Bye Bye Magnetic Island

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Today is our last day in the wonderful and relaxed Magnetic Island. Yesterday we rented a little beach car called a Mini Moke and drove about a bit and did some island exploring. We also rented some snorkeling gear and had a bit of a swim, but the tide was coming in and visibility was very low as the sand was unsettled. We saw some fish but not as much as we would have liked!

Last night we had a bit of a BBQ at the beach house where we are staying. We met up with some friends we made from our diving trip and we all had dinner together. Afterwards we dropped them back to their hostel in the Moke. The island is quite hilly so we cut out going up a pretty steep hill! The hand brake didnt really work but Trish managed to get us there and back in one piece!

Our next stop is to dive the SS Yongala, one of the worlds top wreck dives.

Check out some of the photos below of some Magnetic Island fun!

Magnetic Island

Greetings from a lovely place called Magnetic Island, it’s a nice little island just 20 minutes off the coast of Australia near Townsville. (Check it out on google maps). Aparently this Island was named by Captain Cook when he was sailing past and his compass acted up.

We arrived in yesterday, got picked up by the Hostel owner in an old Rolls Royce and checked in. Then popped off to the shops for some dinner supplies, had a bit of a walk, tried out some canoeing and chilled out. The hostel we are staying in is really cool, has a great BBQ area in the shape of an old boat. Will get some photos up tomorrow of it and the island.

Today we are off to rent a little car so we can go about and explore this island. Aparently there are some great walks that bring you right through some places inhabited by wild Koala bears, so it would be great to see one of those!

Jungle Surfing in Cape Tribulation

Trish and myself just got back from a morning session of Jungle Surfing! What is Jungle Surfing I hear you say? Well basically you travel through the tree tops on a set of ropes and pulley systems. You are connected up on a set of harnesses and you are given safety helmets too… You basically get to see the jungle a different way, nice and high up!

Each safety helmet had a fictional character’s name written on it, I was James Bond and Trish was King Kong! There was some pretty cool views up there and at one point we zoomed across a gorge an we we about 12 – 15 meters up in the air with water running underneath us! On the last go we got to swing along upside down! Check out the pictures for a goof one of Trish hanging upside down with her arms out! All in all it was good fun and a great way of viewing the rainforest from a tree’s perspective! Got some videos too and will see if i can get them up at some stage!

Paddy’s Day in Cairns

ShamrockTrish and myself had a fairly relaxed Paddy’s day! We eventually got out of bed after a bit of a mad session with the Pro Dive gang from the night before in The Woolshed. We proceeded to Cairns Central shopping centre where we bought some ingredients for a nice cure; eggs, bacon, 2.5 litres of apple & pear juice and of course some bread 🙂 We went back and cooked em up in the hostel then went to see The Watchmen in order to avoid the hottest part of the day! It was about 33 degrees!

After the cinema we wandered about for a bit and headed over to the public swimming place for a nice refreshing dip. After that we went over to the shop to get some ingredients for dinner and some drink. We decided to cook a nice BBQ and get some form of fruit bubbly called Passion Pop! We met an elderly couple at the public BBQ places and they gave us loads of stuff that we could use for our meal; salt , pepper, tomato sauce, onions, tin foil and a nicely cleaned bbq 🙂 The reason they gave us all the stuff was that it was their last day in Australia and they were heading back to Canada! Pretty sweet, i wasn’t gonna turn down the offer of free condiments and bits and bobs!

We eventually moved on and finished up our bubbly and headed off to find a lively pub for some Paddy’s Day fun. We headed over to an Irish pub called PJ O’Brien’s and it was absolutely hopping mad. Full of ppl with green face paint, shamrock hats and bellies full of drink! The place was so packed that there was a bit of a massive queue out the front so we headed off down to a place called the Rhino Bar where they had pitchers of beer called Tooheys for $10. So we found our watering hole and stayed there for a pint or two 😉 hehe.

On the way back I noticed a pretty big bug running about on the pavement!

Pool Dives Complete

prodive_cairnsTrish and myself have just finished the first two daysof our 5 day PADI “Open Water” dive course with Pro Dive. So far we have just been in the classroom and going through the basics in the pool. We’ve gone through many of the basic and important technical and emergency procedures, one of which consisted of my air being cut off! Was pretty freaky to say the least! We also sat a simple enough exam this afternoon to test us on the knowledge we have learned so far. It was multiple choice so it wasnt too bad!

We’re getting picked up at 6am tomorrow and being brought to the boat where we will be part of a 32 diver group. 16 of which, are at the same level as us, the rest are completing advanced courses and also diving for pleasure. We’ll be on the boat for 3 days and the day after tomorrow we’ll be diving 18 meters deep!

We’re going to rent an underwater camera for one of the dives so we will have some really amazing photos to share. We’ll be swimming with so many different types of fish, even including some sharks! They’ve told us they are not harmful to divers but we’ll see!

Earlier myself and Trish bought our own diving masks and snorkels so we can do some snorkeling and diving as we progress down the east coast! It’s good to know we have our own gear that suits us rather than just using rental gear all the time.

After the exam we went to a 2 hour lecture ran by a crowd called Reef Teach on all the sea life that we’ll be seeing: everything from all the different types of fish to different coral types. It went on a bit as it was all so new to us. It felt like we were being bombarded with information! But I suppose its going to be 10 times as immense when we see it first hand for ourselves.

It’s the Final Touchdown

Calypso Hostel

A big hello from down under, we have finally arrived at our first destination, Cairns, Australia. After about 3 or 4 flights we finally got here. At the moment we are trying desperately to shake off some jet lag and find out whats where in this tourist town. The weather is a bit cloudy but I can’t stress how humid it is! The wife beater is out in full force :p poor Trish… haha…

Its a nice hostel with a pool and bar with some grub in the mornings and evenings. It’s about a 15 minute walk from the centre of Cairns too, but they offer a free bus service to the center ever half hour.

We touched down at 8am Cairns time and have desperately battling jet lag since then. It’s looking tough at the moment but I’m sure we’ll win 😛 although we just woke up from an accidental 3 hour nap… Plans for the rest of the day consist of a strict rule of no more sleep before bed time, go for a swim, and look into where we are going after our 5 day diving course we start on Thursday. So for now, I bid you g’day

Last day of work in Ireland for 9 months

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Well this is it… A huge step towards freedom and fun. Office life is now a thing of the past and something that I wont be going near for 9 months at the mimnimum!!! Today is, as you may have guessed it, the last day of work for both myself and Trish. We’re both having our respective leaving drinks tonight so it should be good craic. Today is also the day when my countdown app on iGoogle gets to be in single digits: 9 days to go! I can’t wait to start posting when I’m actually away and on holidays, this is a holiday blog after all!