Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Last stop: Port Douglas

Landing in Cairns was a huge relief for the four of us since it finally felt like summer. From the airport, we drove an hour to the nature reserve where we were staying at in Port Douglas. Since it was 9:30pm by the time we arrived, we all went straight to bed.

Miles and I lost a few days of working out so we woke up early to get back into our routines. While Miles did his own work out routine, I ran on the beach near by and got a glimpse of the area we were in. The place was not only beach, but jungle as well. After breakfast, the four of us just laid down at the beach since we decided to make that day a day of relaxation. After lunch, we all did our own thing. Before I laid by the pool, dad and a bunch of the other guests spotted a lace monitor lizard. It is basically a smaller version of a Komodo Dragon and still just as frightening. For once I was a tad bit frightened by a lizard (I’m normally not taken back by any reptile). The rest of the day was relaxation and early bed time for our next adventure.

At 7:15 am, we jumped on a bus and headed over to Port Douglas to swim in the famous Great Barrier Reef. My family snorkeled, and I dived. This had been my life long dream to scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef and boy was I not disappointed. Our first dive was at a section called Phils where my group and I were able to see a white tip reef shark hiding under the coral as well as stingrays and many other different kinds of smaller fish. Our second dive was at a section called Castle Rock. When we first descended, the dive master told us to get on our knees once we hit the sand so we can meet this friendly grouper. Since this fish was a regular during these dives, the crew named him Collin. He swam around and got really close to us as our dive master shot some fish out of a bottle for Collin to snack on. After we visited the social grouper, we swam along a huge wall of coral with bigger fish and even saw a great reef whaler shark. Collin followed us for a little bit but it was good to have some company that was a native to the reef. Our final dive was called Trigger. Unlike the other stops we made, this was a drift dive where my group had to jump from the moving boat and let the current from below take us. This made things more relaxing for me since we barely had to move due to the current moving us along the reef. There were unicorn fish, white tip reef sharks, great reef whaler sharks, clown fish, and more. Our dive master even took us through a small opening in the coral that we could swim through. That was an amazing sight to see, as the colors were so vibrant inside while the sun shined above into the cave. It was so cold getting out of the water but all that diving was worth the exhaustion and chills. I’ve done 10 dives in total (if you count resort dives and my dives for my certification) and all I can say is this was the most amazing dive experience I had. I took the GoPro down to get the best pictures I could but not even the pictures can describe how beautiful this reef was. If anyone ever has the chance to be in the same area as this reef, please go and explore! Even snorkeling you will be able to get an amazing view of the reef.

For our last day in Port Douglas, Mom wanted to fulfill her dream of holding a koala bear so we headed to the Habitat Zoo. This zoo was very different from any other zoo I had encountered. Not only were there different animals than what I normally see, the zoo allowed most of these animals to run and fly around without being kept in cages. Some animals even interacted with humans. We fed wallabies, kangaroos, and different kinds of birds as they walked right up to us. The koalas were very chill and slept a lot of the time. My mom, Miles and I all got to hold a Koala named Samson. He was very gentle and loved to give hugs (most koala’s are mean according to the keeper). That was the highlight of mom’s entire trip most likely since this is her favorite animal and she studied them since she was little. Though I loved holding Samson, I enjoyed feeding the wallabies and kangaroos. That was my first time seeing those animals up close. Miles even tried to feed an Emu that just pushed him out of the way as if Miles was a rock blocking its path. Once we had our fixing of awesome animals, we took a shuttle into the town of Port Douglas to have lunch and shop. The town has some cute retail stores as well as delicious coffee shops. I had the best flat white ever at this little hippy looking coffee shop called Ahoy Trade. They had coffee as well as interior decoration which mom and I could not resist. Eventually we had dinner in Port Douglas for our final night before going to bed. This concluded our final day of vacation together.

Port Douglas seems like a summer place for Australians but is still very nice in the winter. Compared to the cities, it is slower moving and I had been told that this place is were people come to in order to get away from city life. I generally liked Port Douglas but I don’t know if I could live there. Though I loved the area for holiday. It goes to show you that Australia has every weather condition you need: hot, cold, rainy, cloudy, sunny, tropical and dry. This was the last designated vacation spot for me and my family since the reason for going to Brisbane is just to drop me off at The University of the Sunshine Coast. This will be my last blog post about my family and I but there will be more posts to come once I settle into my apartment at school. It was great traveling with my family around this beautiful country but now it is time for me to make my own adventures. USC here I come!


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