One couple, 38 reef trips
MELBOURNE couple Jackie and Peter Mihalec are reef-aholics.
Last week they made their 38th trip to the Great Barrier Reef - and can not stop raving about it.
The Mihalecs started coming to the Whitsundays almost 20 years ago and they visit Hardy Reef every time – at least once.
Jackie said it was here she got the snorkelling bug.
“I was terrified to snorkel [the first time],” she said.
“My knuckles were white and I used to hold my husband's hand until it was white too.
“And now I absolutely love it.
“It is truly amazing and you feel very safe.”
The couple often drive a campervan up the east coast from Melbourne, picking up Jackie's parents from Brisbane on their way to the Whitsundays.
Jackie said her parents, who are in their 80s, had been out to the reef more times than she had.
She said the ever-changing beauty of the reef kept bringing them back time and time again.
“Every time you go out it is different,” she said.
“No hour is the same. Sometimes you'll see big schools of big fish and other times you'll see hundreds of little fish.
“Seeing them in their own backyard is amazing.”
To celebrate their 38th visit, Fantasea Adventure Cruising sent the Mihalecs on a reef sleep tour so they could stay overnight on the reef.
They said they couldn't stop raving about the area. “We tell all our friends - go to the reef, you have got to stop in [to Airlie Beach].”
The Mihalecs are planning their 39th visit to the reef in June this year.