A Travellerspoint blog

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Green Island

Three wonderful nights on Green Island.

sunny 27 °C

A slow start still has us fed and packed and checked out by 9:30. The young German girl on the desk is excited to learn we are from Canada. She wants to see a bear!

The ferry arrives and we board with mostly Asian tourists. Lots will get off for the day on Green Island the rest will go to the Pontoons.

It is only just after 11 but the rooms are ready. We are in 6. We discover we have been upgraded to a reef suite. A larger, split level room located more privately along the reef side of the resort. The island suites are located around the pool area, either ground level or above. How lucky are we....I wonder if it because we booked so long ago.

Our luggage arrives, we settle in and go to explore. We get free use of the stinger suits, snorkel gear, beach chairs and the guests only pool. The beach is quiet but gets busier so we go to,have a snack and sit around the pool where it is very quiet. We meet some travellers on a tour. They are from England and Ireland. The weather drizzled for a bit, but the sun came out in full force again. We will wear stinger suits. While many do not they have found some of e deadly ones on the Cairns beaches.

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We take the rain forest guided walk and learn so much. The island resort was built by a Japanese man. Later another Japanese man came to sail. He bought the boat, he then bought the resort so he had some where to stay......we looked at our green ants....the guide picked one up and licked its bum. Kind of sour. He said if you boil their nest it is like lemon aid.

The group on the walk are all from the group lead by the tour leader we met at the Shangri La. The nightly monsoon has moved in and we can hear thunder, but we will go for the fish feeding anyway, then drinks by the pool and dinner. Only one place is open for dinner, the Emerald. There is also a walk in the dark.....we may or may not go on that one.....we will see how hard it rains, but we do have our Olympic capes and they supply torches. So it is wet and humid, but not overly hot....or maybe we are just getting used to it.

The night is wet, but the next day dawns beautiful and stays that way all day. The day starts early...our fire detector goes off at five and they don't get it shut off until six. No worries, we get up early and check our internet before taking a walk around the island. By they the buffet is ready and we enjoy a very wonderful brekkie. Lots of fruit and we'll it's a buffet.

We watch the ferry come in and think maybe we will take a,kayak out, but end up taking the glass bottom boat instead. The reef just off the island is nice and we see turtles and the usual suspects. By now we need to get ready for our trip to the pontoon. Another hour by ferry and we dock at the pontoon. The ship...is full of Japanese and Chinese tourists and the occasional English speaking tourist. Roger figures out where we are getting off and we make our way there as we approach the pontoons. We are the first off the boat and the first in the water. We are officially snorkelling on the outer Great Barrier Reef.

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We have quite a large area to explore and what can I say.....amazing. When we get tired we head in for lunch and chat with a couple from the US, doctors, one from India and one from Canada of Indian descent now living in South Carolina. Then we chat with a couple on a tour from Shanghai, they get two days in Cairns, two days in Brisbane and one in Sydney...that's it.

We get back in the water....again...wow. Then we get out to catch the last ride on the semi submersible, we get to see the reef a little way from the pontoons....again....very cool.

Back on the boat we. Chat with another couple of Indian descent that now live in San Fran. They are delightful and we exchange contact info.

After we get dropped off we enjoy a shower, a swim in the pool and are offered a snorkel trip tomorrow for our disturbance this morning with the fire detector....very nice,... But the day isn't over. There is still the fish feeding, drinks on the beach where we meet a couple from outside of Edmonton and a couple from Germany. Later we will go down the the jetty for the evening wildlife walk.

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Ohhhh, we walk out in the jetty and shine our torches in the water. We see turtles and we see long toms being chased by trevally, no sharks and a few others. The stars are bright and we watch the lightning on the mainland. What a great way to end today.

Another couple days in paradise. The snorkel is excellent. The waves are bigger, but no worries. We see so many varieties of fish, but the coral is better when we snorkelled the Whitsundays. The clams that measure 4 feet across are pretty cool. We swim up to a barracuda, a black tipped reef shark, we see more turtles, a different type of sting ray......

Time to leave...we catch an earlier boat because my tooth is bothering me and I can see a dentist at three. Turns out something is stuck under the edge of my tooth. The dentist got it out and it's feeling better already.

Posted by Mari Anne 07:02 Archived in Australia Tagged in green island resort ferry snorkel check pontoons Comments (0)

Cairns again

Last three days before we head for home. A visit to the outback, Chillagoe Caves and Cape Tribulation.

sunny 26 °C

Best Western for the night. We wander into town making plans...at the Hilton we decide to see Sam Powers, a magician. So we make sure we are early since Mel the ticket agent says they are doing a new trick tonight and it should be exciting. As we wait at the door someone comes by...is this where the magician is? He says....then enters behind us....it's Sam Powers.

We enter and sit front and centre... A very small venue. When it starts I get asked up on stage...it is fun and silly, a little suggestive, but funny....it is a card trick. At the end he motions to kiss him on the cheek, I know he is going to turn his face, but I do it anyway and get a very wet kiss. I get a poster for my troubles and he mentions you can buy it for $5 after the show...I offer mine for $4. LOL! He also gave Roger the gears ...pretended to toss things at him and make him flinch..then after had made a bowling ball appear he managed to switch it for a plastic one and actually tossed that one at him and got a good reaction. He did the cut a girl if half and separate the parts and walk between.... Very entertaining. He also had random people in the audience give him details for a story.. then he opened a locked box and there was the story as the random people had told it. I later watched you tube clips of him on Australia's got Talent. He made the finals!

Friday we decide to do the Billie Tea trip to the Chillagoe caves. Our driver Mark picked us up just after seven and we join Joe, Joe and Belinda. We first visit Mereeba wetlands and the Jebiru Safari Lodge on the edge of the outback, there are many birds. We took a slow coast around the lagoon with a guide. We are the only ones there as this is the end of their tourist season. They had eight inches of rain over the last week, but today is great. We see ostriches with two chicks and some wallabies. One has a little Joey peeking out of her pouch. I am too slow with the camera. Further along we stop for a water break at a small town, a very small town, Dimboulah. We see very few cars on the road, maybe five over an hour and a half.

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At Chillagoe we explore the history displays before having our lunch at the hotel bar. A awesome burger and fries. We take a drive up to see the old smelter grounds. The Chillagoe Smelters site is an excellent demonstration of the technology of mineral (copper, silver, lead and gold) smelting at the turn of the 20th century. An up-to-date plant was assembled and then modified repeatedly between 1901 and 1911 to meet local conditions. The physical remains at the Chillagoe Smelters preserve important evidence of historic smelting processes that are rare today.It is very rustic and normally very hot. It was 40 degrees last week, this week it is low thirties. The rain has caused a sudden springing out of green and streams rush across the road in a couple of places. People here must be prepared for being cut off as storms flood the area. We are okay today, but I think it is cool to drive through the water.

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Some scientists believe the landscape around Chillagoe began to form about 400 million years ago, when limestone was deposited as calcareous mud and coral reefs on the bed of a shallow sea where Chillagoe is today.

We head off to meet the guide for the caves and are outfitted with battery packs and lights. Luke our guide locks us in the caves and we begin our journey. We are fortunate to have had the rain this past week as it adds some colour and character to the drama in the chambers. The bats are tiny compared to the huge fruit bats that soar over our heads back in Cairns. The Hunter spiders are cool....their eyes sparkle in the torchlight and the cockroaches are red. At one point we enter some paths that get a little low..I thought the guy ahead of me was not going to make it. But on and on we go. Caves are so amazing from tiny alcoves to majestic cathedrals. Belinda's dad joe farts...it echoes...Belonda has been laughing for ages....her dad has been farting the whole way through. We are out all too soon.

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Our drive home is broken up with water breaks, Mt Uncle distillery where we try honey vodka and marshmallow liqueur. Both great.

Next day finds us waiting for Trek North. The 4 x 4 shows up late, the driver has been looking for an elusive couple . We leave without them. One pair of young Chinese girls that stay to themselves, a Chinese mom and daughter, the daughter talks a bit, but they pretty much keep to themselves, a couple from Ireland who have been working in Brisbane since March and a young German man doing weekend trips from Perth. I thought he and the Irish couple would team up but he joins with us and is very interesting.

Some quick notes.
We see a saltie on the Daintree river cruise. He postures for us and we get some great photos. We also see a female starting to nest up a creek. Boat rules are....keep arms and heads inside the boat, the crocs can jump high. Salties are aggressive, don't stand in the water to launch you boat, they get their victims in the water or on the banks. Usually eat mud crabs, not people. They can go 12 months without eating.

Hotter and more humid that yesterday.
Stay a while vines are like barbed wire.
Delicious BBQ on the banks of the river.
Cool bug museum. See mask.
Too much to remember....many species only found here, different types of rainforest, it feels very primitive.
Road is very windy and bumpy!
We don't see a cassowary, very rare to sight one.
Most beaches unsafe...stingers.
Water in Cape Tribulation really hot
Mossman gorge is flowing, but not huge, water is cool, but not quite cold
Barramundi are all born male in fresh water. When they go to sea some become female. All the barramundi in the wetlands yesterday are male.
Salties are also called estuarine crocs.
They are found in fresh water more than salt....animals need fresh water so where better to hunt.
Tobias is the German man on the trip, he will be in Vancouver in February
In the outback the cattle are Brahmas, that are rail thin because of the long dry period. They will die if you were to drop of some fresh grass for them to eat.

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The Last hotel

Our hotwire deal is awesome. We spend the night at the Novotel oasis resort for a sweet deal. We enjoy a quick drink at happy hour and a swim. Early sleep tonight.....a very tired happy traveler.

There are hundreds of bats in the trees outside our room!
Got geocache 800 and 801.

The flight to Sydney has us coming in with an awesome view. We meet up with David and Anne and drive to a spot on Botany Bay for tea and then a walk. I kind of miss the hot humid weather, but I will cope. We collect our luggage that had been stored by Anne and David and it is only when we go to check in that we learn our flight will not be leaving until tomorrow morning. They have a holding room for us and snacks. The room slowly fills with bodies all over. They go to dim the lights at ten and one loud mouth lady protests so they turn some lights back up and bring out some masks and earplugs. Some people make little effort to be quiet, but most are considerate.

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We board and take off by 6 am.

Posted by Mari Anne 07:11 Archived in Australia Tagged sydney rain outback flight sam plane cape cairns airplane magician tribulation powers Comments (0)

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