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Water woman!!

I love the ocean!!!

Hello from the east coast,
What a wonderful wet week I've had.... For various reason but one being that everyday since Wednesday I have been on a boat and you know what.... Think I'm quite the sailor or maybe pirate depending on my mood.... Hahahaha :) arrrrrrrr
Well I flew into Cairns late evening on the Tuesday, after my camping escapades I thought I was sleepy, but I got to the hostel which was very lively and they had, I quote a 'Jelly Wrestling' contest on, well I had to stay up and see that.... Priceless!
The following morning was my boat trip and dive over the Great Barrier Reef. I was super scared and excited about this however, I must say it was my personal highlight of Cairns. The boat trip was again another early start, after check in at 7.15 am we could board the boat at 7.30. The boat was called ocean free and was a medium size (I'd say) sailing boat, think I read it could have up to 35 people on board but there was only about 20 of us. Following a cuppa and some muffins we set sail, the boat was comfortably sailing along with the sun shining.... Lovely! We the had a briefing on snorkelling and diving, neither which I had done before. I was quite concerned about the whole breathing (or not being able to being the case) under water e.g via the snorkel or the with the tank, however the crew explained the whole process so well and thoroughly I was put at ease and eager to get in. I was in the 2nd dive group which was fortunate as it allowed me to snorkel first and practice my breathing..... So when we got to our snorkelling destination.....we were in our wetsuits and lifejackets we were free to dive in :) and how I loved it. The breathing wasn't an issue at all and that had been my biggest worry. The coral was about a metre below us at points and was amazing, so beautiful alike all the fish swimming around it, I even saw a small shark and although we had been pre told that they were harmless and shy .... I must admit I did slightly poop myself (well not literally). The dives were hand held by an instructor, who had taught us hand signals if we were in distress or had any problems. The equipment was quite heavy on board the boat but you couldn't feel it when under the water. We got to practice breathing when we were first in the water then we slowly made our way further down to practice popping our ears. One girl in the other group had to get out as she couldn't equalise hers, but fortunately I had no problems. The further we went the more excited I got and I was like freaking nemo.... At one with the ocean :) the guide had to keep tugging my hand back as I was off exploring. Such an awesome experience I would be happy to repeat :) I didn't see anything but coral and fish but I was more than pleased with that. Following snorkelling and diving we had a spot of lunch then the skipper took us over to Green island, it was lovely but unfortunately for the two hours we spent on it, it rained for I'd say an hour of it (each time it seemed I took my dress off too sunbathe). People were still braving the conditions though and swimming and snorkelling in the sea, I watched from my shelter of a nearby tree :) When back on the boat we sailed back to the harbour, with a mixture of showers and sunlight however the sun was shining when we were back on solid ground. I was buzzing and smiling when back at the hostel, so met a friend for a few drinks and bite to eat and joined in on bogus bingo :) One of my favourite days by far!
The next morning I had to be at the bus stop to start my oz experience pass at 7.30am. The bus was a mini bus (think at its maximum it could fit 22 people) different from kiwi bus as that was a large bus (could fit 45-50 people I'd say), however there was just three passengers including me, so we got to know each other really quickly. That morning we drove up to Atherton Tablelands, which was up a mountain not far from Cairns. Our first stop was at the Cathedral Fig Tree, most of Atherton Tablelands is a world heritage as a lot of it got cut down to make farmland (it all used to be a rain forest) so they wanted to protect the remaining parts. The fig tree was a literally a massive tree, I've never seen one so big. It had lots of what looked like smaller trunks, apparently it started off as a seed which grew off another tree.... Strange huh! You got to stand inside the tree to make a wish, which I did...... But not saying what I wished for as might not come true ;) After that we headed to Lake Eacham, a beautiful lake which was formed after a volcano and it is entirely filled with rainwater. It was so beautiful and set within trees, I had a swim in the refreshing water..... It was so tranquil and calming. I even saw turtles swimming around (but I had got out at that point). Then we made our way to Millaa Millaa falls, which is the waterfall from Peter Andres 'Mysterious Girl' video, the waterfall was amazing. We got to swim under it, the water was freezing compared to Lake Eacham!! Brrrrr! But once you got used to it, it was lovely. I tried to get a sexy snap coming through the waterfall but it was very heavy water crashing on my head (nothing sexy about how I looked) and it had slippery rocks so just swam through. This was also the waterfall for herbal essences adverts...... Stunning :) We then headed back down the mountain to start driving to Townsville, we stopped a few times en route. An interesting stop was at a place called Tully, they had a giant gumboot statue. It was awarded to them as they had jointly with 3 other towns had the most recorded rainfall therefore they were the wettest town. Ha, random! When in Townsville the driver recommended we stayed at Magnetic Island, so we caught a ferry over there. The island looked beautiful from the small amount I saw and I wished I had more time to spend there but I didn't so made the most of the one night and morning I had (which was also valentines day). The hostel was on the beach, it was so picturesque and the rooms were little beach huts and only had 8 beds inside. So spent my valentines participating in a quiz night........ funny as :) Came 2nd to last so won a cup of goon (for those who don't know Aussies call cheap boxed white wine goon). The next day we didn't leave until midday, got the ferry back over to mainland and made our way to Airlie Beach. Again we stopped at a few places, one being a lookout at top of a mountain.... You could see for miles and the other was at a giant statue of a mango :)
When we arrived at Airlie Beach it was raining hard.... Blooming wet season. So after checking in and having our Whitsundays briefing we looked liked drowned rats, so just had a much needed long hot shower, packed for the Whitsundays trip and chilled. We had to be in the check in point the next day on the harbour at 8am, but it was a 15 minute walk in pouring rain from hostel however we kept getting lost so took about 25 minutes. At this point I must admit I had apprehensions about what the weekend was going to be like.... However I bloody loved it :) The boat which was going to be home for the next few days was called Hammer. She used to be a racing boat and is quite the Australian yachting legend. When I first boarded I was surprised how small she was, she could sleep 22 people, I think there were about 18 people on our tour plus 3 crew. The upstairs decking area was where we all sat when sailing and eating meals. The downstairs was for sleeping, making meals and using the toilet. When we first set sail the heavens opened again (that rain jacket mum lent me came in handy) the bottom of my dress got soaked and was really heavy so I decided to scrap it and braved it in my bikini, rain jacket and hat..... Looking hot :) The rain eased up as we got further away and luckily for us when we reached the first spot it had completely stopped. We had a bit of lunch then we needed to get ready to get off the boat. We had to put on stinger suits prior to leaving the boat, if we didn't we couldn't swim or go in water (it was jellyfish season). We got off at Tongue bay, which was the beginning of the bush walk we made to get to Whitehaven beach. I don't quite know how to describe Whitehaven Beach but I honestly thought I should be on a movie set. It was the most beautiful beach I ever had the pleasure of being on. The sand was so unique, it was so soft and fine. As you can probably guess it's white as well. The views were breathtaking and as soon as I could I ran in the ocean and spent most of the two hours we had on the beach bobbing in the sea..... Splendid :) We did go over to the shallow side of the ocean to see if we could see string rays and jelly fish, we even saw a small yellow shark..... You weren't allowed to swim in this part but unfortunately someone from another group did not take notice and got stung by a stingray.... Luckily he wasn't hurt badly! When we left the beach we then made our way Nora Inlet which was to be our resting place for the night. Whilst we were eating dinner (it had become dark) we noticed larger fishes trying to catch smaller fishes at the bottom of the boat were the spotlight was situated, they were literally jumping out the water.... Crazy. However the best thing of all, we saw three wild dolphins swimming around the same area.... I was made up with seeing fishes but the wild dolphins made my night, they were amazing. We all stayed up drinking and having a giggle eventually going to bed at 11pm ish. My first night sleeping on a boat was peaceful, I heard the rain occasionally other than that I slept well (the few glasses of goon- boxed white wine- probably helped). The following morning after breakfast we were all set to go to our first destination snorkelling, this was a place called Black island. This time instead of jumping off a the boat to get on the sea (like I had in Cairns) we went on a smaller boat and I fell in backwards.... Like a professional diver would into the ocean :) I loved snorkelling again, as before I saw lots of pretty coral and fishes but no turtles, we thought we might be able to at our next snorkelling destination which was Langford Sandbar but they didn't want to come say hello. Regardless I still took plenty of pictures and had so much fun :) After some lunch we had to sail back to Airlie Beach :( Whilst eating lunch which was quiche and salad, a piece of someone's lettuce flew into sea and these 3 massive fishes came and said hello :) I really actually enjoyed the sailing part of the trip too, you had your high side (where we all had to sit when sailing) and your low side so boat was literally tilted. You got to help out putting sails up and steering the boat too ...... Best trip I've had on east coast so far.....enjoyed every minute even the wet ones. It rained again that night in Airlie beach so just went out for dinner with few people off the boat and today we are making are way to an overnight stop of Agnes Waters, where I spend one night before going to Rainbow Bay for my Fraser Island tour on Wednesday.
Loving life at the moment can't believe I'm back in just over two weeks!!
Lots of love,
Cook xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Posted by Renae84 00:45 Archived in Australia

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Comments

wonderful stuff
Hope you are keeping the photo's safe.IE backing them up

Martin

18.02.2013 by Martin Buck

Looking forward to seeing all your photo's from Oz and NZ. Really proud of you for doing this trip and living your dreams xxx

18.02.2013 by Tracey Everritt

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