Welcome to the East Side

Woop! Woop! On to the sunny, gorgeous beaches of the East Coast.

Actually it had been raining incessantly in Cairns for the last 2 weeks so when we arrived and saw the weather report for glorious, baking hot clear skies, we were ecstatic. Our plan was to stay in Cairns for 2 days then move on but aiming to catch a different Whitsundays boat we cut our time down to a day .5.

Obviously when in Cairns you have to go to the Great Barrier Reef, so we booked on to the coolest sounding boat, Passions! When we arrived at the Reef Terminal we realised it was a popular choices as 80 backpackers were shepparded on to a medium sized catamaran… But the muffins and tea on entry made any worries about over crowding disappear.

In fact, the tour was absolutely awesome. The staff were really friendly, the food was good, the people were in a great mood and we went diving! Wooooh!!

We had no intention of diving on the tour but we were convinced pretty easily by Simon, one of the staff who remembered all 80 passengers names (I KNOOW!) To at least give the 5 minute trial a go… Well what’s the worst that could happen?
After being geared up and literally dragged to the water’s edge with the heavy oxygen cylinder on our backs, we ‘walked’ into the water to practice breathing with the oxygen mask.

I’ll be honest, it was pretty hard going getting used to breathing with the pump while on the surface of the ocean water. Funny thing is I was less scared about the process of diving than the actual worry of the fish touching me… Ye, I know, totally mental!

So, as I floated about telling our instructor that perhaps I’m not cut out for this, he suggested that perhaps he would take me for a swim and if I get used to the breathing we would consider the diving… Sounds fair!

Off we went; Rishi holding one of Simon’s hands and me the other! Haha…. Think Rishi kinda enjoyed it.. But before I could even consider the possibility of Rishi abandoning me for Simon, the views of the coral and amazingly colourful fish took my attention and I realised we were already a few metres underwater! Simon had been secretly taking the air out of our jackets without us even noticing. I blew my ears out and headed even further down. It was a phenomenal experience, like wandering through an incredibly interactive aquarium.

I got to touch some gooey coral, see a shark..-like fish, get up close and perhaps too personal with some stingrays and of course ‘find nemo’! Rishi and I were so excited and thrilled from the experience that we signed up for a second longer and deeper dive in the afternoon.. Unfortunately we just missed seeing a shark but who cares?! … We went diving! Wooh!

The rest of the boat trip was wicked too; sunbathing on deck, cheese and biscuits, tea and cookies and games and magic tricks! Definitely would recommend this tour and if you’ve never dived…. DO IT!! Nehal’s already promised to take me out diving again. 🙂

Back in Cairns, we celebrated our super day with a Subway and Japanese style crepe in the night market. Food and well everything here is ridiculously expensive here, I mean water for £2.50, and this standard indian restaurant had veggie curries for £10!!.. Uuuuhh .. Nah!

Anywho, this morning we did a little Cairns sightseeing I.e. We wandered the esplanade with giant backpacks in stow and after a healthy lunch.. (ye right!) we’ve got on our 12 hour bus to Airlie beach.

The views on the Bruce highway are really stunning and we have a funny bus driver who is telling us stories and playing movies for us so overall a pretty good way to spend the afternoon! …

 7 more hours to go. Night, night.