After dropping off our bags in our room
All the shops and restaurants are bundled together in a 4 block radius, making it very pedestrian friendly. And because of the reef and the rain forest, it is a big tourist town, especially for student travellers. There was a hostel on every corner and young people everywhere! A complete 180 from the cruise where we were one of the few young couples on board. We were excited to check out the bar scene and headed straight over to Courthouse (a bar that used to be the city's courthouse), where they had $3 coronas. Sold!
After our fix of music and beer we made a stop at the grocery store for beer and snacks:
rice crispys? rice bubbles? easily entertained
Monday morning we got up, grabbed some food, and walked over to our dive boat. We eventually boarded, filled out paperwork and grabbed some coffee. We were all encouraged to take sea sick pills if we get motion sickness because it was going to be a very bumpy ride. Matt said he would be fine, I was a little nervous and didn't want to ruin my day by getting sick, so I took the pills. And thank god I did! I would say almost half the boat was puking their guts out. Yuck.
this poor guy was sick all day long.
We listened to instructions from our dive master and learned all about the fish we were to leave alone. The was a "shooter" fish that was likely to attack you if you got too close to it's territory, and one actually bit a girl the day before. I was quickly trying to memorize all the information. I did not want to go home with teeth marks from a fish, no thanks.
After a 45 minute ride we finally arrived at the outer reef. We geared up and hopped right into the water.
the water was so blue and warm!
All the divers wore thin lycra suits for protection. It was jellyfish season and we didn't need to get stung by any of them! We did 3 separate dives with a short break in between each. We saw nurse sharks, clown fish, clams, sea turtles, lots of beautiful coral, and a few of those territorial shooter fish. Here are some underwater images the photographer took:
We actually stuck our hands in the clam shell and got to feel how soft it was! We also got to pet the turtle! Our dive instructor was feeding him so we each got to swim up and touch his shell and his fins. It was really awesome! And we actually touched the Anemone, where the clown fish lives, and the ends stick to your fingers. It was pretty cool.
Here we are, having the time of our lives scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef!!!
I sorta look distraught in these pics, but that's only because I didn't smile. I was super happy!
We also did a little bit of snorkeling after our dives. We had the time and I wanted to be in the water as much as possible! I wanted to soak it all in and really enjoy my experience out there. I don't know if I will ever be able to see the reef again, so I needed to see as much as possible! We also had some relaxation time on the boat, where we soaked up the sun and took some more pictures.
It was a perfect day outside. I am so glad we were able to make it up to Cairns so we could experience the reef. After hours out in the water and the sun we headed back to land.
our hotel in the distance
After showering and relaxing for a bit we walked through town and stopped for dinner at Ochre restaurant. It was recommended to us by some friends for the great local cuisine. And boy was it delicious! I decided to branch out, I had the kangaroo for dinner! It was actually really good (I wish I had a picture). It was a lot like steak, except a little gamier, and apparently much healthier for you. I couldn't bring myself to try the crocodile, even though it was another local favorite. After our fabulous dinner we walked to a nearby pub for some drinks. We quickly made friends with some travelling Germans and spent the rest of the night drinking beer and bar hopping with them.
We took the garland off the bar and decorated ourselves, this was actually the boys idea.
and we picked up some awesome hats at our final bar
It was such a great day! We got to experience the ocean and the reef, then the local cuisine, and finally the city itself. I could not have asked for a more perfect day.
Up tomorrow: Our last vacation day~ the reef from above, a really awesome zoo, and picture perfect beaches!!