australia part 2: cairns & great barrier reef

located at the northeast side of australia, cairns is blessed with tropical weather, great sceneries, and good food. during winter it rains quite often, but whilst i was there (7 days), it rained only for the first 2 days. after that we got clear blue sky all the rest of the week. fantastic. some people might say port douglas is a better destination, but i think cairns is nice. it’s not a big town, and the city centre is all about tourists, souvenir shops, hotels, restaurants, and tour agents. 😀 very easy to find food, arrange daily tours, and meet people. mind you, prices are a bit expensive.

day 1 – may 31.
from the airport you can take the shuttle bus to your hotel. just go to the counter (very easy to spot as it’s not a big airport) and pay $7 per person. the bus would drop you in front of your hotel. being picky and demanding we chose to stay at the sebel harbour lights. the hotel itself wasn’t very glamorous despite the 4.5 stars reputation, but the location was superb! pas banget di pinggir laut, dengan akses ke reef terminal only 5 minutes walk away. you can actually walk to the beach via the harbour walk, which is very nice when the weather is sunny.

it was raining when we were ready to find dinner.. so we ended up taking a stroll along the harbour walk, selecting restaurants as we go. the restaurants along the walk were expensive, so i don’t recommend it if you have limited budget. however we were too lazy to walk 2 blocks to the city centre in the rain, so we ended up having a really delicious seafood dish for 2. it cost a lot, but it was worth it! fried calamaries, shrimps hot and cold, breaded scallops, oysters, clams, lobster, baked fish.. you name it they have it. they even give cold tropical fruits as part of the dish. naturally i took all the grapes back to the hotel with me. 😀 yumm.

day 2
we had the day free so we took a stroll around the city to find something for lunch (greek food. yumm!). after that we went to the harbour and look at the boats. apparently a lot of the local people own a boat (or yacht, some of the boats look big to me). lots of people spent their afternoon fishing. one particular korean guy seemed to have something stuck on his fishing line, so we stopped and watch for a while. it looked like he got something big caught in the line, and whatever that was was trying to swim away. we ended up waiting for more than an hour just to see what he’s got. a lot of people stopped by and watched too. one old couple malah sempet2nya nyelesaiin afternoon walk mereka dan kemudian balik lagi untuk nonton si orang korea ini selesai fishing. 😀 too bad, after all the wait, we had to come home disappointed krn kailnya copot…. padahal udah deket loh, udah tinggal diangkat doang. darn. everybody was equally disappointed. lots of “tough luck, mate” were given to the poor korean guy.

dinner was at chinese resto. actually we were so tired that afternoon that we fell asleep, and didn’t come out of our hotel until near 9pm. all the resto were closed but this one chinese restaurant. fortunately the food didn’t disappoint.

day 3 : liveaboard
we got up early ready for the cruise tour to pick us up at the hotel. i thought they’re going to pick us up at 7am, but apparently they didn’t. a slight panic occured, but everything turned out well. we got picked up, went to the tour office to check in, and then went back to the reef terminal to board the vessel.

the boat.. ahh… how do i describe the boat except that i don’t like the way it moved!!! made me seasick for a whole day. jadi gini. me and my friend already booked this liveaboard diving trip previously. we get to stay 2 nights on the vessel, and dive every 2 hours (or so) at different reefs. but to get to the vessel we need to get on a smaller boat, jammed-pack with other tourists looking for a chance to snorkel and dive for a day. along the way (an hour boat ride to the first destination) the instructor would brief us about safety equipments, how to snorkel, how to dive, etc. i took the intro to scuba dive class, which means i get to dive up to 5 times. 2 times on the first day.

i was actually so sea-sick that moment that i didn’t want to go anywhere except dry land. but when i did force myself to snorkle, the seasick lessen. plus the gorgeous view below made me push myself to go on the first dive. it was aweeeessoomee!! first attempt going down was a bit of a mess, cos i have a phobia about going into murky water where i can’t see the bottom of, but i managed to calm myself and follow the instructor. oh, i lost one of my contact lens when snorkelling, so my vision was slightly blurred. i didn’t have the strength to put on a spare because of the seasick but at least i can see. hehe.

the second dive was even better. i was no longer afraid, but still had some troubles trying to float about. i also cut my finger on a coral whilst trying to watch a clown fish eat. hrgh.

around 2pm we transferred to the vessel (ocean quest). it’s a bigger boat, so it doesn’t move as much as the first boat. i was still seasick but glad to find hot scones for tea (a bit too sweet but still delicious with thick cream and pieces of strawberries in it). half an hour later i was to go on the third dive. this time the water’s a bit murky so i couldn’t see too clearly. at first i thought it was my missing lens and foggy goggles, but turned out all the other divers experienced the same thing.

during dinner (lamb chop and roasted veggies… plus salad bar and all you can eat bread roll. yummy!!!) we sat near one particular girl who couldn’t stop talking. we made a mental note to try and sit as faaar away as possible from her. lol.

day 4-5
onboard the vessel they have 6 diving schedules.
dive 1: 6.30am
dive 2: 9am
dive 3: 11am
dive 4: 2.30pm
dive 5: 4.30pm
dive 6: 7.30pm (night dive)

me and my friend were too lazy to join the morning dive, so we took the 9am dive. the weather was nice, and the reef (a different one from the previous day) was blooming with lots to see. i finished my last 2 diving schedules, and then spent the rest of the days sunbathing and reading magazines. i was reluctant to snorkle alone, and had to pay more if i want to dive. being the cheapo that i am, i naturally declined the option and went for the free sunbathing instead. i gotta say life is good. 😀 😀

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One thought on “australia part 2: cairns & great barrier reef

  1. hai reeen, tnyata lo udah ganti blog ya.. asik juga nihbtw gue biasanya cuma snorkeling, nggak divingtp bisa gw tanyain sih ke temen2.atau cici tuh, dia udah mulai diving jugakalo ada info, gw kasitau ya..

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