Australia - Cairns - Diving at the Great Barrier Reef and a quick visit to Cape Tribulation before I say goodbye to Oz.

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March 28th 2012
Published: April 4th 2012
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Australia – Cairns – Diving at the Great Barrier Reef and a quick visit to Cape Tribulation before I say goodbye to Oz.

OK I realise a lot of my blogs of late have been a little negative towards Australia and in particular the weather. I will get the weather out of the way now, it rained during my Great Barrier Reef trip and Cape tribulation but I’m pleased to say it did not ruin either day. This is the end of my moaning and the blogs from now on will be more upbeat. Yes you’ve guessed it I’ve had a word with myself!

Diving at the Great Barrier Reef was one of the main things I had been looking forward to so I was very happy to be on board my boat and heading out there. The view was not perfect but because I would be heading several meters down this did not worry me. We arrived at the dive site and I got kitted out and jumped in, the water was so warm it was like jumping into a bath! We all headed down and were soon swimming beside an incredibly beautiful wall of corral, rich in colour and life, it blew my mind. This was then made even more perfect when our dive master pointed out a huge turtle resting on the base of the sea it was such a special sight! I saw so many tropical fish with amazingly bright colours I just didn’t know where to look although the Nemo fish always make you smile, well that was until our instructor raised her hands to signal the presence of sharks then my attention was in good focus on one thing only!!! Thankfully they were only small sharks and not dangerous but still it got the blood pumping I can assure you. We surfaced shortly after and the first dive was over, it seemed so quick but it was incredibly beautiful and something I will never forget.

After a fantastic seafood lunch it was time for the second dive, it was not a good as the first because the visibility had decreased but it did have one very memorable experience, basically at about 14 meters down I went to breathe in and soon realised I was inhaling water and not air. I pretty much instantly sh*t myself but thankfully remained calm. I was somewhat confused because the mouth piece was still in my mouth, after assessing the situation I saw my regulator floating beside me, so in short the regulation and mouth piece had parted company!! It was a horrible experience and made me very thankful for my training, I grabbed the reserve regulator and swiftly swapped it for my broken one. Sadly this regulator was not working correctly either and was chattering with every breath but at least I had air. Because the second regulator was not 100% and I no longer had a reserve I decided it was time to surface. This cut the dive short by ten minutes but I didn’t feel comfortable down there with no reserve regulator and a faulty primary one. All in all a great days diving with very mixed but equally exciting experiences, the Barrier Reef is truly beautiful and a fantastic memory for me to leave Australia with, the crew on board my boat and the fellow passengers where all such good fun throughout the day making it a brilliant day.

On my final day in Oz I was heading up to the Northern trip of Queensland to a place called Cape Tribulation, which is home to a rainforest. It was a great day where we mainly just hit all the tourist hotspots in a whistle stop tour. The highlights of these being the curtain fig tree and the many waterfalls. The photos will do far more justification to the sights than my writing skills so I will let them do the talking.

All that was left was for me to do was grab a final sleep in my ultra-noisy hostel and get to the airport for my flight to Auckland and I really couldn’t wait!

Having now arrived in Auckland and I’m writing this blog with the benefit of a few days reflection and I have realised Australia probably wasn’t as bad as some of my blogs might have suggested. I guess I should have realised that the East Coast scene wouldn’t be for me and I was a fool for staying on it for so long, after all I have never enjoyed beach holidays because I have the attention span of a small child so why I decided to spend three weeks on a beach circuit is a question I have no answer to. I guess you could say I was prepared to try something new or give something a go I already knew I was not fond of, but it’s made me realise I know myself pretty well and I should listen to myself next time. In reflection I loved Melbourne and the Great Ocean Road and Sydney was pretty cool too, the East coast was just not for me and to finish with diving at the Great Barrier Reef meant I left with a smile which I’m pleased about. I have no desire to return to Australia because for me it doesn’t come close to so many of the places I’ve visited in Asia, the people are not as welcoming and friendly as those I met in Asia and the sights and places of interest don’t even come close. I wouldn’t even begin to pretend I have a true grasp on the culture out here but the snap shots I’ve seen are not something I’ve warmed to, many Australians seem to be very racist and lacking an ability to understand there is a world outside Australia, drinking and drugs is a huge part of daily life and every forth shop seems to be a drive through bottle shop or a fast food restaurant if you can call them that. I know this is not the case for all places and people and I can only talk about my own experiences here, but these are just some of the reasons I’ve been left feeling like I do about Australia. I will always remember my time here with mixed emotions, great highs and many lows but an experience all the same and after all that’s why I wanted to travel so I have to remember that, but I just didn’t expect to feel like that about such a Westernised country so it’s kind of shocked me.

Next Stop Auckland (well I’m already here.) To say I’m looking forward to it is a huge understatement, it’s going to be lots of trekking, being out in the natural environment and many water based activities and I really can not wait.

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