After a quick 4 hour flight, myself and 4 friends landed in the great city of Cairns. The city, located in the tropical Northern part of Queensland is home to much of the Great Barrier Reef, rainforests, and a great night life. While there is a university in Cairns, most of the people there are tourists…and most of them are my age too. So we checked in pretty late to our wonderful hostel Gilligan’s. The whole hostel life, I’ve realized, isn’t really for me. Although, by the end of the trip, I found living out of a suitcase quite easy…I just had to dig for the only clean t-shirt. Anyway, our hostel was a simple room with 4 bunk beds, a toilet, shower, and balcony. They reception area had lockers which we kept our passports and ipod in, but for some odd reason I trusted the strangers in my hostel room. I guess they trusted me too. I always say that Melbourne is the safest place to live, and I never feel at harm, and even in close quarters with strangers, Cairns felt oddly safe too. We then wandered around a bit and the guys picked up some grub, tomorrow was going to be an early day.
We woke up bright and early to adventure into the Great Barrier Reef. We hoped on our sweet boat, got some free breakfast, and signed up to…scuba dive. YEP. This was not part of our original itinerary, but we thought, why not? I mean, how many times can you say you went scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef? My point exactly. So we signed our life away on a form and listened to an awesome marine bio presentation about the wildlife 15 meters below sea level. We strapped on our tanks, or jet packs, and practiced breathing underwater. It was such a strange sensation…and took heaps of focus. But I got it. We shimmied down into the water and down we went. We went 15 meters in 20 minutes but boy, oh boy was it worth it! I touched the coral and swam amongst sea turtles, sharks, a school of squid, and heaps of other amazing fish. The coral was neon and incredible and the clams were purple and so soft. There is actually no way to put into words what I saw, and no underwater camera could do it justice. Finding Nemo was pretty spot on. When I was down there I was in complete awe, I kept looking behind me and above me and all around and still couldn’t believe where I was.
We sailed around some more, got some lunch, tanned a bit, and went snorkeling. I held a sea cucumber and it was nasty. They are alive, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at it or holding it. It was like a big seaweed wrap filled with sand. Yuck. Yuck. Yuck.
As if day 1 wasn’t exciting enough, the itinerary for day 2 was skydiving. Oy vey. I’m really not the bravest or most adventurous person in the world by any means, but you’re young once…and you’re in Australia once. (although I’m moving to Melbourne…shh) When we showed up to the skydiving office and they told us the big plane broke down, I started to freak out a bit. But “no worries, mate” we’ll put you on the small plane. My friends got divided into 2 planes and we signed our life away once again…we watched the video but really, how could you possibly pay attention to that?? I was FREAKING OUT! I met my tandem diver and he was full of dreads and tats…the kinda guy who should be sky diving. We drove out to the airplane…I didn’t even feel the plane take off, I was nervous as all get up. Ah. Luke jumped first, I screamed for him. Sophia went next…I screamed more. Then it was my turn, I looked down and all I saw was clouds. I would have said…wait I don’t really want to do this, but instead we somersaulted out of plane, through the clouds and finally the parachute jerked us up. I was alive and I could finally enjoy the scenery down. It was GORGEOUS! The beach and rocky shores on one side and farm land on the other. When I was in control of the parachute, we spiraled down and landed directly on my feet. WOW.
Then we needed a relaxing rest of the day, so we hung by the pool, got some ice cream, cooked some dinner, and went out for a pub crawl.