Well, we made it to Australia! Australia and New Zealand are how this whole trip got started, and I can’t wait to see what they have to offer!
We took the Qantas airbus A380 from Singapore to Sydney (a super big double decker plane). This was our second first class flight (the other one was the Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong). Of course, we wanted to get the full experience! Go big or go home. Well, we should have gone home. The flight was only about 7 hours. When they woke us up for landing, we were both sick as dogs! It’s hard to resist free flowing booze. We’re only human…..although neither of us felt human by the end! It must have been poisoned wine.
Anyway, we made it off the flight, went through immigration, grabbed our luggage, re-checked our luggage, and took a bus to the domestic terminal….all this with our barf bags in tow!
Our next flight was Sydney to Cairns. This is about a 3 hour flight. Justin was feeling a good bit better by this point. I was still struggling. I was so tired, dehydrated, and hungover that I didn’t even mind the screaming babies. I slept on and off while Justin edited pictures on the computer.
After that flight, I grabbed the luggage while Justin got the rental car. This is the first time we have been able to get around on our own since we left home!
In Australia, they drive on the opposite side of the road and the driver’s seat is where our passenger’s seat is. Justin has driven on the opposite side before, but the driver’s seat has been in the regular spot (Anguilla, BVI). We had about an hour drive on a windy road. I don’t know how I didn’t puke (I started to feel worse in the car).
Justin does a great job driving, and he’s very careful (don’t worry Mrs. Leigh!). The biggest problem that he is having is that every time he tries to turn on the turn signal, the windshield wipers come on! And I laugh every time!
In Port Douglas, we are staying in an apartment. It’s pretty nice and has everything that we need. As soon as we walked in, I fell face forward on the bed and that’s where I stayed for the next 2 hours….hoping for death. I’m sure none of y’all have ever had that feeling, right?
While I was sleeping, Justin carried all the luggage out of the car and up three flights of stairs (good husband).
When I woke up, I was feeling much much better and we walked around downtown Port Douglas. It has a very cute beachy vibe with lots of little shops and restaurants. We also went to the grocery for some essentials and went back to the apartment.
For dinner, we ate at a cute restaurant across the street called Zinc. I tried kangaroo for the first time. It tastes pretty much like beef.
We went back to the apartment and went to bed.
We had to meet the dive boat at 8:40 today. I did not want to get out of bed (until I heard Justin making coffee).
Luckily, the marina was very close, and we were right on time. Justin chose the Calypso dive group for our Great Barrier Reef Dive. He read many good reviews and the dive/snorkel groups are relatively small.
Actually, the boat was only about 1/3 full (this is their low season) so we had plenty of space. Most of the people on the boat were snorkelers. There were only 5 divers (including us). It was a much bigger boat than the one we were on in Thailand, so it took us longer to get to the dive site. It was about an hour and a half each way.
I have been nervous about this dive for 2 years. Any time you watch a nature show about dangerous underwater creatures, they are always in Australia! I just knew that I was going to step off the boat into the mouth of a great white shark. And if that didn’t happen, I would be immediately surrounded by box jellyfish and die immediately. Well, I’m glad to say that none of that happened, and it was one of the best dives that we have ever done.
We dove three separate time, and they were all beautiful. The reefs are very shallow, so they were easy dives and there was alot of light from the sun. The colors of the coral were gorgeous…..blues, yellows, purples etc. There were also tons of fish. We both wished that we could have stayed down there for 2 hours each time. Unfortunately, each dive was about 45 minutes.
Also, I felt very comfortable with Calypso’s safety policies. After each site, each staff member did a head count. Also, after each dive, you had to write down your maximum depth, bottom time, and initial the board.
Overall, it was a day that we will never forget!
One more thing, it is “stinger” season (ie box jelly fish season, so everyone had to wear a wet suit). But the ecologist on the boat said that in 25 years of diving the reef, he has only seen 2 in that area. They typically stay close to the shore. Plus, he said that if they see you, they quickly swim away. He said that they have highly developed eyes….who knew?!?!