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Tracey’s Travel Diary

Wednesday, 19 Sep 2007

Location: Australia

MapI am working in Armidale now for AGBU (Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit) and shall be here for about eight weeks. The place is located on the university campus which is about 5km from town. Everyone seems very nice and it seems more sociable than the last place I worked. I didn't arrive at my accommodation until about 4am and I felt bad that I had to wake someone up to let me in and show me my room. It felt freezing cold when I left the bus (bit of a shock after Brisbane and Exmouth) and I had to put my fleece and gloves on. However during the day it is quite warm.

I live in the town and although I asked for a single room I have a double bed and quite a large room with a television, fridge, a desk to so some painting on and table and chairs. I also have internet connection but I don't have a laptop to make use of it.

So before I came to Armidale I was working in Exmouth swabbing Pearl Oysters in the bottom of a boat. It was hot in Exmouth with blue cloudless skies and the soil was red. We stayed in a three-bedroomed house although there was just Lewis (who I was working with) and I. That first day we had quite a surprise when an Emu came to our door (which is photographed). Our expenses were all paid for so we went out to eat a few nights but I also made use of the opportunity of having a kitchen and did some cooking. We saw plenty of wildlife. We saw whales everyday whilst on the boat and had to be careful when driving to the boat not to hit any kangeroos.

We worked quite long days. We woke up at 4.15am and set off on the boat called the Short Fuse at about 5.30am. We then travelled for about an hour before reaching the larger boat which we worked on. It was nice to watch the sunrise and then the sunset in the evening from the boat. On the first night the Short Fuse went a little wrong by zig zagging and going round in circles in the sea and we thought that we would be the rest of the night but it luckily was fixed and we got back to shore about 7.30pm. The first day the sea was amazingly calm as flat as a sheet of paper but on the 3rd, 4th, and 5th day the sea was quite rough. The 3rd day was the worst and I was being thrown about on the boat up and down, and I had bruises and cuts from trying to hold on. Quite a few of us felt sea-sick and when I got to the main boat I eventually was sick but luckily I managed to get to the toilet each of the four times. The next couple of days I took tablets against sea sickness and I was OK. It was a real shame to be sick as I had to miss out on the lovely food that day, but I made up for it the next couple of days.

Going to and from work we would usually see humpback whales. On our last voyage there must have been at least 30 to 40 what we could see from the boat. A couple swam right next to the boat, some breached and some would just slap there tails continuously on the water.

On the Saturday we finished our work and we went out and had a meal. We were in a bar which showed the Wales Australia Rugby match so I supported Wales waving my Welsh Flag (and I was the only one). On Sunday we had some time before our flight so we went to Turquoise Bay. Nick (from England now working in Exmouth) took us snorkelling. Being not a very strong swimmer I was a bit wary and I was finding it hard to swim against the current to get to the coral. But, Nick was very kind and took my hand and I managed to get out to the coral he wanted to show us. I then floated along with the current looking at all the colourful fish. Unfortunately didn't see any turtles but I am quite glad that Nick and Lewis were unsuccessful in finding the sharks.

We flew from Exmouth on Sunday afternoon to Perth. Then had to wait about 6 hours before our flight from Perth to Brisbane. But it wasn't so boring as at security I was randomly checked for carrying explosives and time after time the machine concluded positive that I was carrying explosives. I was taken to another room where a couple of ladies then had to examine me a bit closer (but I didn't need to take my clothes off). Not really sure what could have made me positive but I remembered that I had put insect repellent on that afternoon and when I told them this they thought it could be the reason why so I was then let FREE.

have to catch my bus now.