Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Australia/Hawaii 2002, part 3: Great Barrier Reef

Spent my next few days on a liveaboard dive boat, the Nimrod Explorer run by Explorer Ventures (who no longer operate out of Cairns). This was a 4-night, 5-day trip from Cairns up to Cooktown, with a flight back to Cairns at the end. Tuesday night we left Cairns and voyaged overnight to our first dive spot for Wednesday morning. Then we did several dives per day: 4 on Wed., 5 on Thurs., and 4 on Friday, flying back to Cairns (CNS) from Cooktown (CTN). I did 11 dives over the 3 days, skipping the last 2 on Friday due to my flight time from Cairns to Alice Springs the next day. Here's a map showing locations of Cairns, the Reef, Cooktown, and Lizard Island.

Previously: Part 2, Cairns

Wednesday Sept. 18 to Saturday Sept. 21, 2002: The Great Barrier Reef
Diving the Reef

The crew of the Nimrod consisted of Ian, the captain; Klaus, the mechanic/first mate; John and Shiori, dive instructors; Molly, the hostess; and Jen, the chef. Jen was formerly a professional chef so we were treated to some outstanding meals during our time aboard ship. A typical day started with wakeup at 6:30 a.m., breakfast at 7:00, dive #1 at 8:00, dive #2 at 11:00, lunch at 12:30, dive #3 at 2:00, dive #4 at 4:30, then dinner.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Australia/Hawaii 2002, part 2: Cairns

Flying from Honolulu to Sydney (HNL - SYD), then catching a connection to Cairns (CNS). I had the rest of that day free, and then the rainforest tour the next morning before meeting my shipmates for my dive trip on the night of the second day in Cairns. At the time, the exchange rate was considerably in my favor, the Australian dollar was worth only about 55 cents USD. Here's a map showing the relative locations of Cairns, Kuranda, the Tjapukai Center, and my dives over the next few days.

Previously: part 1, Houston to Honolulu

Monday, September 16: Honolulu to Sydney to Cairns
Planes, planes, and automobiles

Breakfast was at 5:30 – an omelette, a sausage, yogurt, and fruit. The movies (which I slept through) were “Changing Lanes”, “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood”, and “Life or Something Like It.” I had an emergency exit aisle seat on this 747-200 (an old one, one of only 3 in the Qantas fleet), which was nice for the legroom (but since it was over the wing, there was no view out the window. When I checked in at Honolulu, I thought of asking for a tall blonde Australian woman to sit next to me. Astonishingly, even though I didn’t ask for that, I got it anyway. I should have asked for a single woman, though. This six-foot blonde Aussie was a PhD professor at the University of New South Wales in the Environmental Management program. We didn’t get to talk all that much due to the overnight sleeping, but I did get some suggestions on things to do in Sydney.