Feb 13, 2011
So after hours and hours on a greyhound, then being kicked off the greyhound, and having to get on a different one, I finally arrived in Cairns. I checked in at the Nomads Esplanade, which was without a doubt the worst hostel I have ever stayed at, with a total jerk at reception who ended up screwing me over just a couple times on this trip. The next day I went swimming in the Lagoon which was nice but I was seriously missing the beach, and then went back to the hostel where we were told we were being evacuated to the Nomads Serpent a little further inland. So we had to pack a small bag (I had a purse) and leave everything else in our rooms under the beds in preparation for the windows the break during the cyclone. So we reluctantly left our things, went to Serpents, and in the middle of the night were woken up and evacuated again, to the Stockland mall, where we stayed for almost 2 days. The cyclone changed course at the very last minute thank god, so we weren't hit as hard as we were supposed to be. Which is good because realistically, our evac centre was insufficient for the huge amount of people who were crammed in like sardines. But we all lived (well one person in Cairns died) and a baby was born during Cyclone Yasi. I was pretty calm and bored and mostly just slept and ate the whole time, but only really panicked when I was talking to my parents because I got kind of homesick for Canada, where being snowed in is the only time you'd have to eat cans of beans and be trapped in a space for over 24 hours.
So we escaped Airlie in order to be hit again by a bigger cyclone, the biggest one Australia has ever seen in fact, in Cairns. Lovely.
Then we ended up finally getting our backpacks back after dealing with the asshole receptionist, and moving to stay at Nomads serpents which was a great hostel, with great people. While there we did a pub crawl which was insane, and drank a whole lot, but didn't do much during the days.
As for our cruise and working thing, it didn't happen, the ships were still staying in so we were transferred to a different cruise, same price, for 2 days and no option to work and live on board, which was shitty but the cruise was great. Snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef was incredible, staying up all night with the crew, being scared shitless by buddies outside our window, waking up 3 hours later at 5am to do the morning snorkel, breaking into an office to steal a duckie which then committed suicide on the sundeck .. all amazing fun. The food on board was nice too, and the best part of the trip was when I saw a giant sea turtle, and decided to swim on top of it, and I followed it for about 15 minutes, holding onto it's shell and scratching it, which they love. This thing was so big, a couple feet long at least, and soooo peaceful, I was in such a trance, felt like I was all alone in the middle of the ocean, swimming with a giant turtle towards a new life. Fuck it was such a trip. I'm almost glad that my camera died and I couldn't take a picture, because it allowed me to concentrate entirely on this gentle giant and focus so intensely on the moment, that it's been vivdly burned into my mind forever I know.
God it was cool. I also swam like a foot away from a big reef shark, and then saw a huuuuge shark again later. And some Nemo fish! And ginormous clams!! And I kissed a pineapple sea cucumber, but only because J dove all the way down to bring it up for me to see. Lovely times.
After that we stayed in Cairns another couple of nights then booked a flight back to Sydney.