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Day 45- 47 Land, Sea & Air

Mopeds, Scuba in the Great Barrier Reef and flight to Sydney.


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Land- Mopeds in Cairns

We arrived into Cairns at 5am after not really getting much sleep. With nowhere to go we headed for the only place we knew that would be open... The golden arches. After a 3 hour wait and a quick facetime to the parents and fighting off the flies we tried to check into our hostel. We couldn't but could drop our bags.

While choosing what to do for the day we fairly randomly decided to hire scooters and explore the area around Cairns. Having never driven a scooter before the initial practice session and first stint was a little scary. Yet we soon got the hang of it and were zooming (when I say zooming I mean about 50kph) to the Crystal Cascades. There were a few hairy moments especially on the 80kph highways when our little machine couldn't get over like 53kph!

Despite our lack of speed and experience we made it alive. And after a short walk (fighting off some killer flies that bite) we came across a little clear water river. With it being 38 degrees outside we striped off and jumped straight in. It was sooo refreshing and there were so many fish swimming around. Once we had cooled down and eaten lunch we walked a little further up in search of the main waterfall. There we spent the next 3 hours just relaxing in the water watching kids nearly kill themselves by jumping down it into some sketchy water with loads of hidden rocks and shallow points. Fortunately there were no casualties to ruin our afternoon. It was so fun just being with my best friend chatting about random stuff while chilling in the water. The only thing that was missing was a beer.

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Back on the bikes we shot back to Cairns. We had a few directional problems mainly as the airpods kept disconnecting from Izzy's phone leaving us guessing where to go. Because of this we got back to the hires shop late but the owner was still there and just said to fill up and bring it back tomorrow. We only had driven about 30 minutes away but we only had to pay about £2 to top up both bikes which was funny! Pretty stressed and tired it was back to the hostel for a shower and a much needed happy hour, before retiring for an early night in preparation for our scuba tomorrow.

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Up early we whizzed the bikes back to the shop before getting to the mariner. Which stinger suits picked and waivers signed we were off. The first stop was a short snorkel opportunity before kitting up for our scuba. Again we were memorised by the fish but a little disappointed that it didn't seem as good as the Whitsundays one. There were some coloured coral but the colours were fairly dull and these were surrounded by a lot of dead coral. Not the pictures of the barrier reef you are used to seeing but we also were prepared for this reality and is one of the reasons we were determined to see what we could of what is left.

We were really excited as well as a little apprehensive. I was just getting over a cold and Iz had one coming. We knew that the depths we were diving would play havoc with our sinuses and were worried that we may not be able to compete it. Shortly before our turn Iz also had felt a little sick; probably due to a mixture of little food and not taking her travel sickness tablets. But she powered on as always and we were kitted up with some heavy weights and an oxygen tank.

Surprisingly we completed all the basics steps with ease and the instructor was convinced this was not our first time. I found breathing under water through the mask fairly natural and felt quite comfortable. However as we started the descend both of our ears were really hurting. It was similar to flying with a cold but worse. When you blew through your nose to equalise your ears it brought temporary relief but the pain was intense. So much so Iz said that she couldn't continue and we resurfaced for her get back on the boat. This was a real shame. And I was gutted for her. I was also feeling the pain and strain but I was determined to try and grasp this opportunity! So headed back under. Once we were down and laying horizontal the pain largely disappeared which was even more frustrating as we literally were getting to that bit when Iz wanted to get up.

It was a cool experience. Getting to view the marine life up close. It kind of felt like snorkeling until you looked up and realised that it was water not sky above you. I had been really hoping to see turtles but again was disappointed. Although I didn't mind too much as it would have sucked for Iz to miss it. The dive was shorter than expected and only lasted about 10 minutes. Also it was a little disappointing that we couldn't take our GoPro. So we didn't get any pictures of us in action. It is definitely an experience and it is awesome to say I've scuba dived in the Great Barrier Reef! But I was a little underwhelmed. I probably built it up too much in my head! Although saying that we are both willing to give it another in Asia. Maybe next time we will get to see these allusive turtles!

Next up was lunch before another snorkel opportunity. With both our ears hurting and Iz feeling really queasy we largely stayed on the boat for the reminder of the time. At our final stop a few of the group went for second dives and we headed out for a little snorkel.

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Back on shore we dried off and found a brewery with happy hour for a beer and a bit of travel admin.

19th January was another day whereby nothing elaborate or excited happened. We basically just stayed in the hostel pool awaiting our 5am flight back to Sydney, so I'll save you the boring details. We did however reunite with 'the kids' from Fraser so spent the evening with them.

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Posted by Bears on Tour 22:10 Archived in Australia

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