changes and water and a hell of a lot of fun

A couple of quick corrections. I didn't got see the Koala bears yesterday, day before I guess, I met up with Tim as I was going to book it and he said that there was still a chance to go white water rafting (they only run in the afternoon since they've only gotten about half of the rain they're supposed to have). There are pictures from that, but I haven't had a chance to go pick them up yet.

After that I changed my dive plans yet again. Rather than get up painfully early to catch a 6:45 bus I switched from the Quicksmart to the Osprey which left at a much more manageable 8:30 and was the same ship Tim, Dawn and Niamh (the correct spelling of Neve) were going on. Since early wakeup was not required we went to the bars again until around midnight when they closed. Pictures and more:

We only ended up going to two dive sites, the first one was kind of bland except for these little red and black fish swiming in the coral. If you wiggled your finger near them they'd come out and nibble on the end. It was a very strange sensation to say the least. That's the dive master's hand there demonstrating.

This is Manny (or murry, something like that), a HUGE fish that the dive crew keep as a pet at the second dive site. Whenever they go out there - basically daily - they feed him, so he's always around there and will come right on up to divers. When I say huge, I mean larger than full grown human size. You can make out in the left of the picture someone's dive gear to get a rough sense of size. I did try to pet him but he turned away in search of food.

Probably the best shot I got of the whole lot, there was a sea turtle grazing on the coral about halfway through our second dive. He was pretty content and fairly dosile so I got to get right up next to him for this picture. Previous experience told me they don't like to be touched, so I just let him keep eating.

Finally there was this school of about a million tiny silver/blue fish swimming around one of the reef clusters. The picture doesn't really capture it well, but does give a sense of how close and how many of them there were. There were also some giant clams we got to tickle to see them snap shut but not many good pictures of them.

That was about it for the dives, the boat was nice though the seas were somewhat rough so no one felt particualarly well at the end of the day. Also the combination of scuba gear and salt water seems to have rubbed off some of my sun screen so I have a very read face, hands and top of feet but the rest of my arms and legs are fine.

Nightlife. To put faces to names, from left to right are Tim, Niamh, Myself and Dawn. We went out to dinner after the cruise, I was fairly sunburned so kept mostly to water for the night rather than a lot of heavy food. We went to the Rattle and Hum as usual (where this picture was taken) then went in search of an Irish bar for the two girls. After that pub Tim, Dawn and I went to the Woolshed, though Dawn and I lost Tim somewhere in the process.

We'd thought it was odd that the bars in Cairns closed so early (midnight) and that they never seemed very crowded. Well the reason was everyone was at the Woolshed, great atmosphere and music to dance to. It was Australia day so everyone was well into party mode. The floor was packed so Dawn and I ended up dancing on a table with a bunch of other aussies. I thought it was real class that when I bumped into one fellow who was still on the ground - spilling some of his beer - rather than be pissy or wanting a fight he said "No worries, dance away mate". I love this place. Dawn and I stayed until around 2:00 and Tim stayed until around 3:30 I think. It was an excellent cap to the evening and a good farewell for Dawn and Niamh.

That is the one drawback to travling like this. I've gotten to know these three well enough over the last 3 days that it seems like I've known them forever. It's hard to say goodbye to friends, though we exchanged addresses and I'm supposed to return to Sydney as soon as possible where I can stay with Dawn and Niamh once they find a place. But for today it's finally a day of rest and trying to stay out of the sun somewhat. Tim is still sacked out and will probably be for a while longer but we're probably going to catch a movie or something else air conditioned since it's supposed to be nearly 40 today (around 105).

I keep writing it in my journal at the end of almost every entry, but it bears repeating; I love this trip, I needed it, and I'm glad it was delayed so I could meet the people I did. I love this place and will be back :)


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