Have you ever heard of the Great Barrier Reef? It is the world's largest coral reef system along the eastern coast of Australia. In February 2009 an extraordinary position was advertised by the Australian Tourism Office. The advertisement ran that the Great Barrier Reef needed a caretaker for half a year. It was for a special person who would look after the Reef.The job offered a large salary, free accommodation in a luxury villa, and transportation there and around the islands. All expenses would be paid: the winner wouldn't need to spend any extra money on anything.
The job's duties were pretty simple. You could only dream of such requirements. First, the person had to speak English and swim well. Second, on the island his responsibility included writing a weekly Internet blog. That's right, weekly, not even daily! The job description also required the successful applicant to explore the islands of the Great Barrier Reef, swim, make friends with the locals and generally enjoy the tropical climate and lifestyle. A real dream!
Within the first 2 days of the contest,the tourism office received more than seven thousand online applications. All told, 34,000 people of all different nationalities applied. Each made and presented a 60-second video resume. They had to be creative and they were. In the end 16 people were chosen, who flew to Australia for the final selection. The candidates were interviewed and the winner was Ben Southall from the UK.
Ben greatly enjoyed the dream job he had got. He realised that people knew very little about planet earth and its treasures. Living in big cities, they forgot how important the flora and fauna of this world were. Every time Ben went outdoors, he could discover something new. "Every timeI dived or went underwater, I forgot about all the troubles above water and concentrated on living in the moment. It was a good way to clean the mind and build respect for the natural world," Ben said. Ben's life on the island was not just fun.It was very busy, busier than most people imagined, and certainly busier thanBen himself had imagined. He worked seven days a week and up to 19 hours a day. The Best Jobincluded travelling to over 60 islands of the Reef almost every day.It was not just looking after the Reef, Ben had a lot of meetings, press conferences and interviews. He was getting a lot of attention all the time and he couldn't get away from it. That was probably the hardest part of the job.
Moreover, any adventure has a certain degree of risk. Swimming and diving on the Great Barrier Reef was not different. Ben had to deal with whales, sharks and other huge sea creatures. Surprisingly, the most dangerous thing was a small jellyfish about the size of a little finger. It's consideredto be extremely poisonous and Ben was stung by it. He had to spend a couple of days in hospital but luckily recovered after a course of antibiotics.
Ben often says that the project has taught him a few valuable lessons. Working with the Internet is one of those jobs you can do 24 hours a day. Ben realised it was hard to separate life and work, but this he had to do. He also said: "I've learned that we get one life on earth sowe have to use it. There'll always be other countries to visit, other people to meet and other adventures to meet. This is what I wish to do. I'm planning to go to Asia in a few years time".