To my mum on Mothers Day

Today is Mothers Day in the UK, my first in the UK since returning. But with the British government telling us that the best gift we can give today is to ‘stay away from mum’, the distance feels just as big.

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But I will obviously listen to the advice.

We live in a bitter-sweet time. A time when we cannot control a virus but have the technology to connect the world in such a way that said virus goes global instantly. We also live in a time that allows us to connect digitally, and by sharing a quick FaceTime conversation that distance seems to shrink again.

I just wanted to put a quick happy mothers day message out there to the world. Remembering how lucky I am to have such a great mother, although I had never forgotten. And a happy mothers day to all you mothers out there.

I am sorry I couldn’t be with you this time round, but the beauty of life is we don’t have to limit such acknowledgments to one day. And we shouldn’t. There is a flaw in having a date circled in the calendar months ahead of time, when we have no idea what is around the corner. A global pandemic disrupting everything for example. It is much better to show love daily as tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. This quote is said so much but it is so true. I try not to forget this fact and each and every year I grow to realise how lucky we all are to enjoy another year on this earth. I am lucky to still be able to say it to my mum. Not everyone can, or could.

Happy mothers day to my amazing mum, and to all you great mothers out there.

Oh and take lots of photos, for the times when you can’t be together.

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Thank you to my 6,000 followers!

Six thousand. Wow. It’s hard to wrap my head around it because it’s a pretty big number and I am very grateful to have so many people follow this blog.

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What I love about blogging is that I have been doing it for years and I am still not bored of it. That’s because blogging is optional, unlike a job. It can be on whatever topic I want, as long as I want at what time I want. I love the freedom and this is what makes me happy to come back day to day.

It helps keep me productive and stimulated. I have something to focus my attention on and gives me something to aim for. That aim is to keep blogging, growing and hopefully improve my writing and creativity.

So with that, I want to thank you again for reading and for everyone that is following my blog. You are actually the reason that I can enjoy blogging as I know people are enjoying my posts and it is fun to write for people. It also gives me more motivation to travel as I know I can share my stories, and there will be many more stories to come I am sure.

I hope you are all having an awesome day, wherever you are. Keep blogging, and I will see you all again soon for the next post.

Sam

 


 

Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section

Want to keep up with my travels? Click here for my Travel Diary

Want to introduce yourself and your blog and discover new ones? Click here for my meet and greet page.

Happy blogging,

Sam

A short but sweet visit to Green Island (Great Barrier Reef)

So today we have been blessed with some fantastic weather all day long. It turns out our decision to do a short half-day trip to Green Island was a good one as the conditions were perfect to see the reef and fish living around it. We made our way to the boat terminal, (you can see how close it is to our hotel below), departed at 11am and arrived 45 minutes later.

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The weather is scorching.  No clouds were around to give shade so we hid in a cafe until it was time to board. What I remember from my last trip out was that being at sea from 9-5 is a long time in the unforgiving far north Queensland sunshine, so a slightly shorter trip wasn’t really an issue. The shorter journey to Green Island meant we didn’t really spend too much time at sea getting to and from the reef.

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The Reef Rocket

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Cairns looking great from here! As the city disappeared onto the horizon, our little island emerged. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it did seem very small! Not that I was complaining, my last reef trip consisted of no land whatsover, so having somewhere that I was able to walk around on without bobbing up and down like a cork was welcomed.

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That colour though!

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Immediately upon looking down we saw some impressive sized schools of fish of all kinds. That and a small reef shark minding it’s own business amongst the snorkelers. Humans and animals seem to get along pretty well here. Now because this was a short trip we only spent an hour on the island to have lunch and walking through it actually makes it seem bigger than I originally assumed. I didn’t take any photos (why the hell didn’t I?!) but there is a walkway that takes you from one side of the island to the other and in the middle is a resort with a couple of restaurants, bars and a pool for guests of Green Island. We had lunch fairly hurried as we didn’t want to miss the glass bottom boat ride and headed back out to the boats.

Oh I needed to save my terrible iPhone battery. That is why.

The boat was a different one to the one we got here, it was a long boat and people sit facing each other with the glass running down the length of the boat. Due to the shallow reef the views were clear and fish aplenty.

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How cool is that? We also saw a turtle which was perfect timing as a man asked the driver if there was the possibility. His response was ‘Yes! Right there!’.

He surfaced a couple of times away from the boat before submerging and swimming off for good.

Now this was the perfect little day as we were actually going to do a popular train ride and realised we had missed the train! So with the weather being perfect and not wanting it to go to waste we looked at short trips out to the reef and the few hours at sea actually felt a lot longer. But in a good way, 11-4pm means there was no time for sea sickness and we have enough energy to do something tonight. Tomorrow we will do the Kuranda Train ride in hopefully decent weather. But I don’t mind too much because if I wanted any day to be great, it was a day at the reef.


 

More info on the Big Cat Green Island Reef Cruises on their website here.

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Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section

Want to keep up with my travels? Click here for my Travel Diary or follow me over on Instagram

Want to introduce yourself and your blog and discover new ones? Click here for my meet and greet page.

Happy blogging,

Sam

 

Travel Diary: Cairns, and perfect weather at the Great Barrier Reef!

So I have been a little absent from WordPress the past week or so for the reasons explained here, not that this has been a time of procrastination but rather to the contrary. That being said as much as I have had fun, I am pleased to be able to relax in my own bed.

This was the moment I realised I was on holiday.

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I found Cairns- much smaller than Sydney- to be very sleepy in comparison. Surrounded by beautiful coastlines, dense rain-forest and low rise buildings. It also looked remarkably grid like compared to Sydney’s winding streets and this made it fairly easy to navigate. The noise from the busy Sydney traffic was replaced by calm but for the occasional noise from a helicopter tour.

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This was until we reached the hostel. Don’t get me wrong, this is a fantastic hostel and one of the main reasons I had such a great experience in Cairns was down to the accommodation. I want to get that out there first, and I liked it so much that here is the link to Gilligans. That is of course only if you like hostel living. The perks of this place are that you are located close to what the city has to offer, the hostel itself has a travel agent that helps organise your tours to the Great Barrier Reef and it has a ‘Workers Wanted’ desk that assists on helping backpackers that want to find rural work to get their second year visa. Other perks include $11 jugs of beer, $5 dinners every night (I thought these were great value) and nightly entertainment. During the day, the hostel has a good vibe. Not too busy, not too crazy. By nightfall, expect what you would expect from a nightclub. What would you expect from a hostel? I haven’t stayed in many, however I am sure this is up there with the best I will stay in.

We had an upgrade to a 6-bed dorm, great considering we had four in our group.

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Views were decent. We watched the Crystal Serenity dock one day and one of the bridge commanders actually stayed with us for a night in one of the two spare beds. Me and a friend then decided his night off would be spent telling us all about ships and life on the waters, although he seemed to enjoy the conversation. It is nice to see the passion some people show in their roles.

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Views above. $11 Jugs and $5 dinners below.

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On the second morning myself and my friend Victoria arranged to do the Great Barrier Reef. It would be silly if we didn’t of course, and was the one thing we had on our list. It is very high on the bucket list too, as it is for many people. One thing we agreed on was that we would only snorkel, as we feel a little uneasy diving. Jumping into water with a heavy load makes me feel as uneasy as we did sailing with a hangover in 35c heat.

This of course was justified when looking at the views of the slowly fading landscape.

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Now this trip was amazing. For $170 per person, we sailed at 8am and arrived back on dry land at 5pm. This included a fantastic lunch, a great team of professionals and a $10 tab that I decided to use on a beer and a snack. The real shame was that both of us felt a little too queasy to go to town on the chicken carbonara and veggie curry, but we gave it our best shot. The quality of the food meant we ate a plate and a half even though our bodies threatened to throw it back up anytime. This was after our first swim though, which was amazing. They took us to two separate reefs, one that they said was the best and was decided upon due to the great conditions. Our conditions were better than they have been for a long time according to staff, and the images really do back this up.

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Oooh, look at all the floaty people…

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The first reef, 20 meters deep, plenty of coral.

The second reef, nothing but darkness looking down. This was a longer swim to the coral, surrounded by jellyfish whilst protected by a stinger suit. After a good few minutes swim, the water became much more shallow. Swimming back was amazing when looking at how the coral suddenly ends at a cliff face and plummets into a dark abyss. I couldn’t help but imagine a shark swimming upwards from the darkness. Hopefully I will obtain the GoPro underwater shots from my friend soon to show you. Part Two perhaps coming soon?

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As much as I enjoyed the trip and the incredible sights underwater, it was great to step foot on dry land again. I won’t forget the Nemo’s, the bright blue starfish, the huge coral and the great people that were alongside us. Some found baby sharks and turtles, and for that I will be forever jealous.

The following day, signs for a full english breakfast were a welcome sight.

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This spider scared the crap out of me.

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This tree (or trees?) caught my attention.

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And this drunk person is me. You can only have so many $11 jugs before gazing at a storm and wondering how hard lightning would have to strike before you gain a superpower.

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The weather remained fairly stormy after this, not that I cared after having such great weather at the reef. If anything it added to the images.

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Birds nesting above, a plane seemingly on fire upon boarding below.

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Those views! Dream islands and double rainbows.

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I didn’t think this would happen, but I felt upset arriving back ‘home’. Not that Sydney is my home, however it is for the time being. I realised I was going back to work and back to my current normality, recovering from sunburn and bank overdrafts. It is funny that this still happens on a working holiday visa.

I loved Cairns and I hope to go back. Great memories with great people, an unforgettable experience at the Great Barrier Reef that so many people have sitting at the top of their bucket lists. Don’t worry, I am trying to obtain the images underwater from my friend although we are having technical issues. Until then, I hope that you enjoyed the ones above the surface.

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I’m going to the Great Barrier Reef!

I got paid yesterday. I checked my banking app three or four times after waking up to see when the pay would go in. I also had Skyscanner open on the browser at work ready to book flights. One of the worries I had was that the flight prices would increase with the departure date creeping up. 

Tip: Delete your internet history or use a separate computer when booking flights. If you have already looked at flights on your browser, the website may bump up the prices on your second visit. I looked the day before yesterday and the prices were between $350-$370 depending on the departure time. Deleting the history didn’t just work, I also found a new flight for $312 return! Bingo.

This was all pretty last minute, two days ago in fact. One of my friends from England is visiting in Feburary, she is staying with one of her best friends in Sydney for a few days and then they are making their way up to Cairns. I am meeting them up there after she messaged me with her plans. I booked the time off and went from there. 

From the 18th to the 24th of Feb I will be blogging from Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef. Thankfully I will have some more sights to show you in a completely new location. A refreshing change for my readers and no doubt a very fun experience to have. 

I am staying in a hostel, and I don’t mind at all. I have only stayed in a hostel on my own, so being with a few friends will be fun. I feel this is the time to experience true hostel life whilst I am a twenty something backpacker on a temporary holiday visa. 

I would love to hear from anyone that has been… any recommendations as to what to do and where to visit. Any lesser known bars or food places, any tips and tricks for a week long hostel stay.

Those that haven’t been, anything you want to see in particular in Cairns? I am sure the Great Barrier Reef is the top pick. Don’t worry, I will have that covered for sure.

So in the meantime, the above is a great picture I found on Unsplash. I felt I needed to add a photo to provide a glimpse of what it will be like and to add some colour to the post, I don’t like posting without an image. I will try to match this with my own shots as best I can. 

As always, I’ll be here everyday until then with my daily ramblings. Speak soon!

Sam

Featured image by Yanguang Lan on Unsplash.