With the Australian sun illuminating the crystal clear waters of the Great Barrier Reef in all their glory, UNESCO World Heritage delegates snorkelled for hours surrounded by manta rays, dolphins and reef sharks.
Their mission was to check the health of the world's largest living ecosystem, thousands of multi-coloured coral reefs stretching over 2,000 km off the northeast coast which bring in billions of dollars a year in tourism.
Felicity Wishart, Great Barrier Reef campaign director at the Australian Marine Conservation Society, has no doubt why Lady Elliot Island was chosen for the field trip.
"It's one of the most stunning islands in the reef system. It's also in the outer reef ... So it's about as far east of the coastline that you can get," she said, pointing out that most damage is done closer to the mainland.