The Great Barrier Reef is surely on the top of most travel enthusiasts’ lists of places they’d most like to visit. Prior to my departure last June, I had a long wish list of things to do and see during my first visit. In only one week I accomplished more than I had expected, including snorkeling, scuba diving, whale watching, marsupial spotting, plenty of imbibing Australian wine, and even a little Down Under gay nightlife. Given the vast expanse of the destination and my limited time frame, it was important to focus my time on one specific region. The non-stop Qantas service from Los Angeles to Brisbane in Premium Economy was convenient and afforded the necessary additional legroom for the 13-hour flight, along with Business Class-level menus and complimentary wine and spirits. A 90-minute flight from Brisbane landed me in the Whitsunday Islands, a collection of 70-some islands that are largely uninhabited nature preserves.