Well we are back from our weekend at Agnes Water, Town Of 1770 and Lady Musgrave Island. We're both a little sore and sunburned but if you aren't a bit fried after a Queensland holiday then you're doing something wrong.
We stayed at the Captain Cook Holiday Village in a bungalow. Not flash, but we didn't go down there to sit inside all day. It had a bed and a sink, it was clean and the staff were extremely friendly and it wasn't expensive at all. One thing this place did have was a track leading from the back of the camping grounds to the beach through a forest of bull-oak and paper-bark. You can drive most of the way if you got a bit of clearance under your car, then its a short walk to the dunes and a view of the Pacific Ocean.
We had to get up early for the trip out to Lady Musgrave Island. It takes about an hour and a half to get there on The Spirit Of 1770. This was the second time we've made this trip, but it was the first time that we didn't lose our breakfast on the way over (or our lunch on the way back!) although Cilla did get a bit queasy on the way over we both fought it and maintained composure.
A pod of dolphins swam with us a short distance, riding in the wake of the big cat which took our mind off motion sickness for a bit. Then when we got to the lagoon a turtle waved at us. Yes. Really. It was weird but we saw a turtle on the surface of the water turn on its side and waved its front flipper at us. Of course it may have been stuck on some coral just under the water or it may have been getting its arse chewed off by a shark, but then again, it may have actually been waving at us. There is no proof either way.
The dives were hectic. These were our eighth and ninth dives. We have our PADI Open Water Diver Certification so we know basically how to plan a dive, how to gear up, how to get in and out the water and how to behave underwater. As I said in my last post, the dives we do on this trip will go towards our PADI Advanced Open Water Diver Certification. Our instructor, Ash, was the same instructor for our first dive course which made the dive a little more comfortable for us, but there was still a lot to do and we were a bit rusty because we hadn't been diving for months.
First up was the AWARE Fish ID part of the course. We were able to dive on the outside wall of the lagoon which is something they don't usually do at Lady Musgrave so it was a bit of a special treat. Both Cilla and I had the minor annoyance of fixing our tanks up too high on out buoyancy jackets so that every time we looked up we would hit the back of our head on the top of our tank. I took some photos of coral and fish - as you do - and have posted the best ones to my PicasaWeb site. Click on the photograph below to see the full album.
The second dive of the day was training in underwater navigation so it didn't leave much time for photos. We had to swim a course using a compass and notes on an underwater slate which is basically a piece of white plastic that you write on with a lead pencil. It was all fairly straight forward but while you are navigating there is little time to look around. I did notice that this dive which was inside the lagoon had less colour in the coral even though it was much shallower and there were fewer fish.
There is a distinctively different colour to the water inside the lagoon, more green than blue. I'm a bloke, I only know the names of eight basic colours. Turquoise and aqua are gemstones as far as I know. [An anonymous user has corrected me! Aqua is NOT a gemstone]
The thing that bothers me the most is how many people live within walking distance of the place where you board the boat, who have never gone to see the wonders on their own doorstep. It bothers me because I've done it myself for so long. There were people on this boat with us that had travelled from Japan, Europe and America to see our islands and reefs and to swim in our waters with all these amazing views of fish and coral and yet one guy who works at the holiday village we were staying at told me he has never been, despite living there all his life. He looked late twenties but I'm sure you could find people in their fifties with the same story. I lived in Cairns for a couple of years and it wasn't until we had family visit us from out-of-state that we got of our arses and went to Green Island. Even when Cilla and I were trying to decide where to go for our honeymoon back in 2000 the travel agent suggested Bali, Fiji, Hawaii... damn, I got sun, sand and sea right here. Why the hell go anywhere else for that? So we looked to go somewhere that would have an experience that we couldn't find here. And while we have Melbourne (Australia's Little Europe), we went to Real Europe. Maybe one day we'll visit Melbourne. Anyway, I digress.... next weekend off, have a look at what you can get to, see or do within an hour and a half drive from where you live. You'll save on travel costs and its easier and more fun to take some friends with you.
Till next blog...