Port Dougie

Thursday (your Wednesday): Took a tour of the Daintree Rainforest. Our group consisted of David (our tour guide) and a very nice couple from Brisbane by the names of Brian and Barbara…it was our own personal tour of one of the oldest, if not the oldest, rainforests in the world. The Daintree contains more species of plants and insects than any other rainforest. In fact, the HIV drug AZT is derived from the Australian black bean which comes from the Daintree. As you can imagine, it is only found in Australia (until some brilliant tourist picks a couple of them up and sneaks them into other parts of the world. No, we did not do this, we’re just saying in general). Anyway, we took lovely strolls through the lushness of the forest where we encountered a lot of spider webs. We also took a river boat down the Daintree River where we saw some crocs and snakes. (MIST: Felt a bit like Steve Irwin when we had to wrestle one out of the boat. hee hee.)

David took us through the local roads where we saw sugarcane farms, Aboriginal communities, and some coastal beaches. One of the beaches we went to was Cape Tribulation, where the rainforest meets the Coral Sea. Unfortunately, you couldn’t frollick in the water due to the stingers (there were Jellyfish warning signs and an emergency bottle of vinegar at the entrances to all of the beaches.) Anyway, it was a very nice, interesting, pampered day. We had morning tea on the beach, catered picnic lunch in the middle of a virgin portion of the rainforest, and some Daintree exotic fruit ice cream at the end. On to Day 2 of Port Douglas…..

Friday (your Thursday): Went out to the Great Barrier Reef on the dive boat Poseidon. It took about 45 minutes to get to the first of three reef sites. The best part of this tour was that we went scuba diving and it was faaaaantastic! Went down to about 36 feet (we did introductory dives since we’re not certified) and encountered some barracuda, lots of tropical fish, giant clams, sea worms (they were cool cause they poked out from the bottom of the ocean floor and when you got close they would shoot downward and disappear into the sand), and beautiful coral! We went diving twice at two different sites. The first dive was okay. Mist and I were the only ones in the group because one guide had to stay with a maximum of four people and since there were 10 of us, Mist and I got the guide to ourselves which turned out to be great! Whereas, the other group had to stay close to the boat because one of the ladies in their group was having some issues underwater, Mist and I got to swim all around the reef area! The second dive was even better because we went even deeper and farther away into the reef. We spent about 25 minutes under when the guide motioned for all of us to follow him back to the boat. He checked Mist’s gauges and motioned her to the boat to get out of the water. Meanwhile, me and the two other people in the group hung back and waited for him to motion us back to the boat. After Mist was out, the guide kind of lazily floated down towards the bottom of the ocean floor and then waved for us to follow him. Huh? Uh…well okay then. He then took us around the reef some more and tried to find a shark for us to spot. We were down there for about 10 more minutes before we got out of the water. Came to find out that Mist had begun to run out of oxygen which is why she had to get out before us. She must have been sucking her air pretty quickly since we had that much more time underwater than her. Needless to say, she was pretty disappointed and pouty. (MIST: Whatever, I got out and waited for the others to come out, but no one came. I thought maybe I had gotten in trouble. I don’t think I breathed any differently than anyone else. They must have given me an empty tank.) Well, Mist was jealous because I was like a porpoise in the water going this way and that, while she was a little more like a wounded sea lion. HA HA! So scuba diving is really cool and we recommend it to everyone and I have no doubt that we will do it again!

This part of the trip was cool too because we met some Yankees on our boat. What was crazy was that they were all from New York too! A young couple who were from the Upper East Side, and a guy who lives on 28th street. Another crazy thing was that the guy is friends with Mist’s friend! Mist told him that she was doing the Columbia NP program and so he goes “ummm…do you know Marisa?” and Mist goes “uhhh….yeah!” And so the small world theme proves real once again. We ended up meeting up with the New Yorkers for dinner and then took over the whole restaurant in the name of the USA and threatened everyone in the joint to chant “USA, USA” lest they fall prey to a most unconsiderable result. (MIST: This is coming from the guy who thinks it would be cool to have a koala scuba diving next to him, with his own scuba gear and all.) Oh that would be soooo cool! If I ever figure out how to get a koala to use a regulator properly, I could make milliions off tourists! ANYWAY, after dinner with the New Yorkers, we strolled down the main strip to watch the cane toad races — didn’t get to see them, but it would have been cool. If you’re wondering what these are, they’re toads that were brought in from South America to rid the Aussies of a certain beetle that was destroying the sugar cane crop. Unfortunately (and for some reason), no one took into account that the beetles manifested themselves at the top of the sugarcane and as such, the toads could not reach them. Because of this, not only did the beetles remain, but the population of cane toads increased as well, especially since cane toads have no natural predators. And so now people use them for sport (ridiculous games and sometimes kill them for fun with golf clubs and cricket bats…though it seems cruel and technically it is against the law, it’s probably the same as people in the states killing off crows and pigeons.) So one of these ridiculous games is the Cane Toad races which is held in pubs. You pay $5 for a toad, kiss the bloody thing, and sit him/her on a pedestal alongside other toads. You then get a noisemaker and such and try to get your toad to jump off the pedestal before the other toads. And that’s that. May not seem like a “hopping” good time, but we were really curious to see what this was all about. Unfortunately, the races were not running last night so we just had a nice brew outside under the nice night sky. So that’s about it. Today (Saturday, your Friday) is our lazy day. No tours, no plans. Just hang out and enjoy the sun. We leave for Melbourne in the morning. Later!

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