Cairns

Cairns.  It’s like Cancun, Miami, and Long Beach had a baby and Cairns was the result.  Granted, I’ve only ever been to one of those, so that’s all based on talk and TV but it seems about right.  Cairns is not the classiest beach town; if you want class, I’ve heard you gotta go to the Gold Coast (which is actually a city, not a region).  But Cairns is the doorstep to the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef, thus a must for any visit to Australia.  And, curiously, it doesn’t even have a beach.  No, seriously, I’m not kidding – it’s a beach town without the beach, just look at the picture.  The water ends about 15 meters from the land, revealing a marsh-like muddy land that butts up against the concrete wall of the Cairns Esplanade (a roadway with shops on one side and grassy parkland and pool on the other that extends to the “water”).

After our flight being delayed by about 4 hours because of the volcanic ash cloud from Chile, we finally arrived in Cairns at around 5 in the afternoon.  The highlight of the trip was definitely the snorkel/dive day tour to the Great Barrier Reef.  While there’s both the rainforest about 2 hours away from Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef, both of which would require a full day to see properly, we only had one full day in Cairns, so we went with the Great Barrier Reef.  We signed up for a snorkeling and scuba diving day tour where we went to two dive sites.  It included snorkeling at both sites and an intro dive for all of us who have never gone scuba diving before.  We also rented an underwater camera to get some photos.  For the intro dive, they took us out in groups of 4 so we would get individual attention.  It was great!  But I’m pretty sure I’m too little to go scuba diving.  They didn’t put enough weight on me and my wetsuit was a bit too big so it acted like an inner tube — I kept bobbing to the surface!  Sounds funny, but that coupled with the fact that I’m breathing out of a hose and it was so rough that day, all the water was churned up and murky so you couldn’t see more than 10 feet in front of you — it was kind of a terrifying experience.  Our dive leader came to the surface with me after about 5 minutes of me struggling to get down to where everyone else was to ask what was up.  He told me to relax and take his hand and he ended up just pulling me along next to him for the rest of our 25 minute dive.  Needless to say, I didn’t go for the second intro dive.  Oscar did, though and got some great pictures.

That’s really about it for Cairns.  The next day, we went to an Aboriginal Art Gallery so I could get a boomerang for my father and spent a while talking to the woman who worked there.    Then we just wandered around the town before our flight to Sydney.

Photos:

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