02.02.2014 - 07.02.2014 25 °C
So we made it to Cairns after surviving the dreaded Tigerair flight! We'd heard Tigerair horror stories of faulty planes and huge delays, and anybody who knows me, will know I HATE flying anyway. So I diazepamed up as usual, and had my sick bag at the ready. But, I need not have worried, as the flight went without a hitch, and we arrived safe and sound in Cairns.
Cairns is not what we expected - it looks more like a beach-side resort town, rather than a major city. Hotels and seafood restaurants line the esplanade, whilst tropical rainforestry forms a stunning backdrop. There isn't really a beach as such, and crocs and sharks mean people aren't really allowed to swim in these areas anyways. But there is a great public swimming pool, and BBQ area.
Our first few days here we spent just relaxing and catching up on sleep, after the excitement of Sydney - the storm and tropical weather (it's rainy season here at the moment!) left us with little choice anyway.
Although, there was some drama: Our second evening, we were casually walking along the esplanade, when we heard a loud screech and bang... A sports car going rediculously fast, had crashed head-on into a lampost on the pavement! Seconds later, the driver drunkenly stumbled from the car, and both him and his passenger fled the scene! Needless to say they weren't injured, but the car was a complete write-off. Shortly after, the police arrived and we gave our statements - lets hope they catch the little sh*ts. Turns out we'd been witness to grand theft auto! And the way he was driving, someone definitely could have got hurt, although thankfully nobody was.
Enjoying the 'sunny' weather of Cairns.
With our travel pals Conny and Marcus (who we met all those months ago on our China trip!) at the public grills.
Thursday, our last full day in Cairns, we snorkelled The Great Barrier Reef!
Before the catamaran's departure Thursday morning - all aboard!
The Great Barrier Reef was an amazing (and for me, slightly scary) experience, which we felt we had to do whilst here - it's the main reason most people visit Cairns!
Ben on our journey out to The Reef.
We snorkelled at two sights on The Reef - Paradise Reef first, and Michaelmas Cay second. Both were home to beautiful coral and brightly coloured fish. The second stop was slightly better, as there was also gigantic turtles and someone even spotted a tiger shark! (I'm so glad that wasn't me!) The scuba divers of the group also spotted reef sharks roaming the bottom of the sea bed. Again, glad that wasn't me!
My favourite spot of the day was a huuuuuge clam - we initially mistook it for a hard coral formation it was that large! I also loved the fish that were tiger striped and leopard print - very fashionable fish!
All ready for our first snorkel on The Great Barrier Reef.
Ben snorkel geared-up!
Following this, his unfortunate sunburn! I haven't stopped laughing yet.
Unfortunately Ben and I personally didn't take any photos underwater - neither of us have a waterproof camera, and it's extortionately/ridiculously expensive to rent one. But here's a few of the things we saw - photos courtesy of Conny and Marcus:
Needless to say, we don't need stacks of photographs to remember all of the GBR's beautiful sights - they'd be impossible to forget...
Snorkelling the GBR is another highlight of the trip for us, and we feel lucky to have experienced it. Especially as some of the fish species, especially the sharks, are now threatened due to over fishing. Sharks are sadly fished just for their fins - cruelly their fins are sliced off, the sharks are then put back in the water where they sink to the bottom, and are hence left to drown. They're also fished and killed purely due to Human fear of them - how unfair is this, when they're just in their natural habitat?! A habitat that is of course, a very un-natural one for us (unless we grow fins and scales!!)
The boat company we chose for our trip (Passions of Paradise) work alongside a shark preservation and research charity, which was a great way for us to contribute towards the preservation of these amazing (and totally scary!!) animals.
On a personal level, I felt very brave to have accomplished the GBR snorkel as anybody who knows me will know I HATE swimming out of my depth in the sea. Let alone knowing there's sharks about!! Minus a few minor panic attacks upon coming face to face with several jellyfish, I'm really proud of myself - it seems I'm conquering quite a few fears on this trip
We're now five days in to our campervan roadtrip down Australia's east coast, with our travel companions Conny and Marcus. We're having lots of fun and I have many a story to tell! I'll be posting a blog for our first week in the camper shortly