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MIPTC's South Seas Journal: Not So Much Downtime In Cairns – Day Nine

My body sways back and forth as I walk around.  It's not due to alcohol; it's seven days on a boat in the Coral Sea.  I'm standing perfectly still.  It's the rest of the terrestrial world that's moving. 

The dive portion of the trip is behind us, and as you likely know by now from my previous eight posts, I'm sorry to leave the Great Barrier Reef behind - I could have spent another week diving.  But I'm glad to be off the boat. 

Mike Ball's SpoilSport dropped us off at the dock, and the staff's apologies flowed because the boat lived up to its name.  The retrofit of the boat planned to end just before we got on didn't, and instead of two diesel engines to power us out to the distant Osprey Reef, we had only one.  Consequently, the crew spent time finishing the repairs to the boat, and the trip was slightly delayed, as well as several other minor disasters.  Despite the "rough seas" of the start, the Great Barrier Reef lived up to its name and I'm more than pleased to have had the opportunity to dive there.  Next time, it'll be Tusa's Spirit of Freedom instead, or better yet, the Four Seasons Explorer liveaboard in the Maldives.

One can always dream. 

But I'm back on solid ground in Cairns (pronounced by the Aussies as something close to "Cans" with a very slight "R" thrown in before the "N") at the Shangra-La hotel and enjoying the view of the boats tucked neatly in their slips in the nearby marina.  When the short, tropical rainstorm hits midday, I'm all the much more enjoying lunch under the covered deck just behind the hotel.  As most tropical residents say, if you don't like the rain, just wait a few minutes.

As quickly as it comes, it goes.  The bright warm sun pops back out from the grey clouds and provides a wonderful double rainbow, complete with an in-between Alexander's band to highlight the difference between the two.  I'm glad, too, because tonight we're heading to the Cairns Zoo for the swaggies are out and about at the zoo; our hosts are full of music and tall tales.  But like most Aussies, they back up what they say.  Our zookeeper climbed down into the crocodile cage and giving his best imitation of Crocodile Dundee, he got a large, 18-foot croc to jump up out of the water and snap at him, while he deftly stepped back just in time to avoid two rows of one-inch teeth coming together with over two thousand pounds of pressure

It's a show, that's for sure.

At the zoo, the night owls fly around, the fruit bats dart between the trees looking for insects, but it's the Koalas, Kangaroos and joeys that steal the show.  We're allowed to hold and pet the Koalas (their claws are very sharp) and the Kangaroos and Wallabies hold us, trying to take honey bread out of our hands with theirs.  Very small and their "cuddly cute" belies the power behind those feet. 

A fitting end to a wonderful dive trip - seeing the fish that swim on the land. 

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Wednesday, April 04, 2007 at 22:00 Comments Closed (0) |
 
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