hey, me and sarah spent last night at the pool at our hostel gilligans, and then went for a drink and a meal. We went bk to our room and met a load of mental canadian guys and chatted for hours- they think english people say 'governor, pip pip' etc. One of them brought me back a giant kebab at 3am. Thanks. And he wouldnt let us sleep til I'd eaten it lol. Nutter. We hardly got any sleep and were up at 6ish and went to find our boat at the harbour- it was a lush cruiseboat called Seastar, really nice! We went to two sites on the reef for snorkeling- one was a tiny island surrounded by reef, and the other site was open water. We had an incredible day snorkeling, saw tonnes of fish- eagle rays, snub nose dart, trevallys, queensland grouper (massive and friendly), surgeonfish, wrasse, anemonefish, angelfish, batfish (also massive and friendly- come right up to your face), parrotfishes. We were really lucky cus we saw three sea turles- one of them I saw on my own when I got a bit lost (lost the snorkeling group). It was so fast- I followed it quite a way and it looked up at me a few times but didnt get too close. The second turtle was enormous- never knew they could get that big. I saw it from pretty far above and it looked about a couple of metres wide at least, and really long. It was lying on some coral and was asleep, looked up at us a few times but carried on sleeping. So cool.
Then we saw a third turtle later on- this time the whole group saw it, and one person touched it as it seemed tame and swam right between our group. Everyone then turned around and went off, while I decided to follow it and see if it came up for air again. Amazingly, even thought the reef was quite deep, it stayed right below the surface and swam right next to me, really slowly and gracefully. I stroked its flippers and its shell. It didnt seem bothered at all. It went up for air then we swam side by side for about 30m and the reef suddenly dropped below to depths I couldnt see. I stroked it one last time and then it dived right down. I was so chuffed! Im glad that one of the guys from our boat told me to never swim right above them or they panick cus they have to come up for air and you're threatening them by being in the way. I swam alongside it, right next to it, and it was completely fine. Felt so cool :-)
When I came back up and actually looked around, I could just make out all the other snorkellers - pretty far away! I could just make out the tops of the snorkels. It took me about 15mins to catch up with them, and on the way I felt a stinging sensation start on my cheek- I kinda thought it might be a jellyfish for about 5 seconds, but it didnt hurt much- like a beesting, so I thought it was ok and it went after about 10 mins. Made me panic for a second though- everyone going on about the fatal jellyfish in the water here as its the middle of jellyfish season. I was wearing a stinger suite like everyone else but your face is exposed. Sarah also felt stinging on her leg when I caught up to them, buthers dissapeared too after ten mins, so it must be something else in the water.
Im trying to remember what else we saw now...loads of giant clams, I swam down and stoked one to watch it slam shut, very cool. The coral here is nice, but not as bright and colourful as the coral in the Red Sea, so its cvonsidered the 2nd best place in the world to dive and snorkel. Oh, some people in our group saw a reefshark! I never saw it, kinda glad about that though...
Me and sarah had lunch on the boat, did some sunbathing, borrowed an underwater camera and got the pictures put onto a disc then and there- loads of close ups of turtles! We then got back at about half 4, went for a swim at the harbour esplanade (pool next to the sea where everyone can swim, really nice pool). We got some postcards to send to people at home- I got one of a sea turtle, perfect for my day.
Then we came bk to the hostel, met our new dorm mates (canadian girls now, no more mad guys in our room). We ate at gilligans and watched a live band there, had a drink, then went walking round cairns cus i wanted to show sarah the giant fruit bats that fly around some of the streets. Found quite a few of them. We checked where our bus stop is for tomorrow to catch our first OZ experience bus (our hop on, hop off bus down the east coast). Were leaving for mission beach at 7am, should get there by midday. Were staying two nights, going for some treks there and seeing the beach etc, and going to tully near mission beach for a white water rafting day trip! Woohoo this is major addictive!!