Great Barrier Reef

December 11, 2013
Wednesday December 11th, 2013 will go down as the day my mind was officially blown. Jessica and I took a two hour boat ride from Cairns to the Great Barrier Reef. The crew on the boat said conditions couldn’t have been any better with no cloud cover, calm waters and temps nearing 40C (the water temp was around 29C). However, the calm waters did nothing for Jessica’s seasickness. By the time we reached our first dive site, she had lost all colour in her face and was holding the small white bag… the one you find in the seat pocket on a plane.

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When you are on the Great Barrier Reef, you can’t let a little seasickness get in the way. Shortly after we arrived at the reef, Jess pulled on her mask and snorkel and hopped off the back of the boat. First sighting… a shark! While Jess was snorkelling, I was 40 feet below the surface on my first ocean dive. I found Nemo and had my picture taken with ‘Wally’, a Napolean Wrasse. The guide said he was 4-5 feet long and about 200 lbs. Wally was nice enough to stick around and pose for pictures and let us rub his cheeks.

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It is difficult to describe the feeling when this massive fish, larger than me, approached. I almost forgot where I was, standing 40 feet below the surface having never been scuba diving before. Another check mark on the bucket list.

jess + steven

 

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Cairns, Queensland, Australia

December 8, 2013

After a short flight on Virgin Australia last night, we made it to Cairns. We had booked a hostel for our stay, mainly at an attempt to meet some fellow travellers and to give our wallets a break after our short stay in Sydney. Well, it seems I am not quite made for hostel living. We checked into our private room, which had a shared kitchen and bathroom area with another private room. It was dark when we got there, but the room seemed clean and the bed was comfortable.

Our sleep is still off, so we woke up around 5:30am and had a better look at the room and the hostel. First of all, it seems like the guests before us decided to leave us a welcome gift on the wall next to the bed. For anyone with a weak stomach, now’s the time to skip to the next paragraph.

Right on the wall next to Steven’s side of the bed was a giant green present. I mean, I guess I can’t blame them. It’s not like there are any Kleenex in the room, so why not just wipe it on the wall. Awesome. As if it couldn’t get any better, next to our mini fridge in the room was the Hostel’s welcoming committee…an army of baby ants. Just marching…

@Cairns

Jessica outside our first hostel in Cairns

That was enough for me…. within ten minutes, we were packed, checked out and a taxi on the way to pick us up. As of right now, we are sitting at this beautiful café called Al Porto, right on the water with our backpacks in tow, enjoying coffees and breakfast…with technically no where to sleep tonight! But we’re on vacation, the sun is shining, Aussie coffee is amazing…so not to worry!

On the list for today is the Cairns lagoon. It is a giant, saltwater swimming lagoon that overlooks the Great Barrier Reef. Tomorrow, we’ll be heading out to snorkel and dive the Reef with pictures to follow, from our new under water camera (Thanks Dad and Taryn!). On Thursday we are hoping to check out the Daintree Rainforest.

Life lessons learned today include: Jess is not hostel material (neither is Steven, but he just won’t admit it) and a coffee, the sun and the ocean can make the worst of mornings turn into the best of days.

jess + steven

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