Thursday, August 13, 2009

Cairns stopover

While Andy has been hard at work in Sydney I have been holding the fort and living it up in Far North Queensland. Safely esconced in Cairns Holiday Park, the closest to Cairns CBD, I have been able to tidy up (a bit) and get my daily exercise along the much used Cairns esplanade.

*Nesting sunbird at Cairns Holiday Park.
For the first few days my time was taken up with endless loads of washing and various other essential jobs such as getting my dive gear out to dust off....just in case.

After 3 days of walking and cleaning I was getting an itch for the underwater world. Here I was at the gateway to the greatest coral reef system in the world and I'm sitting on my hands. The weather hadn't been ideal for diving as it it had been incredibly windy with showers and storms most afternoons. With an eye to the forecast I decided Sunday should be suitably improved for a day on the reef.

After a little research I decided Tusa was the outfit for me - they were offering a 3 for 2 deal! After an early pick up (7:05 yikes) I was on my way to Milln reef about 1 hour 40 mins from Cairns marina. With the water still a "little" choppy the intro and briefing included countless suggestions for the taking of anti sea-sickness meds. Take them now they said, if you have an inkling you might get crook, take them the crew begged us. Clearly nobody thought they got seasick.
*Reefscape complete with white tip reef shark.
Within half an hour most of the now unhappy punters were chucking into little brown paper bags. I avoided the back deck and spent most of my time in the wheel house chatting with the crew. No, I didn't get seasick although I had a few seconds queasiness as I squeezed my wetsuit on, nothing a quick glance at the horizon didn't fix.

Due to my experience and lack of a buddy I was teamed up with the crew for "fun dives" rather than the group diving most others were opting for. I had a fantastic day and spent most of it with the crew who treated me like an equal. I even got to dive slightly different sites to the rest of the punters with tender drops on bommies and a one way swim rather than the normal out and back scenario.
*Humphead wrasse or Napolean wrasse, one of the larger of the wrasses.
Turtles, sharks, barracuda, being buzzed by spanish good to be back underwater.

On Monday Ma & Pa Johnston flew in to Cairns for a holiday in the sun. This was all timed perfectly so that we'd be able to spend some time with them. After settling them into their motel down the road we headed down to the waterfront for a spot of lunch and few cleansers. We also made a few tentative plans regarding an itinerary for the next few days.
*View over the Daintree and out to the Coral Sea.

On Tuesday we headed up to the Daintree for the day. Had a lovely day sightseeing up the coast and stopped for a picnic lunch on Thornton Beach. We didn't quite make it to Cape Trib this time but the beaches up there all look pretty much alike.

*Mum and Dad at the lookout.

Yesterday (Wed) we made an early start and headed to Kuranda. After a bit of brekky and a sleaze around the markets we bee lined for Birdworld. Jeannie purchased some birdy food, and boy did they love her for it. I don't generally like to see birds in cages but many of the birds there are either injured or ex-pets that can't be released. The exotic species are part of a breeding programme. They had a huge aviary and could fly around which they did at very close quarters.

*KJ with a sun conure, a native of South America. These bright and very noisy birds were possibly the noisiest of the lot, even outdoing the rainbow lorikeets in the screeching stakes.

*Jeannie with sun conures and an Alexandrine parrot (from India I think).

*Floyd the Major Mitchell especially liked the brim of Dads hat and was quickly devouring it.

Andy and I are heading for the hills for a few days camping over the weekend. We'll let Mum and Dad enjoy a few days of their holiday in peace doing holiday type things.

The only thing on the agenda today is snorkeling lessons in Cairns lagoon for Jeannie in anticipation of day on the reef some time. We'll see how it goes.

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