So after a delightful stay at Maggie's and a catch up with my travel agent friend, I headed off to Cairns which is the tropical part of Oz. Again my amazing timing (see my Melbourne dates and the bush fires there) meant that I had just missed a cyclone, amusingly called Cyclone Hamish, a couple of days before I headed north.
For once I was mildy organised and had booked a couple of things before I arrived. Unfortunately, despite requesting a female only dorm at my hostel, I was once again put in a mixed dorm and was called Christie when I arrived at reception. My name is MORAG and I am NOT a man! Anyway, it is a fairly nice hostel so I bear it.
On my first full day here, I went on a very large boat out to the barrier reef to snorkle and visit the fishes. Alas, my stomach was left behind on the boardwalk so the journey was not entirely pleasurable. I did end up chatting to a very forth right Dutch woman who was very sympathetic. Snorkling was very fun and saw many pretty fish and a couple of huge fish which I was concerned about eating me, but fortunately all my fingers are intact.
The next day I went on a 2 day trip to the rainforest and day one was a hive of activity with swimming in a watering hole, visiting a wild life sanctuary, going on a crocodile river cruise (only 2 small ones seen), visiting an ice cream factory (surprisingly disappointing) and having half a cow hamburger for lunch.
However, after the day was over, myself and a few others were left at a hostel literally in the middle of the jungle that had shacks for rooms and one shop that didn't have carrier bags. We learned despite being next to the sea, we couldn't swim in it due to it being stinger season and potential death. So we made the best of it by playing a drinking game, twister and then a limbo competition which I was pitiful at.
The next day me and my new friends (2 girls and a guy from kendal, a very young girl- 18! from South Hampton and a hard work ITU nurse from London) explored the Daintree rainforest, went to the beach and looked longingly at the sea. Fortunately, we had heard of a water hole that was safe from crocs and stingers and made or way there. Alas, it was difficult to get to and from on traversing the river on our exit, my flip flop got washed off my foot! Now i had left most of my stuff at Maggie's for this 3 weeks NE exploration and I only had this pair of flip flops or my walking boots with me. I would not lose it! So I threw off my back pack and leapt into the river . I reached, I clung- the flip flop was saved! Now I hope you are imagining a graceful rescue, because that's what I also saw. Prehaps my fellow travellers may not share this image, but they are not telling the story now are they?
So after that adrenaline rush, we got picked up and taken back to Cairns. My new Kendal friends (no mint cake jokes please) and I went out that evening and maybe inbibed a few too many fine ales to calm my nerves resulting in a very lazy day yesterday consisting of laying by the free outdoor pool and recovering.
I feel almost recovered now, thank goodness and my flip flops are staying firmly on my feet.