Trip 20, part 7 – The big bust up…..

That’s it, the final straw has been drawn and we’re ditching BJ and Rod.  We thought we could make it through the trip travelling together, but there comes a time when enough’s enough and you need to part ways.

This is what happened in Cairns as BJ and Rod chose not to come out on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) liveaboard dive boat, choosing instead to spend a couple of days exploring Cairns whilst Jules and I did our dive trip.  i.e. the bust up was all pre-planned, we knew the guys weren’t coming out and there were no tears ?.

So….  We came, we saw, we ticked that bucket list item off the chart!  The only pre-booked experience for our 8week holiday was the 3day/2night scuba diving liveaboard trip on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR).

Whilst waiting to be picked up from the caravan park at 7:30am, unbeknownst to me at the time, we ran into my ‘to be dive buddy’, Priscilla, who’s originally from Brazil but has been in Australia for the last seven years studying.  We also met Ariel and Max on the bus, who are from California, but were on holiday after Max has recently finished a stint working in Darwin.  A short run into the dive shop to pick up a few more adventurers and we were off to the boat, SeaQuest for our first two dives of the trip and then our run out to the much larger OceanQuest boat, where we stayed for the two nights.

A very slight swell on the 90min boat trip out from Cairns to the GBR, most people handled it ok, only a couple of people choosing to burley up the reef fishes on the way out.  Jules opted not to take the precautionary and pre-emptive Kwells, but was fine, no problemo.  First dive was Norman Reef, second dive on Saxon Reef, before we transferred to OceanQuest for lunch and another location change to our arvo, night and morning (3rd) dive location, a bit further down on Saxon Reef.  The first two dive sites were lovely, lots to see and I really enjoyed them, however, in truth they’re much like Ningaloo dive sites, just further from the shore.  From the eight dives that I did, I wouldn’t say GBR or Ningaloo is better, but Ningaloo is closer to the shore, so it’s much easier to access and has a lot less diving boats and divers.

Big call out to Divers Den as the hospitality and food on OceanQuest was fantastic, so was our group of divers and snorkelers.  Following are a couple of really quick pics, mostly grabbed from the unedited diving video I took whilst diving.  They’re nothing special, but should provide an example of the area.  The last day of our trip it glassed off, the skipper stating that this was the best day of the season so far (since March).  Normally you get 20knot+ winds out on the reef, but it dropped to a whisper on our last day, unbelievably calm.

<< Photo credit: Tony – Our liveaboard dive boat, OceanQuest >>

 

<< Photo credit: Jules – Our private room, with en-suite through door at right, aboard our liveaboard dive boat, OceanQuest >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – Jules and Cassie, chilling on the sundeck of OceanQuest >>

 

<< Photo credit: Jules – I was very lucky to be paired with Priscilla as my dive buddy, not only is she a lovely person, she’s a great diver which makes my diving so much more enjoyable.  I was very sad when she left a day early >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – A magic sunset from the GBR, looking back towards Cairns >

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – A frame grab from my diving video.  Not edited yet so please excuse the poor colouring.  My second dive buddy, Brita (from New York), diving a bommie with a big school of fish hanging on it >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – A frame grab from my diving video.  Not edited yet so please excuse the poor colouring.  A bommie with fish >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – A frame grab from my diving video.  Not edited yet so please excuse the poor colouring.  Clarkes Anemone Fish >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – A frame grab from my diving video.  Not edited yet so please excuse the poor colouring.  Schooling fish above the reef >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – A frame grab from my diving video.  Not edited yet so please excuse the poor colouring.  A resting Whitetip Shark. >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – A frame grab from my diving video.  Not edited yet so please excuse the poor colouring.  A Coral Trout at a cleaning station, not the Cleaner Blennie at his back. >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – A frame grab from my diving video.  Not edited yet so please excuse the poor colouring.  A largish Moray Eel >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – A frame grab from my diving video.  Not edited yet so please excuse the poor colouring.  More Clarkes Anemone Fish >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – A frame grab from my diving video.  Not edited yet so please excuse the poor colouring.  Colourful Reef Fishes on a bommie >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – A frame grab from my diving video.  Not edited yet so please excuse the poor colouring.  A Goat Fish hanging upright over a cleaning station, signalling he was ready to be cleaned. >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – A frame grab from my diving video.  Not edited yet so please excuse the poor colouring.  A juvenile Barramundi Cod (not a Barramundi fish) >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – A frame grab from my diving video.  Not edited yet so please excuse the poor colouring.  A juvenile BatFish >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – A glass off on the last day of our dive trip.  The skipper called this the best day of the season, since March. >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – The trip back into Cairns, signalling the end of our trip. >>

 

Following our dive trip, we had one more day in Cairns to explore, spending it tripping out to the Clohesy River Strangler Fig Tree, about 40kms out of Cairns.  I took a couple of shots, but it’s almost impossible to do the tree justice as it’s simply HUGE.  These trees find a host tree, slowly growing up around the host until the host dies out and the Strangler Fig remains.  Very special to see.  Down the same track we crossed a number of beautiful creeks and saw our first, wild Cassowary, crossing the road in front of us.

<< Photo credit: Tony – A VERY small snapshot of part of the Clohesy River Fig Tree >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – A small but beautiful creek on the way into the fig tree >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – Tree Fern frond and new growth >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – At Rod’s insistence, a DragonFly on his perch at the Cattana Wetlands>>

 

Tomorrow (Monday 3rd Sept), we’re off to the Daintree for four days so stay tuned.

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