Once LSF and I parted ways, I moved north to Cairns, Australia, where it was hotter and more tropical (yet another consequence of Aussie backwards-ness, move north and it gets more hot, which is totally weird). I added Cairns to my trip mostly because of the Great Barrier Reef. I got my scuba diving certification last fall and even used up very valuable suitcase space bringing my snorkel and mask to the Southern Hemisphere, but I had yet to actually go diving. To be that close to the Great Barrier Reef and not check it out would be blasphemous, so off I went.
Sadly, at some point while moving from Auckland to Te Anau to Queenstown to Wanaka to Lake Tekapo to Christchurch to Auckland to Taupo to Rotorua to Auckland to Taupo to Auckland to Sydney to Brisbane to Cairns, I completely misplaced the USB cord for my waterproof camera, so I have some pretty sweet reefy pictures but no way to upload them until I get back to the States. Just imagine....lots of pretty coral, seas of thousands of tropical fish surrounding us, a moray eel. And, a shark. No joke. I saw, and swam with a shark. He was a little guy, but he was definitely a shark, and I was amazed by my own reaction upon spotting him. I wasn't frightened, even a little bit, but more curious, and sort of chased him down trying to get a picture. I guess under the water I don't have fear. Maybe triathlons should be underwater. That'd work for me.
|Heading out to the GBR|
|All of my good pictures are on my other camera, but here are some of the snorkelers from our boat|
This has worked OK, for the most part, and I've been pleasantly surprised by some of the places I've stayed. But then there were times, like in Cairns, when I completely struck out. I got to my little backpackers' accommodation, had to literally step over a couple of young backpackers who were pretty well focused on the massive bong from which they were smoking to get to my room, which turned out to be small, sweltering, and smelled just like a skunk. The smell was so bad that I literally could not sleep or really even breathe. I guess you win some and lose some, but that one was the worst. I guess at $45 / night with a free airport transfer, I probably shouldn't have expected much more.
|Hiking through a rainforest|
|Pool # 35, I believe|
|This is the kind of stuff you deal with at Backpackers'|
Here's a few more Port Douglas/ Daintree pictures:
|All those vines going up the tree are actually squeezing it to death|
|There was no way I was doing any open water swimming in Australia|
|The boat coming across is the car ferry to get across the Daintree River|
|This is a kangaroo burger. I had to.|