Diving Down Under

27 04 2010

Good day all… After a couple of dives off our vessel the Apollo I finally started my long awaited dive course in Cairns. The course started in town with a couple of days in the classroom and pool sessions, there was myself and two others in the course which was nice. In the a.m we would watch a few videos and after a quick lunch break we would suit- up and get in the pool and start off with some basic skills.

Once the two days where up and theory tests were passed off to the reef we go. We got to the boat around 8 a.m for the two-hour journey out to the reef. Once everyone was on the boat and settled in they run though the safety speal and offer everyone sea sickness tablets due to a rough ride out. After about 20 minutes in to the journey and no one accepting the sea sickness tablets the first one spills his beans and filling paper bag after paper bag. After the first guy starts it was a steady flow of sick humans to the back of the boat flying though paper bags like they where going outta style. There where about 30 people on board and about half of which got sea-sick.  I was one of the lucky ones that felt fine and enjoyed the rollercoaster of a ride out to the reef.

Once we got to our dive spot some people moved on to the liveaboard boat which they stayed for a few days and the other day trippers suited up and got in the water. Since the other two in my course where staying on the liveaboard so was my instructor, off they went and I stayed with the group on the day boat. I teamed up with an instructor who was taking two american girls who had their licence for a guided tour. Since I went with this group my first experience on the reef was great with just a casual dive and not having to perform any of the test skills and purely enjoy the magnificent coral and hundreds of small reef fish.

After the dive a delicious lunch was laid out on deck for everyone and quickly devoured. Once the food settled I met back up with the two others in my course and the instructor for the second dive of the day. Once we got suited up and in the water we headed to the bottom to perform some skills. We did a couple of skills here then did a little bit of sight seeing and stopped at 12m to perform a few more skills and then a bit more sight seeing and back to the surface to wrap up the day.

The second day was quite similar to the first as in half the boat was sick and a long rough ride out to the reef. Once we got there the two instructors onboard took out two separate groups and leaving me for when they come back. Once my instructor was back we got in and had a casual dive at about 14m and finished off all but one skill leaving that for the last dive of the course. After another tasty lunch my instructor and I get in and quickly finish the last skill and had about 25 minutes to look around. The instructor showed me around, showing me what certain creatures you can touch and others you cannot. We came around this corner and their there was a massive clam about the size of a small car which was really cool. After some more touring around he took me to a tight little cave type coral structure which he went through first and i quickly followed that took us out to an area with some large Parrot fish and hundreds of other small reef fish. After this it was time to come up as our air was starting to get low and start the long journey back to land.

So all in all the diving course was awesome and I certainly learned alot that I didn’t know existed about diving and the reef. I wish I could have got out to the reef once more as a certified diver but our days in Aus where running out quickly and our sights where on Asia. I am planning to dive at every chance I get here in Asia as it is much cheaper and many highly recognized dive sites in Thailand and Vietnam.

Thanks for reading

The first half of Jeeva

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Last Days in Australia

27 04 2010

Our last 10 days in Australia were spent in Cairns where we stayed half the time in a caravan park, then when we gave Coco away to her new owners we spent 3 nights in a hostel called Caravella which was awesome and had a pool and everything, we even had a double room instead of a dorm due to my wonderful negotiation skills. The weather was not cooperative at all and there was nothing really to do, except go outlet shopping and hang out in town scoping out people on the patio of McDonald’s. When Jeff finished his dive course we spent a couple of days with a friend from the boat trip and her friend Rikke wandering around town and buying last-minute souvenirs and such. We even learned how to play the didgeridoo at a ” didge”” shop. We visited the dam in town duwe to a wrong turn off the highway but then found the actual Crystal Cascades a different day after consulting the map and took a dip in the watering hole there. We had some end of trip festivities and then boarded a plane to Sydney the next morning. Once in Sydney we flew to Bangkok on Emirates  airline which was fabulous; if you ever get a chance to fly with them it’s great. Now we are in Cambodia only 1 day later, but you’ll have to stay tuned for that story.

Eva





I’m on a boat

17 04 2010

We had a 3 day sailing adventure in the Whitsundays that may have been the highlight of the trip to Australia so far. We chilled in Airlie Beach for a few days then got up early and boarded our home for the next 3 days “the Apollo”. We were 2 of 26 passengers and 5 crew members. We set off cruising early in the morning on Monday, it was a beautiful sunny day with blistering sun and tonnes of opportunity to suntan and chill on deck as we travelled to Caves Cove where the group (minus myself and 3 others) did their intro free dives by the beach while the rest of us snorkelled. We had a lovely lunch prepared by chef Jimmy of chicken and salads. We then continued cruising (as in with the sails down since it wasn’t windy) to Whitehaven Beach where we spend the evening relaxing on the white silica sand and eating snacks and hanging out with our group. We enjoyed the sunset on the beach then headed back aboard the boat for a Beef Stroganoff dinner and some drinks on deck to finish off the night. Something unexpected happened when one of the girl had a major allergy attack and we had to cruise all the way back to town in the dark to take her to the hospital. We moored there for the night and slept in our tiny bunks on the rocking boat until morning. The sick girl got back on the boat in the morning and we were off to a couple of dive and snorkelling spots.

Jeff realized on his intro dive that he loved diving and decided to do one of the optional dives on day 2. He will be writing a whole post about diving so I won’t try to do his experience any justice by talking about it. It was cloudy and windy on Day 2 so we actually lifted the sails and tore through the ocean at almost a 90 degree angle. We snorkelled at 2 spots that day before we were dropped off at the beach in Blue Pearl Bay for some evening snacks, sunset and Peter the Possum. This beach was completely covered in coral and was impossible to walk on bear footed but was great for looking through the corals for hours to find cool shells and such. We had a tasty steak dinner and then had a party on the boat.

The following morning we snorkelled at Blue Pearl Bay where we saw some HUGE fish and lots of nice corals. It was like swimming in an aquarium.  We had a quick lunch before the 3 hour sailing journey back to Abel Point Marina. It was really windy and the sailing was awesome fun, we even saw dolphins as we cruised by at 8 knots speed.  We were really happy to have spent a couple of days off of land and we made lots of new friends on board including 2 Calgarians. That night the Apollo group had a little pizza after party  before we all parted ways.

We are now in Cairns and Jeff is doing his dive course here for 4 days. We leave for Bangkok on the 25th of April for 2 months. We plan to do a mixture of activities in Asia including tubing down the river in Laos, cooking classes in Vietnam, temples in Cambodia and chilling at the south islands of Thailand, and of course the hustle and bustle of Bangkok.  We are a bit nervous but always excited for another epic adventure.

Bye for now

Jeeva





Becoming a local

10 04 2010

We arrived the town of 1770/Agnes Water on March 22nd but we didn’t know when we arrived what we were in for. The first night we stayed at the national park campground in town at Workman’s Beach. We were instantly drawn to the perfect surfing conditions with no crowds at the main beach in Agnes Water. Our friends from Denmark took off the next morning for Fraser Island and we were left wondering what should we do? Agnes Water is the last place on the East Coast of Aus that you can still surf and swim in the ocean (as you go north there is the reef, crocs and scary jelly fish, not to mention no waves). On our second day in 1770 we spotted a sign at the visitor info centre that said help needed in exchange for accommodation. We gave the lady Elly a call and she refered us to her friend Annie who lives alone on 40+ acres and needed some help around her place. We figured “what the hey” and set up shop there. This lady had an ill husband and had alot of work to be done around her land. We basically exchanged 2 hours a day of weeding, yard work, painting etc for a roof over our heads and some air conditioning. A match made in heaven. We soon became what the Aussies refer to as “a local” which means everyone in town recognizes you and says hello..among other things. We worked in the morning, surfed at day time and played a tonne of Yahtzee at night and the weather was beautiful the entire time we were there, a whopping 17 days.

Easter was fast approaching and we were invited for an Easter seafood feast at Elly’s with some other local people and had a great time meeting people and hanging out on the veranda. The following day was a “car boot sale” where everyone backs in their car in a circle and sells their crap. We managed to rack in a total of 55$ by selling our tent, fishing gear and a couple books..not too bad. On Easter Sunday we made our way to the Market grounds to do some shopping with our earnings and ended up with a bag of potatoes and some junk food. As Easter came to an end, Jeff’s Birthday approached and he wanted to do one thing….you guessed it….go surfing. So we tried a new spot called Springs beach first which was not too successful before we headed to the Main Beach for one last surf and stayed there til the sun went down. The next morning Jeff got up early to surf one last time before we said our goodbyes and left for Airlie Beach to go to the Whitsundays for a sailing trip.

We arrived at Airlie and are anxiously awaiting our sailing trip to take off, in the meantime we managed to find this pretty great little water hole/waterfall for a cool refreshing swim in FRESH water and escape the croc infested seas and the blistering heat. The weather outlook is good for sailing and we will be roasting at the fake lagoon until then. After that..who knows…..





Gold Coast

23 03 2010

I only have 10 minutes left on my internet time so here are the highlights from Gold Coast

Surfing at Kirra Beach in Surfer’s Paradise
Surfing at Burleigh Heads under the rainbows and in the rain
Sun tanning at the caravan park in Surfer’s Paradise
Shopping for goodies in Surfer’s
Riding thrill rides and water slides at Dreamworld and White water World
Explored the Australia Zoo .. home of Steve Irwin the Croc hunter…saw some cool animals and the crocs
Went to see an AFL Aussie Rules Football game
Checked out Alice in Wonderland in 3D on a rainy day

More details to come….hopefully