January 26, 2018
Friday the 26th was a recovery and regroup day, plus it poured all day, with just a few little breaks. On my way to see Jane in reception, I ran into Garon, who informed me the reception closed early for Australia Day, Independence Day. Garon and I started chatting and he asked me how Trump got elected. We get that question in our travels. From Trump we moved on to immigration in the USA and Australia, minimum wage, etc. We have been rather mystified by the lack of tipping here. Our first night in Australia the server at the restaurant told us not to tip, because wages were high enough that it was’t necessary. That’s a first….please don’t give me money, Pete and I were gobsmacked. Anyway Garon was telling me about a friend of his with a banana farm further north in Queensland. He hires packbackers to harvest his crop, with about 75% coming from India. They make about $400/week, which would be decent money back home in India. Minimum wage in Australia is $672.70/week, which sure beats the US.
Besides shooting the breeze with Garon, Pete and I decided we had so much fun snorkeling we needed to do it again. So, we scheduled a transfer to Cairns, boat, snorkel and glass bottom boat adventure off Green Island for the next day. This meant that I had to download the advanced Manuel for my underwater camera and study, study, study. A glass of wine was helpful.
January 27, 2018
Our transfer was at the civilized hour of 9:50 am and we arrived in Cairns to catch our 11 am Green Island Reef Rocket boat with time to spare, so since we were the only people on the shuttle the driver took us on a little tour of Cairns. I loved the old pre-air conditioning homes that were built way off the ground to allow all around ventilation.
The trip out to the island was a bit rough and the poor lady in back of us was having to use the sick bags. Although she had my sympathy, I’d really have liked to have been sitting somewhere else on the boat.
We threw our bags in a coin locker, took our rented Stinger suits and headed for the best snorkeling beach on the island, which is the area to the left of the pier. Unfortunately when we reached the beach, Pete discovered he had left his Stinger suit in the locker, so went without. The good news is there were no Stingers in the vicinity, the bad news is Pete has a terrible sunburn on his back. Those suits are good for more than Stingers. It was a very lucky day with beautiful sun, it had poured the previous 11 days on Green Island.
Although the water was more turbid than the previous snorkel trip, there were more fish. Underneath the pier was darker, but especially packed with schools of fish.
After snorkeling we hit the outdoor shower, changed and had headed off to half an hour on the glass bottom boat.
Pete also took the featured photo of another giant clam about 1 1/2′ across.
After the glass bottom boat it was off to a late lunch of smoked salmon Caesar salad, fries, drinks and some serious people watching.
No sooner had everyone got on the Reef Rocket for the return trip to Cairns, when a wild storm blew through in about 30 minutes. By the time we got back to Cairns the sun was out again.
Off tomorrow for a train ride to the Rainforest and Tablelands of Kuranda, then a Skyrail back to Cairns.