Posted by: M.J. Bolstad | October 31, 2014

Adventures on the Other Side of the World #15

Forgive me if this post gets a little rambling or incoherent, but I’ve had a very long day.  A good long day, excellent, even; however, long nonetheless.  I was even going to skip blogging altogether, but since tomorrow will be yet another amazing day, I figured I shouldn’t wait to get today’s adventure on the page so the length of the next blog entry doesn’t get too crazy. Since I last wrote, I’ve travelled back to Melbourne from Sydney, then on to Townsville the very next day.  I’d say today was my first non-travel day, but I technically travelled by boat, so I’m not sure I can count it as such.

The new Australian Parliament building. The flagpole was apparently a gift from Canada.

The new Australian Parliament building. The flagpole was apparently a gift from Canada.

But let me start back at in Sydney, where I left off.  On Wednesday morning, Alexander got up for another sunrise photography session while I ignored said rising of sun in favour of a little extra sleep, then a leisurely time getting myself ready for the road trip.  I took my time getting showered and dressed and I even did my makeup, with perfect timing as Alexander arrived with my coffee offering just as I was finishing up. After that, we had once last complimentary breakfast at the Glenferrie, then hit the road.  And did not get very far in the first hour.  Traffic was insane, as this small town gal never sees at home. I think we took over a half hour to inch forward less than 12 km. And there were tunnels. We were in one long tunnel for what seemed like forever. I was not sure we were ever going to get out of Sydney, but we did manage eventually, and then were on to Canberra, the Capitol of Australia.  Like Ottawa in Canada, it is a manufactured capitol, given the country could not decide whether Sydney or Melbourne should bear the title.  We stopped only briefly, but long enough for me to see a little inside parliament, including the copy of the Magna Carta.  Believe it or not, one exists outside England, and it is housed in the Australian parliament.

The Great Barrief Reef is just as beautiful outside of Townsville as it was in Cairns!

The Great Barrief Reef is just as beautiful outside of Townsville as it was in Cairns!

After Canberra and our brief stop, it was on to Melbourne with only pit stops along the way.  I’ll admit it, I napped at least two hours of the long journey.  After Canberra, it was a good way to pass the time on a long stretch of mainland highway.  I missed seeing some live echidnas, apparently, and many dead kangaroos along the side of the road, but I’ve seen both so was content to enjoy the warm sun through the window and get some extra rest.  Once in Melbourne, Alexander went to meet his boyfriend because it was his birthday, while I stayed in to do laundry and finish packing.  The next morning, it was onward to Townsville, a good chunk of the day spent in airports and airplanes.  At the Townsville arrivals gate, I was greeted by the smiling face of Liz. She and her Magoos all lived in Yellowknife, and I used to babysit for the little Magoos when they were children, and now they are in pre-med (and away, so I won’t see him), graduating high school in a couple of weeks, and well into high school.  I feel a bit old, but it is so incredibly nice to see those present (Liz, Gerry, and 2 of the 3 I used to be delighted to get to sit for) that I’m at a loss for words in this state of tired.  After wine and dinner and catching up, it was off to bed so I could wake up for my early morning.

I was so pleased to see a starfish in the reef!

I was so pleased to see a starfish in the reef!

I’d booked another intro dive and snorkel, this time out of Townsville with Adrenalin Snorkel and Dive.  It was a smaller boat and group, but really lovely.  There were just two of us intro divers, three”just snorkelers”, two certified divers, and a small group taking a rescue diving course, plus the crew.  We had to go a long way to the reef (about 2.5 hours to get there) but it was just our boat and open water, which made for a really quiet dive and snorkel, and lots of fish to see! I’d hired a camera to see if I could get some better reef pictures (and more), and I think it worked out fairly well. I also got to keep the little memory card, so I may see if it fits my own waterproof camera, as it is few gigs than the one I tried previously, so may not be too powerful for it and make it work a little better for me.

I didn’t get the greatest shots on my snorkel session (I still don’t really know what I’m doing so just point and click a lot and hope at least 10 percent are usable), but I think I got some decent ones while diving.  It was a bit easier, because I could get up closer to things and not have to try to figure out zoom. I also think the filter they have on the hired camera works better at greater depths, given the quality of the light.  That is just a guess though – as I said, I don’t really know what I’m doing.  Anyway, the dive was about a half hour, then I warmed up, had some lunch, and was in the water for my snorkel for an hour or more.  I lost track of time in the water, but my hands were quite wrinkly.

Taking the boat back to Townsville after a beautiful day on the water.

Taking the boat back to Townsville after a beautiful day on the water.

After that, Liz met me at the dock as her shift was done, and we stopped for coffee then went back to her home, where I showered off the sea salt and de-matted my hair and put on something nice as Liz and Gerry had booked us tickets to see Dave Hughes (or Hughesy, as he is known here), and Australian comedian. Now, not only was this my first time seeing an Australian comedian, it was my first time seeing a stand up comedian full stop.  I had a GREAT time.  As per comedians I’ve seen on television, some of the material was a little more risqué, but I thought it was really funny. There were a few jokes I missed just because I don’t have a frame of reference, being Canadian (for example, AFL jokes went right over my head, as did one about some town whose name I can’t remember but it got a huge laugh from the crowd) but I would guess that 90% of it I was in on the joke. So it was a fantastic experience. I didn’t get any photos, because I didn’t think they’d turn out from where I was and I was too busy laughing anyway.

After the show, we stopped at I place I think is called Capers, and picked up takeaway dinner.  The place closes at 10 o’clock and we were cutting it close, so you can imagine how tired I am now, after an early day, then all the swimming, and now the late night.  Completely and totally worth this level of exhaustion, though I’m glad to be wrapping it up.  I get to have a bit of a sleep in tomorrow but don’t want to waste my day in bed. So I’ll sign off for now and hope you enjoyed reading about this set of adventures!

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