17.03.2016 - 20.03.2016
I found Cairns to be a slightly odd place. Not not nice, just a bit odd. It seemed like no one was from there, they just moved to work there, but I suppose I just might not have met the born and bred locals.
My first night there was St Paddy's day so I found myself in the infamous Gilligans for a celebratory beverage. Gilligans is a big hostel with two large bars and a larger reputation for parties. People were really dressed up in there, it was the first time in ages that I was conscious of my backpacking attire, or rather, just my lack of high heels, body con dresses and false eye lashes. It didn't detract from a fun time though, I really enjoyed the outside bar with live music.
The following day I set off nice and early for my Uncle Brian's rainforest trip. As would suit our location, it absolutely poured at intervals during the day and we did pass through the wettest town in Australia (why would you choose to live there?!). Our tour guide 'cousin Brad' loved to chat incessantly and loudly, and allowed no sleeping on the bus at all. Brad was weirdly flirty with everyone for 7.30am, and the eyebrow wiggle was frankly too much.
Despite this, I actually enjoyed the trip a lot. We went swimming in various lakes and under the Mila Mila waterfall (home to Peter Andre's Mysterious Girl video - yes there was some hair flicking). And for all the weirdness, Brad had an excellent playlist that excused the eyebrow wiggle, just about.
The next day was my most exciting in Cairns as I went for my first trip on the Great Barrier Reef, and contrary to the forecast we had a beautiful day! On the boat they made us fill in medical forms and took us through the safety briefing for first time scuba divers. I felt fine about it so I got stinger-suited and flippered up for my first snorkel.
Now I've seen Finding Nemo, I went to the Natural History Museum Coral exhibition and I've watched the telly, but seeing the Reef for the first time is pretty cool. They weren't wrong about the different kinds and colours of coral, and they were fairly spot on about all the fish.
Oh and I found Nemo. Several times actually, I'm not really sure what all the fuss was about.
I wasn't nervous about my dive until I was in the water itself. I remembered all the tests I had to do under the water and it was after that that my unconscious took over and I struggled to breathe properly. It's odd really since the big instruction is to breathe as normal. It was as though my brain screamed 'WHAT ARE YOU DOING FULLY SUBMERGED IN THE OCEAN?! COME TO THE SURFACE AT ONCE!'
We came to the surface, I regulated my breathing and we went again. Weirdly, pinching my nose helped me to distract me so I wasn't overthinking the whole breathing thing. As you can imagine though, holding on to the instructor, pinching my nose, breathing and trying to take photos with my rented underwater camera was a bit of a performance but I managed it!
I'm really pleased I tried it, but I'm not in a massive hurry to dive again soon. I absolutely loved snorkelling though, and it was a relief to get back in the water to snorkel around, and find Nemo again.