Location: Daintree Rainforest
Day 9: Koala Kisses and Kangaroo Selfie
I woke up fairly and decided to wake everyone else up too. We had breakfast and some downtime after so people showered, slept some more, or just talked. Being the Kangaroo today, my joeys (Richie and Brie) and I made quesadillas for lunch. Mauricio was there for moral support. It was quite fun. So around 10 am, we left for the Billabong Sanctuary. Even when we first arrived, we were ecstatic to see the koalas and kangaroos. We got a personal tour and met the koalas first. Everyone loved the fluffy adorableness. After we met Tonka, the wombat, Jin LOVED Tonka. Well, how couldn’t anyone not? After people were brave enough to hold a snake and a baby saltie, another name for a saltwater crocodile. We explored the sanctuary some more, and people chose to get the chance to hold a koala, but of course, everyone’s favorite past time at the sanctuary was taking selfies with kangaroos that just ran around the area. Aaron completely won the selfie award. Caisha and I struggled to get a selfie but eventually got one. Once we got to the hostel, we had some free time. Some people helped clean the hostel while the kitchen crew and I were in charge of making pasta. Bri basically completely took over, since she works in a kitchen. For the squeeze question, we discussed our favorite sounds. Jin taught us a fun game, so we all played, then we all learned an amazing group handshake. Everyone was pretty tired from our busy day with the animals, so we all headed to bed early. We also had to prepare ourselves for an early morning departure. We will dream of wombats and kangaroos!!
Day 10 On the road again.
Today we all woke up at 5:20 in the hostel. It began being a cold day which it was obvious how tired everyone was. It was fun bossing everyone around, telling them what to do, but I wasn’t sure how to make sure everyone knew what was needed. We left the hostel and went to Cairns. (Aaron say sit is spelled, Cains) We needed to make a few stops because it was a 5hour trip, most of this was spent with some of us talking with our shipmates if we were close to them, others just slept. After leaving the Greyhound bus and saying “hello” to Cairns, I am convinced Aaron spelled it wrong. We carried about a block away from where we boarded a van. On our way to the place where we were going to stay, we wrote a story. That was surprisingly comforting for me, actually. I learned quite a bit about myself and was also entertained for most of the trip.
In the hotel, there is a library that beholds the world’s most precious books. We found a funny book filled with anecdotes that we all laughed too. When Hugh, the owner of the hotel, saw us laughing and looked at the book, he did not freak out but just asked, “What book are you reading? Oh! That one? Ha” We also found a book of Aussie jokes that we all enjoyed. Towards the end, we did the squeeze and shared the most embarrassing moments with each other and shared much-needed laughs, a whole discussion followed that topic and was the perfect end for a tense and tiring day.
Day 11 Where the rainforest meets the reef.
We awoke today at 7:30 to a breakfast of cereal and toast. Soon after eating, we headed over to the beach. We walked to where the rainforest meets the reef, through the mangrove boardwalk, along the fringing reef, on to the rocks of Cape Tribulation. A solemn counter-part to the hotel, the local Mt.Sorrow. We admired the beautiful view, the wind blowing the plants along the rocks, the waves crashing upon the cliffs, and those gliding up the flat beach with a backdrop of the tropical forest and the mountains whose summits were smothered by the clouds despite the blue, clear sky above us all. We then decided to traverse the cape, although we ended up walking behind the cape along the trail. We ended at a lookout with a beautiful view over the shallow bay. Many of us talked and joked jovially as we hiked back along the road, surrounded by the oldest continuous rainforest in the world. Upon returning, we decided to eat a brief lunch, ham turkey and PB and J sandwiches were provided for us campers.
Soon after this, we began our community service. Three groups were formed; one for pulling vines in the forest, one for digging and sifting dirt for the plants at the station, and one to replace the recently broken power cord buried under the ground. Hours later, with the vines pulled, dirt-sifted, and power cord replaced, we all decided to go back to the beach, not before we stopped by the market to pick up much-desired necessities. Once we reached the beach, we all relaxed, talking, joking, and playing games ranging from birds on a perch to a “guys vs. girls” game of “put it together.” As the sun began to set, we began to walk back to the cabins. Upon returning, we prepared for a delicious dinner of Tex-Mex. Then we sat and talked until the daily squeeze where the question of the day was, “what is your favorite quote.”
Day 12 Swinging and Volunteering
Today we woke up at around 8:00 am to a breakfast of cereal and muesli. Then we spent a few hours removing invasive vines from the rainforest. We had fun chopping down the vines with saws and shears. Then we walked to a swimming hole. There was a rope swing to jump into the water. Some people thought the water was cold and wouldn’t stay in it for long. Mauricio showed us his acrobatics skills, and I was the first one brave enough to try out the swing. At one point, we even got Steve to go on the swing. Afterward, we went back to the Bat House for lunch and had a concoction of corn pancakes, which were pretty good. After lunch, we split into two groups and did more community service work. One group stayed behind and made an electric fence around a fruit garden. The group I was in went out to remove more vines from the rainforest. We spent two more hours removing the vines before returning to the Bat House. When we got back, people started taking showers before dinner. For dinner, we had eggplant lasagna, and Steve had a spider for dessert.