Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"...sittin' in the morning sun, I'll be sittin' when the evenin' come, watching the ships roll in, and then I'll watch 'em roll away again..."

This past weekend, I had a whirlwind trip to the far north of Queensland to the town of Cairns. Cairns is the jumping off point to the Great Barrier Reef and the town is beautiful. It is nestled between the mountains and the sea, with a climate much like that of Florida. I made my way up to Cairns because four years ago when I fulfilled my dream of visiting Australia, I went there and on my way to the Reef, I became seasick and ruined the experience. This time, I was determined to change that! On Saturday morning, I headed out to the Reef and took plenty of ginger tablets to avoid the seasickness and it appeared to be working. We make it out to the Reef and they give me my "I'm too sexy" wetsuit and apparently, I am in between wetsuit sizes, so a 5 is too big and a 4 is too small. However, when it comes to wetsuits, you go with the small because water seeping in can mess up the fun. Anyways, I jump in the water and the adventure begins. Tons of fish, coral, and deep, blue water. Because I am a genius, I decided to swim down to the sand and touch it. It was about 15 feet deep. So, I hold my breath and swim down. Right as I get down, I realize that my asthmatic, baby lungs can not handle the pressure but I was determined. So, I grab the sand like a champion and then swim up quick to avoid the on-set of a self inflicted seizure. I make it to the top and can barely breathe, so I unzip my "corset of pain" (aka wetsuit) and jump on the boat. The rocking boat, lack of oxygen, and rib crushing suit led to one thing...that's right, vomit. Ok, so I am two for two. Two trips, two sicks! Luckily though, as soon as I threw up, I was 100% ok. We took the boat to another spot on the Reef and I took a submarine tour and swam way too far away from the boat for my liking, in hindsight, of course and swam over the most amazing piece of Reef. It was full of so many random, colorful fish. It was a great day! I forgot to mention that I also caused a rip in the back of my wetsuit. Too many trips to McDonald's has done me in. On Saturday night, we went out on the town and I was too tired to pay too much attention but one crazy event did happen. Here is the short version. Went into McDonald's, crazy lady randomly comes out of nowhere and joins me at my table, crazy lady grabs one of my friends and tries to kiss her, crazy lady tells me that the government is after her, crazy lady makes weird references to body parts, I get up to leave, and crazy lady screams and pulls up her shirt for the whole of McDonald's to see. No lie. There are witnesses! Enough of that. On Sunday, I went to a place called Green Island which is closer to the land but still a part of the Reef system and did some snorkeling there. At points the water was so shallow that you had to carefully swim over the Reef or risked being cut by the coral. Also, as a side note, when putting on flippers in shallow water, if you go to fall try not to land on a set of underwater rocks or else your hand will get cut and then people will freak out because you are bleeding in water in Australia. All in all, this weekend was amazing. It was a nice break from the chilly weather in Sydney and a great opportunity for the rare chance to see somewhere like the Great Barrier Reef for a second time.

(The Reef from Green Island pier)

(Wally, the giant fish that let everyone pet him in the middle of the Ocean)

(Liverpool versus Florida - who will win?)

(An island view)

(Land Ho!)

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