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Honeymoon, the rest. April 13, 2009

Posted by Natasha in Honeymoon.
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The notes get a little sketchy from here. All I know is that Thursday was spent cruising from Palm Cove to Kuranda, then on to the Atherton tablelands, stopping for rainforest walks and Devonshire tea at Lake Barrine along the way.

Friday, I think, we headed up to the Daintree. Palm Cove and the actual town of Daintree were underwhelming, but Mossman Gorge, and the Daintree river were lovely.

Saturday, Sunday and Monday were spent lazing by the pool, in defiance of the impending trip home, and also in defiance of every sunsmart commercial ever made, because by the time I returned home, I looked like Dr Zoidberg.

Honeymoon Day 3 April 8, 2009

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Paul wakes me after his shower, it must be all of 6am. We make it to Cairns by 7:10, but we’re feeling the pressure to get to where we need to be. We seem to have brought Melbourne’s weather with us, as it can’t make up its mind whether it wants to rain or shine. We have our second breakfast aboard the boat, and Phil Lance the Whale Marine Biologist briefs us for our trip. Mr G turns a nasty shade of green, then heads to the back of the boat to become re-acquainted with his breakfasts.

After quite a lengthy trip out, we arrive at the reef. Getting our gear on, and plunging into the aquamarine sea, we are again amazed at the warmth of the water. We strike out toward the reef.

The darker blue water eventually gives way to a shimmering silver, as the rock formations became clear. More and more reefs rose to meet us, as an abundance of tropical fish dart about. Some people dive down for a closer look. I lost Mr G at one point, and feel like an intruder into another world, floating above the reef.

After finding Mr G again, it is almost time for our dive. We took a few photos, then it was time to get our gear on. We sat at the back of the boat, anticipating what we were about to experience. Plunging into the water, I am worried that I don’t seem to be sinking as much as I would have expected. As we head off, I try to swim down, but once I reach a certain point, my right ear simply won’t equalize. I could see that at the bottom there were coral formations and big fish. Every attempt to swim down is futile and painful, as I keep floating up, amidst painful squaking from my ear. All too soon, the steps up into the boat loomed in front of me, and our dive was over. I realised just how heavy the SCUBA gear was as I tried to get back out of the boat – standing up – FAIL. Ever the image of coordination, I had to get someone to haul me to my feet via the tank. Heading back into the boat, it was time for lunch, and the trip to the second site for the afternoon. Lunch was an amazing feast, enough to satisfy even Mr G’s now rabid hunger. Chicken, Ham, Lasagne, huge bread rolls, potato, pasta, garden and cheese salads and coleslaw. We settled down for the trip across the reef, and hoped that Mr G’s lunch wouldn’t request an encore.

After the briefing for the afternoon site, we were told about the coral gardens – visible across the reef as brilliant patches of turquoise – we were eager to get back into it. Mr G had decided to do the second introductory dive on offer, and we had both decided to take Phil the Whale biologist up on his offer of a guided snorkel tour.

Back in the water, we were yet again amazed by the temperature, a lukewarm 29 degrees. Diving in, we disturbed a school of reef Schnapper. They must have known that we couldn’t capture them – despite being told that they were delicious eating fish – they weren’t at all scared by the intrusion.  We linked hands and swam toward the reef 0 although it was somewhat awkward, as being low tide, it was too shallow to swim across and we had to go around the outskirts.

No matter – the brilliant coloured coral formations were still there, as was the myriad of fish – blue, yellow, purple, turquoise, red – and every colour variation possible. We were guided out to the the coral gardens – a sight to behold! The were a roughly bowl shaped formation, approx 10m across, absolutely filled with thousands of species of hard and soft coral, and the same abundance of fish. The 300 year old giant clams were a treat, and we were both able to swim down and touch them. Their response – closing up to avoid the intrusion. We swam around some more, spotting many different creatures, until such time as Mr G had to leave for his dive.

I swam around by myself for a bit longer,  but was too nervous to make the precarious shallow swim through the the coral formations, worried that I wouldn’t have room to turn around once on the other side. Of course, faced with all this beauty, all I can think of is horror stories of coral scratches and major systemic tropical infections and coral colonies growing inside me and OHNOES TEH CORAL IZ GONNA KILL MAH!

I swam back toward the boat and rejoined the guide, although I had grown tired of his tourist pleasing “Look at the Nemo Fish” babble, he was able to direct me from the edge of the reef back to the coral gardens.

Meeting up with Mr G again, I was a little upset to hear of his amazing underwater adventures. On the trip back, there were no sea sickness issues, and we arrived back in Cairns exhausted, but ready for another swim.

Honeymoon Day 2 April 7, 2009

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We wake uo to brilliant sunshine, go for a swim, take some photos and decide to go and get the car and some food. We head into Cairns to collect the car, and are amazed at the scenery, not having seen it the night before. We are directed to the Reef Experience cruise for snorkelling and diving, so we sign up for Wednesday. Arrange dinner with Justin, and head to “Woolworths” for food.

On the way back, we stop at a roadside food stand, and stock up on some lucious, and cheap, tropical fruit. Back to the resort, for a lazy afternoon. The last few days have caught up with me, and I’m not feeling the best.

We head to bed early, in preparation for our trip.

The Honeymoon April 6, 2009

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I will admit that I am backdating these. All of these posts are written from notes that we wrote during our trip.

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We wake up at Arthur’s Seat to the incredible views. Breakfast consists of a fresh loaf of home baked bread, and we decide to take the remainder of the loaf with us, along with all the condiments we can find.

We head home, finish off the final packing, check our emails, and make the all important Facebook marital status updates. People have already started to post photos, but we don’t linger, dreading being one of those couples that live-blogs their honeymoon.

We drive Mixy to Mum’s, show the photos from my camera to Mum, D, G&G. D Drives us to the airport. I pick up the suitcase awkwardly and manage to burst a little blood vessel in my right ring finger, making it impossible to remove Mum’s ring, which I still have on from yesterday.

Not long after our departure, we are surprised to hear our names being called over the PA in the plane, as “very special guests who are travelling with Virgin Blue on their honeymoon”! We turn around to see the hostie with a bottle of chamgpagne! The flight is otherwise uneventful.

We arrive in Brisbane, and have a short stopover before getting back onto the plane. We arrive in Cairns 3 hours later, and we are floored by the humidity, even late at night. Cairns International Airport seems to closely resemble a shack, complete with shipping containers as boarding gates.

When we get to baggage collection, there is the usual slight nervous feeling as we wait for our luggage. Mine comes around, but we are getting more and more agitated sa Mr G’s fails to appear. Gradually, the lounge empties, and it is clear his bag is not going to appear. We head to passenger services, and they eventually find his bag. We find our driver, who takes us to Palm Cove.

When we arrive at Mango Lagoon, I am tired, hot, bothered, and snarky. I have a minor meltdown because – of all things – I can’t make the airconditioner work. I finally work out how to call the after hours receptionist, who I am sure is delighted to be woken by me, and sort it out. Instant calm. Don’t think it will be turned off in a hurry!

Over my initial attack of the bitch, we are delighted to see the pool that is mere metres away from our door. We are quick to test it out.

Realising we are starving, and having had little of substance since our loaf of bread, we decide to order a pizza. We had to walk down an unknown road, in an unfamiliar town, un the dark, with noone around to pick it up. We get lost, walk back twice, then ring the shop to ask for directions. Finally we get to have our pizza on the beach, near the stinger net. I head to the water’s edge, and I am shocked to feel the temperature of the water – it feels like a bath at nearly 11pm! We took our time walking back, until Mr G fell down some stairs. He is ok apart from a bit of a twisted ankle, and a few skinned patches.

The whole esplanade is paved with bricks, and we walk back looking for a short cut. Epic Fail. We resolve to get a hire car on Tuesday.