Global: Session 2 - Billabong: Australia

Posted: Wed, Jul 27, 2011


Location: Cairns
Author: Jessica Castech
For our last day in beautiful Australia we wanted to take advantage of all the time we had, so we woke up and had breakfast at the shocking time of 5:45! After a quick breakfast we were picked up at our motel to go to the Tully River for a fun day of white water rafting! The rapids were graded as a level 4.3 out of a possible 6! Jenna thought she could handle the rapids without the use of a raft and was the only one to attempt going down the whole river with just a life jacket! Of course, Jenna made it! (FYI, “Jenna” is an inside joke). Meanwhile, in the girls group, we were having a fun time going down the rapids until one of us fell in (which is actually pretty normal and I highlight for most customers)! We went down a part of the river that was named “the ninja shoot” which is when Holly went flying out of the raft and ended up under the raft before being brought to safety by a miraculous rope that seemed to have fallen from heaven! Holly was fine and she took it like a champ! Soon after we had a barbeque lunch and continued on the river. Along the way we stopped at certain spots to play games, jump off rocks, and “surf” – which is when the raft keeps filling with water then draining out while we went in circles. In the other raft were Dan, Griffin, Chris, and Carly – every single one of them fell out of the raft at a certain point! When we finally reached the end of the river we were starting to realize our time together was also coming to an end, but we still had the night to look forward to! When we returned to our motel we all took very fast showers and got dressed up for our last dinner together at a Thai restaurant. We went around the table and each shared our favorite memory from this trip and it was pretty clear that we all agreed that the trip would not have been the same if it wasn’t for the amazing people we got to share it with! After dinner we headed back to our motel to eat tons of candy and stay up all night spending our last few hours together before we have to leave the motel at 3:30 am to catch our flight home! Lastly, you’ll find attached to this blog a “goodbye/hello” picture from all of our crew. It’s each of us saying “goodbye” to Australia and all the wonderful people we’ve met along the way, and “hello” to the friends and family that we’ll soon see and who have made this trip possible.

Posted: Tue, Jul 26, 2011

Final Night, kinda

Location: Cairns
Author: Sonia Chevli
Today we had the gift of sleeping in till 8am and getting a good night rest after the few chaotic days on the dive boat. After a very lovely breakfast Emily and Chris went for a hike while the rest of the group spent the day at the beach. At the beach we got our last good tanning session in and explored the little town around it. I didn’t personally go hiking but I heard it was “awesome” and it sounded like they had a great time. When everyone got back to the motel we had a quick nap and ordered pizzas. For the rest of the evening we are having individual time to do our last lifeworks program because tomorrow is going to be jam packed.

Posted: Mon, Jul 25, 2011

Whoop There It Is – Delicious Mush

Location: Great Barrier Reef
Author: Dana Lukko
Today the certified divers rose early for the morning dive. Seeing the sun rise from underwater was absolutely lovely. Then we came in for a hearty breakfast buffet before heading out on our second dive. On the second dive we followed a huge reef wall seeing Clown fish, White Tip sharks, poisonous Lion fish, and a couple turtles. Then we headed in for an hour. Then it was time for our third and final dive of the trip. We headed along swimming through sea caves and around large reef walls. We saw a ton of marine life ranging from brightly colored corals and anemones to large Grouper and Zebra fish. After getting our fingers cleaned by Cleaner Shrimp we headed up, finishing our dives for the trip. After another amazing lunch on the boat it was time to head back to Cairns. On the boat ride back we saw a pod of Humpback Whales! We were able to watch them breach and swim around and under the boat. It was utterly lovely. After we got settled in at the motel we headed over to Hungry Jacks (Australian Burger King) for dinner. Then we made a batch of cake cookies which sort of ended up being cake mush. Delicious cake mush. All in all our day was choccas with excitement! (FYI. Choccas is Australian slang for packed or “chock-full”)

Posted: Sun, Jul 24, 2011

Shark’s Playground

Location: Great Barrier Reef
Author: Holly Wagman
If there was ever a day on this trip that guaranteed everyone a good night’s sleep, it would be today. The certified divers of the group awoke early this morning to dive before breakfast with the sunrise. Diving underwater while witnessing the ocean wake from its slumber was spectacular. Afterwards we ate breakfast and prepared for the many remaining dives. Two amazing dives occupied the morning for most of the group while the remaining members enjoyed snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef. A delicious lunch followed by pages of books being lazily turned and napping beneath the sparkling Australian sun preceded an equally incredible afternoon dive. By dinnertime the group had completed four dives or snorkeling sessions and we felt the toll it was taking. Many exciting species were spotted on the reef today such as barracuda, multiple sting rays, poisonous lionfish, and enormous bat fish. Even though we were all exhausted the night dive approached quickly and unyielding. We glanced over the stern of the ship and witnessed what rested in the water below. Dozens of large reef sharks and giant grouper swirled around the edge of the boat where divers commonly make their leap into the water. The group perked up and hopped willingly into the shark infested waters which made for a very exciting night dive. Countless sharks, crustaceans, large fish, and an immense sting ray later we gathered around the TV to finish a movie before drifting off into a deep, good night’s sleep.

Posted: Sat, Jul 23, 2011

Underwater Spaceship

Location: Great Barrier Reef
Author: Daniel Marranzini
Today was a sunny morning in Cairns where we took a bus to the marina and boarded our temporary diving vessel, Sea Quest. We finally took our first glimpse of the majestic Great Barrier Reef, and everything was even more than we expected, there were colossal coral formations of different shapes and sizes exposing beautiful colors all around and tons of fish, including Nemo. Inside these corals we even saw a fish called a “cleaner wrasse” nibbling the parasites off a cod, and the cod, benefiting from this service, opened his gills to the wrasse and allowed it to clean inside them. After three dives and descending while doing front flips, we went on one of the most amazing night dives. During this dive we saw our first white-tip shark, with its eyes glowing in the darkness and very alert because they always hunt at night, followed by huge packs of very dark fish that used our flashlights to hunt and if your light fell on a smaller species of fish they were instantly eaten. Overall, this was one of the highlights of our trip and a day we definitely won’t forget.

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