Amanda and Amy woke early again and clambered over Sam to have showers in the toilet block with the mosquitos. We drove on all day stopping at a giant "gumboot" (wellington boot) in Tully, the wettest place in Australia, the Josephine Falls and Badbina Boulders - both of which were rivers running through granite area. At Badbina Rocks we saw some terapins in the river which were really cute We drove into Cairns and we were all hot and bothered from spending most of the day in the car so we went to the information centre to get leaflets about snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef trips and a holiday park But when we got to the park they were full. We found a motel with a strange owner that Amanda thought was Pakistani but we couldn't fully determine where he was from, maybe Mediterranean. It was mosquito ridden and not very nice so we headed out to find dinner which we found in a pub and went back later that evening via an internet cafe to print Amanda's flight ticket. We had a comfy bed for once and had a nice night's sleep.
We woke with mosquito bites, well except for Sam. In the morning we went back to the Holiday Park that didn't have space yesterday (leaving Sam in bed) to find that they had a cabin available- they didn't ask how many people for so we just let them presume 2. It is an amazing cabin, a double bed and a single above, fridge, tv, air-con, and really clean We rushed back to get Sam then unload the car into the cabin! After this we walked along a small creek in the midday sun and spent the afternoon at the man-made lagoon in the centre of town before a spot of shopping in the tourist shops, renting a camera (of the underwater variety) and booking a Great Barrier Reef snorkelling trip for tomorrow- we're all really excited We cooked dinner of kangaroo mince pasta on the BBQ (mince on a BBQ was interesting to try and stop it falling down the drain hole in the centre!) before a film and bed. It is such a nice room here at the Holiday Park and 3 nights for $125- bargain!!
Up early- excited about the Barrier Reef. Into the car and after Amanda had hunted for change from a guy in the car park we found the catamaran and boarded It was an hours journey out to the reef on which we had a safety brief, some tea and cookies and were given our snorkelling equipment. We arrived in the middle of the sea and it was announced that we were 'there' so we put on our bright blue lycra stinger suits, snorkels and got our flippers fitted before sitting down into the water off the back of the boat. The first view as I put my head down under the water was the coral out in front of me. It didn't look very colourful from a distance but when I got above it I was in awe- brilliant colours, hundreds of fish of all colours and sizes and beautiful corals of varying shades of pink, blue, yellow, green, purple and brown. 2 hours flew by. After lunch on the boat we re-located to a second site called the 3 sisterThere were 3 pinnacles of coral with fish swimming above and around them. Fish swam in circles around the pinnacles with the bigger ones nearer the surface and the smaller ones lower down. The site was good but there were too many people swimming around so I swam across to the back of the boat where there was a large shelf at ~1m depth where I saw clown fish (Nemo), pink and green fish with a pattern like a 'Zap' ice lolly, yellow and black striped ones and hundreds more. I carried on snorkelling until the speed boat came over and said that our time was up- typical that it was only Sam and I that had to be removed from the water! The journey back went quickly as we were hyped up about the fish, coral and shark (white tipped shark) that we had all seen and the turtle that had swam around Sam within arms reach! We made dinner of Kangaroo burgers in the evening and then watched TV until bedtime.