Travelling the Gold Coast.

Published: March 4th 2008
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In Memory of...

Richard Bottomley


Hey Guys,

Do you hear that noise? (No?) Thats the sound of continual rainfall. Ever since we stepped off the plane at Cairns in the middle of the night it has been raining almost continually. It varies in intensity from the light spitting rain to the heavy end-of-the-earth, raining cats, dogs and other mammels kinda rain. Taking a walk in Cairns was a bit of a risky business as the weather could turn just like that. Infact a couple of times i got caught out by the rain and got soaked to the skin.
Thankfully we did have one day of glorious sunshine and that was the day we went to the Great Barrier Reef. Our boat was a large catermerran and despite there being hundreds of people all heading out to the great barrier reef there were only 20 other people on our boat. Even some of the other cruises that cost twice the price had people packed on like sardines. Maybe it was the bad weather in the previous days that had put people off sailing.
As our boat made its way further out towards the great barrier reef the sea became remarkably clear and a deep blue colour similar to the tropical waters of Fiji. All of a sudden the Great Barrier Reef appeared on the horizon. The great barrier reef is a giant 'living' organism that stretchs from the northern tip Queensland to Bundaberg. It is the largest natural feature on earth stretching more than 2,300km. Despite so many boats leaving the harbour heading for the reef each boat was assigned its own bit of reef and the nearest boat to us was on the horizon. We changed into our snorkelling gear complete with stinger suit as its now jellyfish season on the reef. Even though some of the jellyfish are tiny they can still pack a mighty sting!
We spent a couple of hours out on the reef and moved to several different sites, each time we moved the sights got a better and there were more and more wierd creatures swimming around. Colourful tropical fish and amazing coral. There were a couple of japenses girls on the boat with us who were asleep when we got onboard, they slept on the way out to the ree, they woke up long enough to go for a quick swim, and then promptly fell back alseep untill we reached port again and they were turfed out. As we got back into port the bad weather was descending and we decided it was time to move on.
When we first talked about travelling Australia i dont think we took into account the sheer distance that we had to cover in order to get from Cairns to Sydney. Without a car we were relying on Greyhound Coaches to travel down the coast. Our first stop was Airlie Beach an 11 3/4 hour coach journey below Cairns. However as we arrived in Airlie Beach it seemed the bad weather had beaten us there and it was once again blowing a tropical hurricane and pouring with rain.
The next morning i took a walk along the beach and there were 5 yaughts that had been washed ashore, another had a smashed keel and had partly sunk out in the bay. The local news reported that a three day cruise that had set off from Airlie only hours before we arrived had run onto rocks overnight, the crew and passengers were airlifted off just in time, escaping with their lives but not much else.
The bad weather continued and all sailing trips were cancelled, whilst the raining got heavier and heavier. The only road leading into and out of Airlie Beach flooded and Greyhound couldnt get their coaches in. So for three day we waited with 60 other slightly soggy backpackers just in case a coach turned up. Over night an unscheduled coach heading north had ploughed its way thorugh. Several people had lost their accomodation and were sleeping in the bus shelter desperate to get out of Airlie.
Then on the fourth night a bus heading to Brisbane made it through. Several of us werent booked on that particular bus but the driver understood our deperation to leave Airlie and let us all on and took us onwards to Hervey Bay. The journey was over 12 hours on a heaving and cramped coach, but anything was better than spending another day sat waiting for a bus that may or may not turn up. I can't get over how big Australia is, yet another long coach journey and we were nowhere near Sydney!!
Thats gonna be it for the moment as I don't think i can physically type any more so im gonna go find somewhere to crash out.

So untill next time, remember, be cool, stay in school.


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