Seeing the Reef

Trip Start Sep 05, 2005
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206
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Trip End Ongoing


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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Since arriving in Cairns I haven't really done much but at least I am enjoying myself here. The people at the hostel are all great, it's warm and I'm not spending too much money. On Sunday evening we all went to the Woolshed for the free dinner and ended up staying until 2am. Great night sitting around chatting, playing pool and watching goldfish racing. Yes, goldfish racing! People paid ridiculous amounts of money to buy a goldfish and try to win a $100 bar tab. Surprisingly good fun. The strangest part of the night was meeting 3 separate groups of people who all lived within 20 miles of my house! I hadn't met a single person before and then 4 in one night!

Job hunting isn't going too well so I'm kind of in limbo about what to do. I went to the recruitment office in town and there is basically nothing in Cairns. All the harvest work is behind schedule due to bad weather but I should be able to find work in the next week. So incase I had to leave in a hurry I decided I had to see the Great Barrier Reef before I left.

It was an early start but we finally set off at around 8:30. I had paid $99 for this trip so It better be worth it! It took nearly 2 hours to reach Saxon reef, during which time the weather deteriorated drastically. I had been sitting outside enjoying the sun but the clouds soon arrived and the sea started to get rough. I could have paid extra to do a dive but:

1) I can't afford it
2) I want to do a fully certified PADI course if I am going to dive and that costs more money than I have!

Snorkelling is good enough anyway.

Got to Saxons reef and it was freezing! I had to borrow a wet suit for the day which really sucked as it made me so buoyant that I couldn't really swim below the surface. The reef was still very impressive. Loads of fish everywhere although the coral was nowhere near as bright as I had expected. Saw a few clown fish (Nemo) though which was pretty cool.

After about an hour or so swimming around I was starving and it was time for the buffet lunch. Prawns, fish, steak, sausages and loads of salads. Good to have a decent sized meal again. By now it was really starting to get choppy outside, just what you need after a big lunch! The journey to the next reef wasn't much fun but thankfully only took about 10 minutes.

It was raining, windy and cold when I got outside so the idea of forfeiting the wet suit was thrown out the window. Hastings reef was much shallower and therefore more colourful. You were basically swimming 2 foot above the coral which was quite dangerous, especially with the rough sea conditions, and I tried to keep my legs away to avoid loads of cuts like I had in Thailand! Loads of big fish around and I snorkeled until I got bored. Took loads of photos with a disposable camera I bought so hopefully a couple of pics will turn out half decent. Doubt it. Bit disappointed that I didn't see any sharks or turtles but it was still a good day. Journey back to Cairns (50KM's) was rather dull and I fell asleep for most of it. Free wine, cheese and crackers though!

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The last few days I have watched some seriously crap movies but The Transporter 2 has to take the prize of most ridiculous film I have ever seen. It was a total joke from start to finish. Also watched a really bad American TV movie, Flash, about a kid who rides his horse thousands of miles across America to meet his Dad in NY. So bad it was funny!
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