Day 4 - Rainforest beauty

Trip Start Feb 04, 2012
Trip End Mar 01, 2012

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Where I stayed
Diamond Princess cruise ship

Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A second port!  Again because of regulations, our ship could not go all the way in to disembark, so the life boats (tenders) were lowered and shuttled people to shore.  Also put into use were several large catamirands from Port Douglas.  The tenders are slower than the catamirands, so people wanted to get on the bigger boats.  We ended up on the smaller tenders going to shore, but were able to take the larger boat back to the ship at the end of our day in Port Douglas.
As in Airlie Beach, the temp was high and so was the humidity.  Princess Cruises had a little station set up on shore of ice water as well as face cloths that had been frozen, both of which we appreciated very much as a bit of relief from the heat and humidity. 
Various tour agencies were lined up along the boardwalk as we got off the tenders and worked our way to shore.  We decided on a tour that would take us to Daintree National Park Rainforest, and specifically to Mossman Gorge.  Eight of us joined together in a minivan, with Ben as our driver.  He was very knowledgeable of the area and gave us much detail on the drive through areas of sugar cane and fields of soybeans.  We stopped in wonder at the clustering of very large fruit bats, hanging from the tops of trees – thousands of them! 
Mossman Gorge is a beautiful slice of nature where a river cascades down a long canyon filled with large rocks.  Boardwalk trails provide easy access through the rain forest, and we observed many beautiful flowers and many species of birds.  It felt pretty “closed in”, especially with the high humidity, but it was a great little tour out of Port Douglas.  We did roam the streets of Port Douglas for a little while, and stopped to have a beer, which was very refreshing.  Actually, this port stop wasn’t very long, and there was a delay leaving the ship in the morning, so at best we had about six hours.  The ship pulled out at 6:15pm, so we had dinner and then attended another really fabulous show in the big Princess Theater.  The entertainer was Danny Elliott, billed as a Multi-instrumental Vocalist from Australia.  He played at least 15 different instruments, sang, danced and had us in the palm of his hand the whole show.  He was backed by the ship’s orchestra, and they are really terrific, too. 
Movies Under the Stars featured “Puss in Boots”, and we both started watching, but Peter wandered off shortly after the movie started.  Not his kind of show. I thought it was great.  The upper deck had all the lounging chairs set up facing the screen, and each lounger had a rolled up blanket.  An attendant came around offering bags of free popcorn to the spectators. 
One fun thing on board is that the Captain gives periodic updates as to our position and the weather, and makes little comments about the route.  The Captain is from Italy, and when we get to Darwin, he is leaving the ship for vacation in Europe.  A new Captain will take over when we leave Darwin. 
The seas have been very calm.  I have a motion sickness patch I apply behind my ear, so don’t have a problem with being sick.  I need to change it every three days.  A lot of the time we have been able to see the shore from the ship, which I like.  When I get up in the mornings, I go out on the balcony and just watch the shoreline and the water and the sky…
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