Trials and Tribulation - Cairns and Captain Cook

Trip Start Apr 09, 2010
Trip End Sep 07, 2010

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Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Thursday, July 1, 2010

So after our rock-ing couple of days around Alice Springs and Uluru, we headed to Cairns to reintroduce ourselves to western civilization. Staying at Gilligans - which is some sort of uber-hostel we ventured out on various nights to bars and clubs, accompanied by a full belly of 'goon' (super cheap boxed wine) - usually ending up back at the club below our hostel. Good times. The main reason we were in Cairns however was to re-submerge ourselves into the underwater world of scuba. With the Great Barrier Reef on our doorstep it seemed a shame not to go full out, and so (with a kind donation from work for James, and a slightly lighter wallet for Jenny) we made our way to Port Douglas where we would be diving deep down at 3 dive sites, all which were part of the Agincourt Reef.

We set sail on the 'Silversonic' Catamaran and were at the reef in time for morning tea and our briefing. We didn't know quite what to expect after only diving at a handful of sites in Thailand. The first thing that hit us was the water temperature, which was much cooler than the steamy bathing in Ko Tao. However once we were under we forget about the chilly waters and were captivated by the awe-striking scenery around us. We soon realised why the GBR is considered one of the seven natural wonders of the world, it is incredible, and is proving difficult to put into words. We saw tons more wildlife than in Thailand, in part due to the great visibility, we even got friendly with a giant mauri fish, and got up close to a white-tipped reef shark. We both did 3 dives and got back on land wanting more. After a couple of beers we were both cream-crackered and decided on an early night.

Cairns itself is a bit of a strange place, and massively survives on the amount of backpackers there, with bars and hostels lining most of the streets. after a couple of days, we thought we'd venture slightly north to Cape Tribulation. We hired a car for 24 hours and drove up Captain Cook Highway to Cape Tribulation- named by Lt .James Cook after his ship came into trouble when it hit the reef just of the Northern tip of Australia. Before reaching Cape Trib itself we detoured to Mossman Gorge, a stunning bit of Tropical rainforest, and part of the Daintree National Park. After a stroll through the rainforest, and various attempts at arty photography we got back into our 5-door Toyota Corolla Sedan and raced on up to Cape Tribulation stopping at various points along the way to admire the beautiful bays and ravishing rainforest. Unfortunately the weather although hot, was decidedly overcast, and despite Cape Tribulation's obvious beauty we felt that a bit of sun would have gone a long way. Alas, we found a 'hostel' in the middle of the Daintree Rainforest, James cooked up some Thai-inspired friend rice and we bedded down in a wooden hut, sharing our nights sleep with the noisy animals of the rainforest.

We cruised back down to Cairns the next day and waited it out for our bus to Airlie Beach, the boarding point for our trip to the Whitsunday's. We even treated ourselves to a outing to the cinema-  'Get him to the Greek' and a packet of M&Ms, we couldn't believe that 2 weeks ago we we're still squatting over a hole.
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