A Travellerspoint blog

June 2014

Numbers, Take 2

Everyone loves numbers...

Well! I had so much fun coming up with my first [Numbers] post, I thought I'd do a second one to tell the story of my East Coast travel. I bought a 1 way Greyhound bus ticket to travel from Sydney to Cairns, and though I've written a bit about what I've done along the way (Fraser, Kayaking, Whitsundays, Horses, Yongala Dive) I haven't told you where I've gone exactly. That will happen soon, sometime. But first, some numbers...

Days it took me to get from Sydney to Cairns: 67

All about the Greyhound bus...
Hours on a bus: 49
Miles (km) traveled on the bus: 1,919 miles (3,087km)
Buses taken: 11

Nights...
Towns I stayed overnight in: 14
Hostels stayed at: 19
Nights spent on a boat: 3
Nights spent in a tent: 4

The people..
Americans I met: 6
People I could tell were American and purposely didn't meet: 4

And of course...
Pictures taken: 3,288

Posted by smr1188 14:34 Archived in Australia Tagged australia numbers summary east_coast Comments (1)

Diving the Yongala Wreck

Befriending Batfish

Sunk in 1911 due to a cyclone and undiscovered till 1958, this amazing wreck sits on the sandy bottom with no reefs nearby. This means there's an incredible about of fish life and activities here; the wreck is 109m in length and sits roughly 30m down. It is known as one of the top diving sites in the world!

After a small internal debate regarding the price, I knew I had to go and do it. We went with Adrenalin Dive. Luckily it was a bright sunny day and the waters were "calm" according to the crew (though this did not stop me from getting seasick between dives...does the boat rock the other way in the southern hemisphere?)

I decided to start my Advanced Open Water course on the boat since I needed a guide anyway to go down to 30m. This probably didn't help the seasickness situation as I tried to read and write on the boat, but I was determined. Later, I'd realize it would have been cheaper to do the whole course on a liveaboard boat off Cairns, instead of starting it here but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

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The dive itself was unbelievable! Most of the ship itself is gone, but the coral still holds the shape of the wreck and we had awesome visibility. We'd opted to rent a camera and Anna managed to get some amazing pictures and videos. Unfortunately, I was a little overwhelmed with it all and couldn't manage / share the camera so all the pictures and videos are taken by Anna.

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We saw a turtle having some lunch.

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We saw a ton of spotted eagle rays. They're so elegant and graceful as they soar through the waters.

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I didn't recognize this ray, but it was HUGE! The video takes a couple seconds for it to swim into view, but you'll see at the end as it swims by a person, just how big it actually is...

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Apparently there are sea snakes, more deadly than anything on land but they're not aggressive at all and occasionally mildly curious. So they'll even swim around your legs and up through your BCD if you're lucky (or unlucky).

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After getting back ashore, we tried to load the pictures onto my computer from the memory card and it wasn't working! Yikes! We went through 3 days of panic and that sinking feeling when technology fails you, before we were able to stop by the shop to see if they could fix the problem. They couldn't. So we headed over to a camera store and for the same price as the camera rental, we were able to recover the pictures and videos. Luckily there were good pictures and videos that it was totally worth it to recover them all!

Posted by smr1188 16:35 Archived in Australia Tagged diving wildlife australia scuba wreck east_coast Comments (0)

Horseback Riding with Horseshoe Bay

Magnetic Island has everything...including swimming with horses!

How do you pass up an opportunity to go horseback riding through the bush, along the beach, and through the surf when you're on Magnetic Island?

It's simple. You don't.

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Although it's a bit expensive, Horseshoe Bay Ranch is comparable to other horse rides in Australia. And it's definitely worth it. We were just a group of 4, plus the owner and 2 volunteer guides.

There are no words to describe riding horseback through the bush and being surrounded by wallabies hopping everywhere, so I'm not going to try to describe that. But it was awesome!

Eventually we made it out to the beach, and walked along the sand for a bit. The weather cooperated and we actually had sun!

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We then stopped for a break and to take the saddles off before going into the water. Once the saddles were off, the horses immediately were on the ground rolling around in the sand with their legs in the air, perfect picture of happiness. So cute!

We suited up with stinger suits (the last of the season) and then hopped back on the horses, bareback, and headed into the water.

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That was pretty awesome too, I think the horses liked the refreshing water too.

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All too soon we were headed back to the ranch and it was over. I'm glad the horses seemed happy and well cared for, and they've done this routine so many times they know when to walk, trot, and stop, and all you have to do is hold on! (Sorry there aren't more pictures, I was too busy trying to hold on! :) )

Posted by smr1188 17:46 Archived in Australia Tagged beaches horses australia magnetic_island horseback_riding east_coast Comments (1)

Twilight Racing

"You're wearing raincoats, you should go sailing!"

It was a rainy Wednesday afternoon and we were just walking around Airlie Beach, getting some pancake mix and syrup (real syrup!) for dinner, when we heard the voice behind us.

“Hey, you're wearing raincoats, you should go sailing”

That certainly got my attention. I try to get more information as the guy walks by, but he seems in a hurry and doesn't want to stop, despite being the one who started the conversation. He's pretty vague but mentions a Wednesday evening sailing race where there's sometimes extra space, pulls out his phone and shows us a couple pictures, and a video, then starts to point to a cafe, then changes his mind and just gives us his phone number, saying to text in a half an hour and he'll tell us where to meet. He says it's free, but generally nice if you buy the skipper a beer afterwords. Not a bad deal!

We rush back to the hostel, drop off our bags, and text the guy, “hey, we're in, where should we meet?”

No response.

We decide to walk into town and then text again, “We'd like to join you for sailing, where and when should we meet you?”

Then we get the response, “We'd love for you to go sailing, but you've got the wrong number.” Classic.

We wander around town, on the off chance we'll see him walking around again, and we start getting desperate. Finally, as a last resort I suggest we ask the Yacht Club. We walk in and I don't even know how to ask, “So I heard something about Wednesday night sailing?”
“Oh yes,” the woman replies, “just go sit at that table and I'll see if any of the skippers are still taking people.

Moments later we find ourselves on a sailboat! A 43' Hanse, With a mix of trying to help and trying to stay out of the way of the crew (4 guys) we get the sails set and head out of the slip.

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Anna and I are positioned up by the bow, out of the way and moving for ballast, and I'm in charge of skirting the sail when necessary.

It was a gorgeous evening for a sail, the clouds lifted and it was perfect. Beautiful. Luckily, the race was just for fun and didn't count for anything, since we came in last.

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Posted by smr1188 17:42 Archived in Australia Tagged boats australia sailing racing east_coast Comments (2)

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