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Anita and Bernie’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 02 Mar 2008

Location: Cairns, Australia

MapG'day from a rainy Cairns. Yet another fantastic two days to remember. On Friday we took the Skyrail over the rainforest to Kuranda (following Rachel's footsteps!). The gondola glided 7.5 kms over the rainforest canopy and we spotted an abundance of birds and butterflies as well as the foliage of a lot of different rainforest trees. We stopped off at the Barron Falls (264 metre drop) which put the Falls of Falloch near Glasgow into a mere stream!! Because it is the rainy season the falls were in spate and it was very dramatic to see thousands of gallons per second crashing down the gorge. There was a beautiful rainbow from the top to the bottom of the falls (pictures to follow). Kuranda is a lovely, small town with loads of cafes and craft/artisan shops. We visited the sanctuaries for butterflies and birds. What amazing colours! Yet again we were blessed with bird droppings - this time one on Bernie's head!! We also went to a wildlife sanctuary where Bernie was brave enough to feed kangaroos! There was also a snake house where the snakes were not behind glass.The pythons were asleep, one of them right over our heads! On the return journey we took the scenic railway down. Although it was a tremendous feat of engineering it was also disappointing because the views were partially obscured by the rainforest. I do think they could have chopped a few down for the tourists!!
The highlight of our time here was the trip out to the Barrier Reef. We chose a company that took you to 2 different reef sites. It took 2 hours to get to the 1st site. When we left Cairns we had sunshine but by the time we got to the 1st site a heavy squall began and carried on for the rest of the day. The water was very choppy and it took tremendous courage to slide into the water with all the unfamiliar snorkel gear on (see photo). Bernie found it very hard going and took the right decision to return back to the boat. Although he was upset he did manage to view the Reef from a glass bottomed boat. I was terrified to go into the water but a very helpful companion stayed with me and gave me reassurance until I got to the Reef. I think being brought up with snorkelling and using flippers in my youth really helped. The Reef was amazing and was teeming with fish of all colours. The coral was just as beautiful. After a good lunch we moved to the 2nd site. The weather worsened dramatically with torrential rain and increasing wind. Bernie braved going into the water again and got as far as the reef but had to give up as he found the flippers, snorkel, mask and waves too much to get used to in such stormy waters. I was lucky and swam for about 40 minutes on the reef where I had my encounter with the turtle. Awe inspiring!! Words cannot describe what it was like so I won't try!! We hired a digital underwater camera for the day and managed to take some memorable pictures (the shop wants to use a few for their publicity!!). The journey back was awful with high winds and swells. It was very choppy but it did not dampen our experience.
All in all two amazing days.
All the best