Arriving at the airport was like landing on Mars, pretty much in the middle or no where. The 15 minute drive to the hostel didn’t seem much busier. Slightly worrying as I’m quite a city person, I’m comforted by shops, banks and mostly… people.
However, my hostel was possibly the coolest place ever! Staying in Calypso was what I’d expect in a Jamaican shack. The atmosphere is pretty much the same. Everyone was majorly friendly and laid back, then it twigged, I’d arrived in Hippyville.
Apart from the reef there isn’t a great deal to do in Cairns. You can chill at the hostel, chill at the lagoon (too many crocodiles in the sea) or chill out at one of the bars in town. So with that mind, after meeting up with some familiar faces, we decided to chill at the lagoon. And who should we meet there, only Steve Irwin’s dad Bob. Random! He was up in Cairns as part of a crocodile conservation project, trying to stop locals from culling the little critters that stood between them and swimming in the sea. He was a lovely man, even let us hold a couple of baby crocodiles.
Great Barrier Reef
The 14th October was a very special day, not only did I dive on the Great Barrier Reef but it was my 25th birthday.
As friends, or regular readers of this blog will know, I’m quite scared of the sea. So although I was hugely excited about seeing one of the natural wonders, I was quite nervous. The crew of Reef Experience soon took my mind off it. After being hauled up to a round of applause during the ‘safety talk’, I was more worried about how they’d try to embarrass me next.
After an hour of sailing I couldn’t wait to get in the sea, mostly because I was feeling so rough! I can just hear my Mum now, ‘I said you should have taken those anti-sickness bands.’
With half an hour of snorkelling time before my introductory scuba lesson, I got a bit of practice in. In particular trying to accustom myself to our fishy friends.
Soon enough it was time for the lesson. After my appalling surf lesson I didn’t hold out much hope, but for once I was actually pretty good. Breathe CHECK. Pop your ears CHECK. Clear your mask CHECK. Remove regulator CHECK.
Feeling pretty happy about the situation, when the instructor asked ‘are you a good swimmer?’ I confidently replied ‘YES!’ Now I know I can swim in a pool, but for one moment I forgot that my answer should have been ‘I’m scared of the sea’. But not wanting to look like a plonker I went with the flow and watched as the instructor took the other two by the arm.
The next twenty minutes was a bit like a scene from The Little Mermaid – the instructor effortlessly gliding around, Ariel. And me, trying my best to keep up, Flounder. Honestly though it was beyond amazing; beautiful coral, massive fish and crystal water. What an experience!
After another hour of sailing we arrived at the second dive spot and had a couple of hours of snorkelling. This time with our underwater camera… More pictures to follow
As one of the day trips included within my package, I actually had no idea what this entailed. Other than visiting the waterfall rumoured to feature in Peter Andre’s Mysterious Girl video.
It turned out to be a wonderful day – looking at beautiful waterfalls, swimming in freshwater pools and generally chilling out in stunning surroundings.