The first thing that strikes you about Cairns is how different the landscape is. After flying over hundreds of miles of outback you are suddenly confronted with mountains and tropical rainforest. Cairns is a nice town but it is a major tourist destination and, as such, a bit of a party town. Although it's cooler here than at Ayres Rock it is much more humid which makes it quite uncomfortable. We've been out to see the Great Barrier Reef. We took a cruise out to the Norman reef and the Hastings reef. The snorkeling was amazing. It is so hard to believe that something so beautiful is submerged only a few feet below the surface of the sea. It was incredible swimming through shoals of psychedelic fish and over giant clams - watching them close up as you swim over them. Sadly I didn't see any turtles or reef sharks and I also struggled to find any clown fish (the orange and white stripy variety of 'Finding Nemo' fame). On the second reef we went out in a glass bottom boat and finally saw some clown fish. Whilst I was out snorkeling Sarah ended up chatting to another guy on the trip. Despite his inability to swim and having been resuscitated from drowning twice in the past he still went snorkeling. I couldn't decide if I admired his perseverance or if I was simply mesmerized by his gross stupidity. We both eventually decided on the latter.
Next stop Brisbane…