I’ve arrived in steamy, tropical Cairns, and boy is it sweaty here. I feel as if I’m wrapped up in cling-film on a sunny day; it’s impossible to escape the humidity. The plane trip alone, up the east coast from Brisbane, was absolutely spectacular as we had clear views of the Great Barrier Reef below. I was sat next to a Cairns local, and he said that, in all his time, he’d never seen the view so clearly. I felt rather blessed.
I saw hundreds of beautiful crescents and lozenges of milky, sandy shallows with crenulated edges of startling turquoise like the one below. They looked like jewels set against the deep blue, crushed-silk ocean, with the silvery wake of tour boats radiating outwards from each one.
View of the reef from the plane window.
I am staying at possibly my favourite hostel of my trip so far. Very relaxed vibe, really friendly staff, excellent facilities and a really interesting, mixed crowd. I feel right at home, and my mood has been further bouyed by the excess of delicious meat I have just eaten, courtesy of the hostel’s all-Aussie BBQ experience. I sampled emu (gorgeous, quite dark and rich), kangaroo (quite like beef) and salt-water crocodile (bit too salty for me) as well as delicious barramundi fish and some damn fine snags (sausages) – all washed down with a couple of cold stubbies (beers). After dinner, the hostel owner gave us a didgeridoo lesson, and my previous lessons in circular breathing from Jezz came in very handy. However, it confirmed to me that it’s impossible to learn to play the dideridoo with any semblance of dignity. With all the raspberry noises, cheek blowing, tongue waggling and guttoral screaming required, it’s not really a good look (at least until you’re proficient).
I’m still planning on heading to the research centre tomorrow, although when I rang again this evening to hear whether the staff had made it back from Fiji yet, it ominously went to answer-phone. Still, I’m ready for a rainforest adventure, so figure I’ll just put myself out there and see what happens. If all else fails, at least I know there’s a lovely place to retreat to back here at the hostel. Wish me luck!