Sunday, November 17, 2013

Greg and Katie arrive down under!

Banana farm on the Bruce

[Greg] I will start this story, like any good story, at the beginning! Michele and Gavin were gracious enough to invite Katie and I to Australia. We flew out of Philly at 4:30 on Monday afternoon, November 11th. After a stopover in Dallas, we lived the fantasy: a 16 hour flight to Australia!!! (if you think a 16 hour flight sounds like torture, you are correct) We had to take a connecting flight to the town of Cairns, and as we were coming out of customs, TA DA! There they were, waiting for us. We were enjoying a previously unknown level of jet lag, so it was nice to have them spot us first. Hopped into the car, and we were off to South Mission Beach, and our Aussie adventure!

First thing anyone needs to know about FNQ (Far North Queensland), is this place is HOT HOT HOT! Since the sun is directly overhead, the temperature feels much, much different than it does back in the Northeast. I can be only 80 here, but it feels like the equivalent of 100. But the place is absolutely beautiful. I had thought it was subtropical, but it is the full-blown tropics here! It was about a 2 hour drive from the airport, and we stopped and rented an extra car to accommodate us. I rode with Gavin, and Katie rode with Michele. We drove through the tropics, looking at all the sugar cane fields, mountain ranges, and lush, green scenery. We had a quick stop in Innisfail, for supplies, and my first taste of Aussie food. (a traditional meat pie) Back on the road, and on our way to South Mission Beach!

Cassowary butt.
I don't wish to make anyone jealous, but I SAW A CASSOWARY ON MY VERY FIRST DAY!!!! It was just hanging out on the side of the road as we approached town. I came to understand; these things are very hard to spot! So I guess I'm just better than everybody else.  :))))))  (just kidding)

It wouldn't hold still for a photograph, so I got a picture of its butt, as it turned tail and slipped into the woods. We arrived at their house, got unpacked, and did everything we could to stay awake. We took a swim in the Coral Sea, and found rocks floating on top of the water. Seems there was a volcanic eruption somewhere, and pumice floated over to Australia. Robin had a talent show at school that night. She performed very well, by the way. I simply don't remember anything after that; I collapsed into a coma as soon as we got home.

I forgot to mention, we took off from Philly on Monday afternoon, but it was actually Wednesday morning when we arrived here. So now it's Thursday morning, and I took off for a walk down a path called the Kennedy tract. It was a narrow walking path set into the side of a cliff along the Coral Sea. Palm trees, coconut trees, geckos, iguanas, and shells on the beach! I walked to a creek that was supposed to have a crocodile, but no luck. We spent the afternoon driving around and learning the area, and buying supplies.
Dunk Island

The newly rebuilt Kennedy Track

Mangrove tree at Logger bay along the Kennedy Track

Will eats an ant on the Lacey Creek walk.
Friday we went sea kayaking, and afterwards took a walk through the rain forest. The weather has totally been our friend so far; it has been sunny and once you get used to it, warm but not crazy warm. We have been eating like kings; lamb, local Thai food, fish and chips with fish caught right off shore, and an unbelievable amount and variety of fruit. I've never had a passionfruit in my entire life, and they are great! We've seen people shopping in bare feet. Try that back in the US! Well, that's enough for one day. Gotta go get some rest, because tomorrow is the crown jewel of our trip, snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef!

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