No, the title of this post is not a sweeping generalisation about Bruce Willis’s acting skills, but actually one of the mnemonics used in scuba diving to remind you of the checklist you should run through before entering the water. Unfortunately, I only got as far as the silly mnemonic and entering the pool, before it became painfully apparent that getting a cold four days before you dive ruins your plans! I thought the cold was better but it seems there was enough of it left around that I couldn’t equalise the pressure in my ears and I had to give up. 🙁
So, reworking my plans, today I went up to Port Douglas and took a cruise out to the reef to snorkle instead — not quite as much fun, but certainly very interesting! Worryingly, my initial thought was: “This looks just like a giant aquarium!!” No sharks, but lots of pretty little fish (including “Nemo”!) , some baracudda and lots of plant life! We went out to three different locations on the reef, all of them subtly different, although I think I got a lot more out of the second and third as the boat crew told us more about what we might see and how to find stuff — there are some lectures/shows in Cairns about life on the reef which I now wish I had found time to take.
Tomorrow I’m leaving Cairns and heading down the coast, first stop Townsville and Magnetic Island. I can’t decide if I like Cairns or not: once you get over the fact that every other shop in the “centre” is selling tours, travel info and Internet access, it seems slightly less wierd, and the place is really geared up for backpackers with pubs offering free meals to hostellers, and cheap beer, but there are also extremely loud and noisy birds that seem to start singing at dusk which I think would drive me crazy after a while! Fortunately there is so much to do around Cairns you don’t have to spend much time here if you decide it’s not your scene!