Cairns and beyond
'I am betting on candidate number two for sure'. Yes I was number two of the group of six seasick people sat at the back of the boat aparently looking the worst as 90% of the bets were placed on me throwing up first. Luckily I got out to the Great Barrier Reef with my breakfast still inside me. And the reef was well worth the awful journey out. After getting suited up in wetsuit, mask, snorkel and flippers we jumped into the water to have a look around the first site.
Loads of nemo's were spotted ofcourse but also multicoloured rainbow fish, all different shapes and sizes and even some colourful coral inbetween the grey and blacks. The state of the coral was quite depressing knowing all the grey bits were dead coral.
Getting back on the boat buffet lunch was served. After wobbling my way down the boat and falling right out of the door I did actual manage to keep food on my plate and the warm soup was very welcome after the cold water swim.
The second site we stopped at was even more spectacualr with a so called 'cleaning station'. A group of smaller fish that clean the bigger fish as they come past. So like in disneys Sharktale loads of different kinds of fish all swimming in an almost straight line. All you had to do was float above to see it all happen. This site also had a massive high coral bed which you could float around and see lots of active fish. I even saw a small shark swim across here!!
The journey back into Cairns was very rough with strong winds and waves slamming into you even on the top deck. Scary at times but an amazing day.
The next morning was a hard get up. Standing outside the hostel at 7am to go off to Cape Tribulation. This is part of the Daintree Rainforest, the oldest rainforest in the world. We stopped off for morning tea at Port Douglas, lovely little town with a beautiful beach fitted with a jellyfish net for safe swimming. Our guide George, being an aboriginal who grew up in the rainforest and who is related to the first king of Cairns back in the day, had some interesting stories to tell us. The beach we were sat on was the birthplace of his grandfather, the coconut trees we we were using for shade he used to climb to buy a bottle of rum. The price of a bottle being equal to the selling of four coconuts to tourists.
After taking the ferry across the Daintree river and being slightly freaked out with all the crocodile stories ( quite a few people had been taken by crocs on that river) we got into the rainforest and went for a walk. As we were getting out of the bus there we saw a group of people all madly taking pictures of something inbetween the trees. Right there, not too far away from us all was a cassowary. The gorgeous massive bird can apparently be extremely aggressive so I didnt manage to get close enough for a foto. After walking along the boardwalk for a while we did also get to see a dragon and as George explained 'just a little spider. I did see one turn around and kill a snake once though'. We didnt see much more wildlife but all the information George gave us about different trees and fruits was very interesting. Like that the inside of termite mounds is used to make a drink for pregnant woman as it has loads of nutrients in it.
Once the morning tour was over we got dropped at our accomodation for the next four days; Ferntree rainforest lodge. Extremely peaceful with two beautiful pools, paths through the rainforest and little wooden cabins made up this backpackers resort. There is no internet and no phone network throughout the entire resort so you have no other choice than to sit back, relax and enjoy the nature.
Just 200 metres down the road you can get onto an amazing beach which is almost always completely abandoned except for the piles of wood lying everywhere washed up by the cyclone a couple of weeks ago. The 'must do' boardwalk Dubuji was also closed off because of the cyclones aftermath.
Different amazing walks were possible though like down to a natural waterhole where you could swim and along the beach across little streams, through trees and across rocks. The weather kept having dramatic changes being really sunny one second and pouring it down the next. Massive flies and leeches were more of a problem than spiders and snakes even though a fewmassive spiders where definitely spotted.
The day we left the rain did not stop. Even though this stopped us swimming in the Mosman gorge and ruined a couple of views it made the Daintree river cruise all the better. Rain and wind makes the crocs leave the water and we managed to spot three plus a baby. The alpha male of the river Scarface was by far the biggest compared to the younger and smaller Scooter and Fangs. Yet all the crocodiles and the gorgeous kingfisher where amazing sites to see ending our stay at Cape Tribulation.
Now back in Cairns a week of rest before its off to the Whitsundays and then work in Bundaberg.