It's been two months in Cairns and we've worked our asses off. When we first arrived, we spent three days walking around the city and handing out resumes. While hanging out with friends on the patio of our hostile, we jumped on the opportunity of helping a friend work at the Cairns Big Boat Shed. For the next week and half we spent 7-10 hours a day sanding, fiber glassing, painting, and cleaning a boat. We were so successful in our new subtracting trade that we were hired by someone else in the boatyard. With a week long break between the first boat and the second, we were able to explore the beautiful Fitzroy Island.
Though the island offers hiking trails with gorgeous ocean views, we opted to part take in exploring the reef. We spent six hours out of the eight hours we were there snorkeling. The underwater world welcomed us with beautiful corals as well as four Sea Turtles, a Black Tipped Reef Shark, and plenty of tropical fish. We we're thrilled to see as much wildlife as we did. It made us want to stay as long as we could in the water. Though we would've loved to sign up for another snorkel trip/intro dive along the Outer Great Barrier Reef, the typical price for a half day and full day reef trip is about $150-200 per person. We decided to save up for other trips in the future including completing our PADI Open Water Dive Certification.
We also had the chance to explore Crystal Cascade Waterfall and Behana Gorge.
While Behana Gorge is more of a local’s spot, we enjoyed Crystal Cascades even with the crowds. The cascades offer multiple different pools to swim in including some great jumping rocks and a rope swing. Behana Gorge introduced me and Henrik to our first infinity pool. At the top of the gorge, a one and a half meter deep pool welcomes visitors to enjoy a refreshing swim while they can hangover the top of the waterfall. Though that might seem frightening to most, we both found it exhilarating and fascinating that it can be a natural formation.
While leaving this spot, we received a call from the boat owner we were currently working with. He told us he didn’t need our help for the next two days. Ironically the previous week he argued with Henrik and me to reschedule our scheduled PADI Open Water Dive Course that was set for the upcoming Friday, due to his much pressing deadline. We took our unexpected two days off as a blessing since neither of us wanted to work with this man anymore because of multiple different issues. But beggars can’t be choosers, so we said ‘okay’ with big smiles on our faces and planned to explore Port Douglas.
The famous Four Mile Beach in Port Douglas welcomed us with 31 degree Celsius water. That’s 90 degrees Fahrenheit! So, we spent most of the day sitting in the water and taking our off time to relax. It was rounded out with delicious ice cream while exploring the town which unfortunately wasn’t all that it’s made out to be. The Great Barrier Reef Ocean Road was the complete opposite. This stunning drive was like driving the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia. Surrounded by ocean touching gorgeous beaches on one side and steep cliffs on the other, it made the two hour drive feel like a breeze.
After finally finishing working on our second boat, we began our PADI Open Water Dive Course. We also had two of our dear friends whom we met at the hostile join us. After two days of training in the pool at the Cairns Dive Centre, our small class of five spent the third day testing and diving off of Fitzroy Island. On our final day we ventured out to the open ocean and took a two hour boat ride to the Great Barrier Reef where we finally got certified! Stay tuned for an individual post about our experiences while getting certified including my panic attack and our new connection to Antarctica!
Though we could’ve continued working on boats in Cairns, we decided that it was time to move on to explore more of Australia. After all, we were in Cairns for two months. Since we were also working for accommodation while staying in the city, the days went quickly and we were able to meet many new people. We left Cairns three days after finishing our PADI with bittersweet emotions. Henrik and I loved the town especially since it’s in the middle of The Reef and the jungle. We also loved the amount of eco-planning and interpretation it offered which made the city have a small town feel. I do have to say Cairns is going to be hard to beat, and we’re only on month three of our journey. As we drive South to continue the next part of our adventure, we will miss the ecological uniqueness of the town and the friendships we’ve made along the way.