The Great Barrier Reef
Trip Start May 29, 2008
102Trip End Dec 19, 2008
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Not more than 10 minutes into having the campervan, I crashed it at a local McDonald's parking lot. I ran the side of it into a flatbed truck overhanging in a parking spot. When I said I wanted to kick off the Australian trip with a bang that wasn't exactly what I meant. It rattled us but we went in to the McDonald's, had our breakfast, and kept on driving. The people were exceptionally nice which we found out to be true throughout most of the country. People would literally honk at us until we pulled over for them to tell us that we had something hanging from the side of our vehicle - it was the bumper strip on the side that was just dangling after the accident. Construction workers would stop everything they were doing, stop traffic, just to get to us in the middle of the road to warn us that there was something dangling from our vehicle. We finally wised up and felt it wasn't too cool to make these people bend over backwards to ensure our safety so we did what any other self-respecting trailer trash would do - we bought duct tape! Duct tape could solve almost any problem including dangling panels on campervans, engine work, and, heck, it could probably even cure cancer if you used it right. It came in handy for us as we stitched up our dangling panel right up. No more good samaritans going out of their way to help us - nope, they just saw the duct tape and knew we were the real deal trailer caravaners.
We headed up from Cairns into Port Douglas which is home to the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest. The only place in the world where two world heritage sites intersect. Port Douglas was a lovely little town filled with watersport activities, beaches, pubs, and gourmet restaurants. We had time to hang out there locally for a while and enjoy 4-mile beach which is as the name indicates a sprawling beach that runs for 4 miles. Rachel and I went out there for sunset to enjoy an Australian bottle of wine. Unfortunately, the sun on the eastern side of Australia doesn't set on the ocean. Oh well, at least we had our bottle of wine.
The next day we headed out to scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef. We were lucky because it was raining in Pt. Douglas for days before our trip out. The day we went out to sea to scuba, it was immaculate. We actually arrived at the counter to check-in and the attendant asked us "How are you going?" Kind of stumped, I said by the boat that we chartered with you guys hopefully. I thought it was a little brash for her to ask such a question. It turns out that most Aussies say that to ask "How are you doing?" Maybe they were saying doing but it was just their accent that sounded like going - either way, everyone said it. The dive guides were super nice and the food they had on the boat was top notch for a scuba trip. Rachel didn't feel too lucky as the rocking of the boat hit her hard and she became seasick shortly after we shoved off. Nevertheless, the diving was great. We got to see some fantastic wildlife under the sea. I got this amazing picture of Nemo hiding in a sea anemonemonemeneee. It was the cutest thing and we had to take a couple of shots. Unfortunately, we never saw a sea turtle riding the Great Barrier Reef waves like in the movie. The visibility was not as good as some other tropical destinations we've scuba dived before but still very, very clear.