Sea the World

Trip Start Jul 17, 2006
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Trip End Jul 22, 2006


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Friday, July 21, 2006

Beginning in much the same fashion as the day previous, Thursday was another day of theme park action on the Gold Coast.
Unfortunately the weather was not the same as Wednesday, with looming clouds deciding to drop their load of H20 on us upon our arrival at Sea World. Luckily this shower was only short and consisted of light drizzle, so it did not stop us from exploring the park. The inclement morning weather also seemed to discourage people from visiting the park that day, resulting in relatively light crowds for our visit.

Our first instinct was naturally to head for the thrill rides, namely The Corkscrew, Australia's first triple loop roller coaster, openned on 17th September 1982. As the ride was not yet operating for the day, we made an about face and instead boarded the Vikings Revenge Flume Ride. This fast flowing water ride lacked scenery and really had no Viking connection except for the boats, at least the final drop was fun and produced a lot of spray! Funnily enough, when we were given the chance to ride again without disembarking, Belinda was the first to decline.

Continuing along with the previous day's wetness efficiency theory, we decided to see if the neighbouring boat ride, The Bermuda Triangle was operating yet. Unfortunately it too was still getting sorted for the morning, so we decided to head down to the Sea World Train station for a loop through the park. Making the 1km trip in around 15 minutes (that means an average of 4kph), the train leisurley took us around the back to have a look at the animal keeping areas, AQIS facilities and water filtration equipment before returning through the park past the Dolphin lagoons and under The Corkscrew.

No longer able to restrain ourselves, it was straight back to the coaster for a bit of back-to-back ride time. Due to the low number of park visitors at that time in the morning we were able to have 3 rides back-to-back, without having to re-queue. The first ride was had in the front seat, then the back and then the middle. Our final ride featured a spectacular "head chopper" moment as the monorail passed just above our heads at the end of the 2nd corkscrew. This was already a bad part of the ride due to the tracks feeling so close to each other, a feeling that was only intensified by the monorail passing simultaneously.

We took the opportunity to grab some pics and video of The Corkscrew from the viewing area below the track before making our way back over to The Bermuda Triangle. An unenthusiastically presented pre-show was followed by us boarding our exploratory craft for a journey inside some mysterious volcanoes. 8 minutes, 22 animatronic aliens and 2 wet splash downs later, we arrived back at the station in tact and alive! The story was corny and some of the themeing was dodgy, but the effects were cool and the fire was wicked so it was definately an attraction to come back to for another ride later that day.

The next stop for us was the Planet SOS 3D film, an 8perf/70mm iWERKS film presentation featuring a few "4D" effects, such as wind. It wasn't anything groundbreaking and was a bit disjointed but entertaining nonetheless. Straight out the exit doors and across the road we headed to board the Sea World Monorail. The Von Roll mark II design was different to mark III's that I'm used to, with slimmer doors, longer carriages and power pickups on only 1 side of the track.

The afternoon was then spent catching the shows whilst also fighting Belinda's cravings for overpriced Churo's. First up we saw the Waterski Wipeout show, a fun and exciting ski show set on the Gold Coast in the 1960's. Many cool tricks were acheived by the skiers including jumping from the cable car support tower into the water before barefooting, barefooting backwards, swivel skiing, jumping from ski's onto a jetski, various tricks on the jump of course the infamous skier pyramid. This show would probably be the biggest incentive for me to return to the park if they don't add any more exciting attractions in the coming years.

With a bit of time to kill before the next show, we headed back to The Corkscrew for another fun-filled, triple-looping experience. We also took the time to ride the adjacent Pirate Ship, swiging like a pendulum and thus providing it's passengers a lot of airtime.

Next up was The Quest for the Golden Seal, which we saw after making a stop at Polar Bear Shores. Apart from the shameless and annoying Coca-Cola sponsor endorsement chucked into the show's storyline, the show was entertaining enough, with the sea lions (not seals) sliding down slides and performing all kinds of slapstick antics with their human handlers.

We stopped in at the park's newest attraction, Shark Bay, on the way up to the Dolphin Cove show that started at 3pm. This set of shark lagoons is apparently the largest system of its kind in the world, featuring a touch pool and 2 main lagoons, featuring endangered sharks of different shapes and sizes, all viewable from above and below the waterline. It would be fun to fork out the cash and go on a SCUBA dive with the sharks in this controlled environment for 30 minutes or so.

The Dolphin show was interesting and enjoyable, although it didn't surprise me with anything new. I guess I was just spoilt by having the Underwater World dolphins up at Hillarys when I was little. An advantage of the Sea World show was the fact that they had 11 animals in that afternoon's show, so there was a lot to see by virtue of the sheer number of "performers". It was great seeing the dolphins interacting with their carers and a child from the audience, splashing each other and launching the carers in the air, surfing them etc. Although I did have a problem with the whole animal captivity/cruelty thing as they are restricted and they are trained to perform tricks for humans - is this really natural? At least at Shark Bay they could use the excuse that the sharks were endangered species in need of protection. In Sea World's defense, the dolphin lagoons are the largest lagoon system in the world, giving the animals the opportunity to swim pretty much the length of the theme park.

Following the show it was off to the nearby Sea World Nara Resort monorail station for a quick trip past The Corkscrew to the front of the park. We left the park just after 3:30pm fully satisfied, ready to catch up with my counsins and aunt in Southport.

My cousins Nina and Sarah arrived after a few minutes, but had a bit of trouble finding a the right place to pull up. A short 10 minute drive ensued, with my cousins and I having a chance to catch up, having not seen each other for the better part of 10 years! Once at my aunt Marlene's house it was more greetings, this time with another cousin, Jasper, and Marlene herself. Soon after we found ourselves on Marlene's FourWins boat for a sunset cruise on the Nerang River. We first cruised upstream to the waterski area and past our apartments before cruising downstream to Wavebreak, an island adjacent to the Gold Coast Seaway. The only ones willing to disembark for a quick walk along the shore of the island were Marlene, myself and the dogs Tammy and Bonnie. After the breif stop we were back on our way to the house on the canals in Southport, with Belinda, Sarah and Nina all rugged up against the increasing cold.

Back at the house we socialised before Belinda and I used the internet to check up on a few details as well as update this blog a tiny bit before dinner. Our sausage sizzle (that was at one point planned for Wavebreak) was had at the house, in the company of Marlene's neighbour, who had managed to lock herself out of her house.
At the end of the evening Marlene showed us around the house, which is nearing the completion of its renovation. We were returned to Surfer's by Sarah, who dropped us at the IGA a few short blocks from the apartments so that we could buy a little extra milk and washing up supplies.

We were thoroughly enjoying our trip and were dismayed by the fact that we were now halfway through!
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