RoundTheWorld

This blog covers our trip around the world in 2006. We will post here with news of where we are and what we've been up to. Enjoy! Ang & Jane

Sunday, October 8

Location: Alice Springs
Miles Travelled: 26337
Time Zone: GMT + 8:30

We arrived in Cairns after a very very early start and so just checked into our hostel, went shopping for a few essentials, grabbed some food and a nap and then headed for our free dinner in the Woolshed. After some bad news the next morning we decided to keep busy and so headed into town to book ourselves on a diving course. We choose to do the 4 day Open Water PADI diving course with Down Under Dive which was due to start on the Friday. After voicing my concerns over the fact that my left arm was still totally messed up after my pavement diving we felt reasonably confident it would all go ok. After booking our diving course we continued on and booked onto the Oz Experience Cairns to Sydney route for the following week. After all this organisation we were drained both mentally and financially so it was off for a free feed in the Woolshed again and some very silly film watching in the form of Snakes on a Plane.The next day we enjoyed a late start and decided to wander round Cairns for the afternoon and ended our day with dinner in the Night Markets. The next morning was the start of our dive course at 7am so an early night was in order. Day 1 of the course was pretty tense cos we have a medical and a swim test which both me and Ang were dreading. Thankfully the medical went fine and I even managed to find out that I have torn the deltoid muscle in my arm! After the medical it was class time until lunch and then it was the swim test. First off we had to thread water for 10 minutes, Ang and I decided to mainly float for the 10 minutes...hee hee...but it was allowed and so we survived that. Due to my arm I was allowed to do the lap swimming test wearing a snorkel and fins (thank god) and managed to do the 12 laps required which I was thrilled about. Ang also managed to do hers and we were very relieved. After our tests we got to try on the diving equipment and breathed underwater for the first time which was mad. After the day we were exhausted and headed home to do our homework and study for our theory exam the next day. Day 2 started in the pool for more skills and manouvres and then it was our final class before the test. Ang, Helen and I all managed to get full marks in our test so were well chuffed and thankfully no-one in our class failed. That evening we went to Reef Teach which is a show run by a crazy Irish guy who is beyond passionate about marine life and educated us on the various fish families and reef types we were likely to see the following day on our first dive. It was a great show and proved invaluable. The next day it was our first day out on the reef and our first 2 dives and skills tests. The dives went great and the reef is beautiful and full of so many fish its ridiculous. I managed to go snorkelling inbetween dives too which was fab. Day 4 was our final day on the course and we were out on the reef again for 2 more dives and the final of our skills tests. The first dive of the day went fine but both Ang and I had mini-nightmares on our last dive so it wasn't the best but thankfully we both managed to get through it and pass the course - hooray!! Once back on the boat we heard the terrible news about Steve Irwin who we were told was only about 4kms away from where we were diving. That night our instructor had organised for the class to meet up for celebratory dinner and drinks. Dinner was in Rattle and Hum and was yummy and the followed by a trip to the Woolshed where I was introduced to a drink called a Jeigerbomb. It consists of a shot of Jeigermeister dropped into a half glass of RedBull and then downed, it was quiet yummy actually. We had a fantastic night and were really sad to be saying farewell to our dive class and our instructor.
The next day we took a well earned rest and then met up with Katie from our dive class for a wander round the shops where we bumped into 4 other members of the dive class. It was really nice to bump into people you knew when in a strange city. That night we booked onto a Cape Tribulation tour for the following 2 days so it was early t bed and early to rise again. We headed to Cape Tribulation via a wildlife sanctuary where we got to see some Kangaroos, Dingo puppies and a Cassowary called Fruit Loop. Then we crossed the Daintree River on the ferry and went for a walk in a rainforest before being dropped to our hostel. Ang and I then headed off for a walk to Cape Tribulation itself via Myall beach which was gorgeous and almost completely deserted. The next day we headed on a mangrove rainforest walk and then headed in to the Bat House where we got to get up close and personal with a flying fox. While chilling in the hostel waiting for our pick-up we ended up helping with some branch cutting on one of the palm trees and then went on a mini nature hunt round the premises to spot huge spiders and iguanas which was quiet mad.

After being picked up we headed off to do a crocodile cruise on the Daintree River which was fantastic. We spotted 5 crocs including the king of the area Fat Albert who was huge. It was exactly as I had always imagined a crocodile cruise to be and its seldom that things live up to expectations but this really did and I loved it. Following that we headed to Mossman gorge which was really pretty and the onto the Rex range Lookout for a great view and the home via Port Douglas. Our Oz Experience trip was beginning the next day so it was showers packing and bed for our last night in Cairns.
Day 1 of our Oz Experience trip was to Mission beach. Enroute however we did and saw tonnes. We stopped for breakfast at Barron Falls and then at a little town called Malanda for a take-away lunch which we were going to eat at Lake Eacham (a volcanic lake) after doing the circumference walk of the lake. A few brave souls went for a dip in the lake before we got back on the bus and continued on to Millaa Millaa falls (which in Aboriginal literally means Water Water or lots of water!). Then it was on to Innisfail where we went to a Crocodile Farm and watched as the keepers fed some of the resident big crocs - it was great. Then we got a chance to hold a snake - or in my case have one thrown round my shoulders and then have a baby croc landed on my head! Both were surprisingly nice to hold and not at all as you'd expect either to feel. Ang managed to conquer her fear of snakes and also held one which was great. After that we got to go and feed the Kangaroos which was so cute as there were Joey's there too. After the farm it was off to Mission Beach and the hostel. In our dorm room we met 2 girls Shelina and Skyla who we quickly bonded with, in particular Shelina who became our third travel buddy. Our driver Pistol Pete organised for everyone to meet up in the bar for dinner and some drinks which was brilliant as we got to meet everyone on the bus - alot of whom we'd be travelling with for several weeks. I chanced the Kangaroo for my dinner and I have to say it was gorgeous.

Day 2's route was to take us to Magnetic Island, upon leaving Mission Beach we picked up Kati who had been on our dive course which was a great surprise. We headed straight to the ferry that morning and once on Magnetic Island we checked into the hostel. The hostel is amazing and looks like a resort you'd see on travel magazines, wooden decks that run onto the beach, palm trees and amazing views out to sea - I could have stayed there for ages. Once we checked in it was out to sea for some kayaking and then back to the bar for happy hour. We had a fantastic night on Magnetic Island with our bus crew and were sad to be leaving it the next day. Day 3 was going to take us to Airlie beach but before leaving Magnetic Island we went on a walk called the Forts Walk to try and spot some Koalas in the wild. Amazingly we did - well actually Ang spotted them first. We were really lucky as it was a mother Koala and her joey. Later on during the walk someone spotted an Echidna which are pretty rare and hard to see in the wild so it was a real treat. After grabbing a quick lunch back at the hostel we got back on the ferry and headed for Airlie beach. Once we arrived we confirmed our Whitsunday sailing trip for the next day and grabbed dinner and a few drinks in the bar.
Our boat was due to set sail at 1pm so we headed down to the marina after some brekkie, last minute shopping and luggage storing. Once we arrived we were fitted with Stinger suits (lovely full body lycra styley suits that protect against jelly fish stings) and then directed towards our boat - Broomstick. On our boat we had 3 crew (Skipper Rob, Ryan and Alex) and 20 others like ourselves. Once the introductions got started it became evident there were quite a few Irish onboard which was cool as we hadn't really met any Irish people since hitting Oz. The group on the boat were brilliant and we had a great day snorkelling and sailing before dropping anchor for the night. For the evening we had a few drinks, chatted with everyone and played cards. The next day we sailed to Whitehaven. On the walk to the beach we saw a lizard and got to stop at the lookout which gave an amazing view of the beach. We spent about an hour on the beach just chilling and reading and stuff before heading back to the boat. We had lunch there before going for a sail to another snorkelling spot where we saw a ray and Ang spotted a stinger...eeks! The wind was pretty strong so the sailing was pretty exciting especially when the Skipper aborted an attempted switch in direction cos he got a bad feeling! We found a nice sheltered bay to stop in for the night and played random games like Who Am I and I Spy for most of the night and then finished off with the old reliable cards. The next day was our last day on board Broomstick and was spent sailing back to Airlie through what had turned into pretty nasty weather. Strong winds and random showers. We spent alot of the day on the high side of the deck braving the elements and of course I managed to injure myself while getting in to position and lost part of my toenail - nice!! Just when we had thought we were through the worst of it a 45 knot wind caught us and the boat tilted so far that they had to drop the main sail into the water so the boat would right itself...fairly crazy stuff but it was brilliant and we really enjoyed the whole sailing trip and met some fantastic people onboard. There was a table reserved for the Broomstick group in our hostel bar for that evening. Most of us headed back and showered etc before heading to the bar however 2 of the gang Darren and Trevor decided to hit the bar straight away and pretty much stay there for the 6 hours before the rest of us turned up - needless to say this made for a very entertaining night!! As well as our new found Broomstick friends we also bumped into Shelina and Kati again which was cool and we all had a great night. The next day it was back onto the Oz Experience and on to Kroombit.

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