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Thursday, April 22nd, 2004

So Jim returned from his diving trip yesterday and he had a great time. He saw sharks and huge turtles and lots of things.

Today we went on a snorkeling trip just for me, since I can’t go by myself and I need Jim to help.

We got on the boat at 8 and it took about 2 hours to get to the outer reef.

The boat was full of Americans, which was a shocker. We figure that the only place you find Americans are the higher-priced package deal tours and things like that, because they are too afraid NOT to do that.

It seemed like everyone was from NY, and we talked to some cool retired professors from Vermont. Our catamaran went thru a small storm and everyone came inside and one of the teachers hurled into a bag right next to me. I had to calm myself so I didn’t get sick but after the storm passed, everything was fine.

The first snorkel was right off the boat. I was surprised how wavy the water was. So I put on the flippers, life jacket and got a mask and Jim jumped right in and I started to climb in down the ladder. The water was so wavy and it felt cold (even though it wasn’t that cold) and seemed so deep and it was so scary. I don’t feel like talking about it anymore.

Here’s a picture of the reef. Not a very good one; arial shots are awesome, though. You can see a little where the reef is by the different colors.

So next we went to a tiny sand hill in the water and they took us out on the promised “glass bottomed boat.”

“Glass Bottomed Boat”

Classy, huh?

We got to the sand bar and were able to walk right into the water. Finally Jim got me to calm down and go under and it was great. The water was less wavy but still a wavy enough to worry me. It was quite shallow but there were still lots of pretty fish.

The coolest thing we saw were a couple blue-spotted rays. He swam right towards us and you could see his angry looking little eyes. It was awesome.

Jim took a bunch of pictures with the disposable water-proof camera we bought.

This is what one looks like (I took this from another site).

Here is a pic of the ray from our cheap underwater camera.

A close-up from the same pic. The colors are dreadful even after I photoshopped it and you can’t see the bright blue spots. He has mean little eyes, though. I gave it the finger and made myself laugh and water come in my mask and I freaked out.

[read on]

Aboriginal Learning

Wednesday, April 21st, 2004

I went to the “Aboriginal cultural park” just north of Cairns, called Tjapukai.

I had huge reservations about going because it seemed weird to have a park …well….like that. You know?

I went anyway since I don’t know anything about them and thought it would be fun to learn. Also, we are leaving Australia soon for NZ so I wanted to so something “Australia.”

A performance

I got to throw a spear and get one-on-one instruction from an Aboriginal person on throwing a boomerang. It was pretty neat. Also saw dancing and some movies/acting about their history and what they believe about creation. (Everything comes from a cassowary egg.)
Teaching tourists how to throw the spear.

I will tell more later! Gotta go!

Cairns Zoorific

Tuesday, April 20th, 2004
For today, I planned to go to either the Cairns zoo or the Aboriginal park thingy. The hostel I am staying at, Gilligan's, is awesome. When I woke up in the nice bed, with the nice blanket, I did NOT ... [Continue reading this entry]

Another Day of Me

Monday, April 19th, 2004
So yesterday I failed miserably at my task to find a cheap New Zealand Lonely Planet. I thought they would be everywhere, even used ones, since it is common for people to go to or come from NZ to ... [Continue reading this entry]

Left to my Own Devices

Monday, April 19th, 2004
I thought it would be fun when Jim went on his diving trip today trip because I had a great time by myself when I came to Sydney before him, so I should have a great time again. But Cairns is ... [Continue reading this entry]

Cairns Plans

Sunday, April 18th, 2004
Yesterday, in Cairns, our plan was to figure out what diving trip Jim would take and what snorkeling trip we would take together. It was a sticky situation. Jim didn't need to come snorkeling except for the fact ... [Continue reading this entry]

Enduring Whitsundays

Saturday, April 17th, 2004
So. Whitsundays. (Or "Wetsundays," as Jim calls them...) First of all, the Whitsundays are a group of islands, FYI. And every backpacker traveling up the east coast does the islands as well as Fraser Island, so we weren't breaking any new ... [Continue reading this entry]

Pics Added

Monday, April 12th, 2004
G'day all, I just spent an hour adding lots of pics. There are a bunch on the Fraser Island entry and ones in "Easter in the Sticks" and "Movin on up" I think. If you just scroll down you ... [Continue reading this entry]

Easter in the Sticks

Sunday, April 11th, 2004
Hi y'all.. I had no idea Australia had so many tiny little towns that were so.....well, hick! Other than the main big cities here-Sydney, Brisbane, Adeliade, Melbourne, Darwin and Perth (maybe Cairns so some other ones I don't know about) ... [Continue reading this entry]

Fraser Island

Thursday, April 8th, 2004
Yesterday and the day before we did Fraser Island, the world's largest sand island. I think something like 99% sand! We booked the trip at a Peter Pan office (travel agents for backpackers) along with the Whitsundays trip (these two ... [Continue reading this entry]