Friday, May 27, 2011

Australia...part 3

Wow, where has the time gone?!? It has been way too long sine I got back from Australia and I have only written about a few days of my trip. So, here goes the next chunk of time! After being in south Australia, I flew up to Cairns, which I was SO excited for. This is one of the most famous cities on the Great Barrier Reef. Needless to say, it was a dream come true to finally be there. When I first got into town, I walked all around and just checked it out. Cairns doesn't really have beaches that you can hang out on so they have built this big saltwater pool in the middle of the city that anyone can jump in. It is so nice.

After exploring the city, I went on an excursion above the rainforest. They have a gondola that takes you above the rainforest and up to a city called Kuranda. It was such a beautiful trip! It was so cool to go through the canopy and see all kinds of animals and then look back and see the ocean once I was above the trees. Unreal!

In Kuranda, I went to a butterfly sanctuary and a bird sanctuary and saw some of the most beautiful and unique animals I have ever seen. I was amazing to say the least! They also had a small "zoo" where I got to see crocodiles, kangaroos, wombats, crazy poisonous snakes (which you totally walk through their enclosure and they are curled up in trees right above you!!!! SCARY!) and koalas. I was ridiculously excited because I could hold a koala there. They have a tendency to be a little mean and grumpy so there aren't many that you can hold. This is Sienna. She was half asleep which I guess is good for a koala. If someone woke me up, I wouldn't be as content as she was! But it was definitely a highlight of my trip!

They had several koalas there and this was an 8 month old baby named Otto and his mama, Maya. They were way too sweet.

I took a train back down to Cairns and it was very cool. The next day, I got to live the dream! Everyone had told me throughout my life that you aren't officially a marine biologist until you dive the Great Barrier Reef. So, regardless of the degree, I wasn't a marine biologist until this day!!! I got to do three dives and it was so incredible! I was the only certified diver on the boat so it was just me and my dive master. It was awesome because he was a marine biologist too and asked me what I wanted to see. I told him that I wanted to see the stuff that I couldn't see anywhere else. Needless to say, he showed me some beautiful animals! This is a giant clam and is average sized. It was so cool to see how huge they were!

The main thing that I wanted to see was a fish named Wally. He is a HUGE fish weighing in at an unreal 300 pounds! I had read about him and they said that he was like a puppy. He would come up and follow divers around and just chill. He was blind in one eye and would bump into people when he would turn around. I was STOKED! Sadly, we never saw him! I was heart broken!!!!!!! My dive master said that he had seen Wally a few days before but never saw him again. I missed him by two days! If I had known, I would have changed my whole trip around just to be there a few days earlier! I like to tell myself that Wally found some cute girl fish that he followed to another part of the reef...sweet, sweet Wally! I was disappointed but it was all made up for a few days later when I went whale watching! Story to follow in another post!