Tuesday, 14 December 2004

Nick no longer in Cairns

Took a 45 minute ferry to Green Island for the morning.
I wanted to go snorkelling. I convinced Rinku to come snorkelling with me, while Deepani just wanted to go on the glass bottom boat.
I thought Rinku was exaggerating when she said she couldn't swim... but after floundering in waist deep water I believed her :) Fortunately, half an hour of practice and a life-vest later, we were exploring the coral.
I saw:
  • Lots of seaweed
  • Lots of fish of all sorts, including a breed that took offence at my flippers and kept charging at them. Better the flippers than me.
  • A big blue starfish!
  • A huge great turtle, in about 1.5 metres of water, from a couple of metres away! It was so big it had small fish swimming in the shelter between its shell and flippers.
  • Bright clams; waving anenomies; deep banks of coral - cool stuff!
We ran out of time and had to bolt back to the ferry, getting split up by the mobs of Japanese tourists. The mobile reception was patchy, and we couldn't find one another, but eventually we all made it onto the ferry - the last ones on board, with the deck hand looking at us impatiently as he waited to cast off :)

Sat through rest of the day's conference sessions in sandy beach clothes.
Realised that night that I was sunburned in interesting patterns where I'd missed putting sunscreen on. Thankful for longsleeved shirt at formal dinner :D
Went to casino with Jason afterwards and won $5! Must spend winnings on Sarah to placate her ;)

At conference all day. Good Nick.
Xiaolong and Rinku presented well - very well for first time conference presentations!
Mexican food for dinner. Yum.
Off to pack and sleep. Have to get up far too early to drive back!

Up at 3am, leave at 4am, and sleep through most of the really interesting leg of the journey from Cairns to Townsville. It's called The Green Passage, and it's pretty much lush rainforest the entire way. It was so eerily beautiful in the predawn mist. I'd love to explore that area more - sometime when I'm awake ;)
Alternated driving every few hours with Kerry. We made excellent progress, even stopping to pick up her sister in Townsville. I expected heavy traffic this time of year, but the road was astonishingly empty. Made it back into Rockhampton at 7pm.

End of trip to Cairns. It was a really fun week, and the best conference experience I've had :D

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