone many places and had some wonderful experiences, but I think the most awesome thing I’ve done despite having diabetes is snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef.
From the very beginning, when we started planning last year’s trip to Australia, we knew that we wanted to go to the Reef. And almost as soon, I started worrying about how my diabetes would affect our plans — just a little bit. Would I be able to swim without going hypo? How would I handle insulin delivery while I’m in the water or on the beach? Should I take some Lantus with me for the beach/reef part of our trip? Would the tour operators let me swim with diabetes? I hadn’t gone swimming in so long, and I had no idea whether I would even be strong enough to do it.
So we went to the pool three times a week, and I went from almost being unable to swim in September to swimming a mile each Saturday in April. My BGs weren’t so awesome before swimming, and I dropped like a rock during my evening visits to the pool. But I figured I would be conservative when we went to the Reef, and I decided to hope for the best, trusting in the months of swim+insulin practice.
Despite some dicey weather on the way from Cairns to Flynn Reef — we had high seas driven by 20 knot winds that led most people onboard to get very green (or worse) — we had a great time. The water was so warm, the coral was so intricate, and the fish! The fish were amazing. There were so many colorful varieties and so many of each kind. They were everywhere! We saw parrotfish, angelfish, clown anemone fish, and an enormous wrasse . . . just to name a few. At the second site of the day, we saw a giant clam and a sea turtle, which swam around at incredible speed. It was just so cool to swim over the top of the coral pedestal and then look down to see it drop away dozens of feet into the darkness.
When it comes right down to it, the reef was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had, and it came as part of one of the most wonderful trips that I’ve ever taken. Ultimately, diabetes played only the smallest role; my blood sugar was a little high the second time I got out of the water, but I didn’t really feel like it slowed me down at all. And that’s the way it should be.
Here are a whole bunch of photos from our time on the Reef. Enjoy!