Saturday, June 9, 2007

Birthday Weekend

This past weekend was one of the craziest I have ever seen. A HUGE storm blew in that lasted for about 3 days. The swell in the ocean got up to 17 meters, or almost 60 feet, causing a massive coal tanker to run aground on Nobby's beach, about a half mile from my apartment. Winds were gusting over 50mph, and over 8 inches of rain fell in less than 24 hours, causing widespread flooding. We still managed to have a great time on my birthday, but we obviously had to celebrate indoors. Here is a BBC story about the storm...crazy stuff.

Monday, May 28, 2007

North Queensland

This past weekend, Hayley, Chris, and I flew to Cairns (pronounced 'cans') in tropical north Queensland to take take a look at the Great Barrier Reef and check out some other sights of the Australian tropics. The weather was a little shaky, but we managed to dodge the rain for most of our outdoor activities. On Friday, we took a boat out of the Cairns harbour to the main section of the GBR. The sky was pretty cloudy, which apparently keeps the reefs bright colors at bay, but we managed to see some incredible fish and coral species, and Chris even spotted a small shark.

Cool fish on the reef

This is probably my favorite pic from the reef...4 cool looking fish

More fish

On Saturday, I decided to go whitewater rafting on the Tully River, about 1.5 hrs south of Cairns. Haley and Chris didn't want to go, but I hadn't seen any whitewater in about 5 months and I was about to go crazy, so I decided to go by myself. The Tully was a great river, and reminded me a lot of the Chattooga where I guided last summer. I had an awesome guide and boat, and we had a great time. We got rained on a good bit, but we were already wet from rafting, so it worked out alright.

Great view of the Tully Gorge

On Sunday, we took an Adventure Tour out of Cairns to see Cape Tribulation, Daintree Rainforest, and an animal sanctuary. I was thinking that this was going to be one of the more boring days in Cairns, but we had a great time with our tour guide Joe, and learned a ton about the rainforest and tropical Queensland.

Saltwater Crocodile

Freshwater Crocodile

Momma kangaroo with her Joey

Koala bear

I can't remember the name of this tropical fruit, but it looked really crazy and the inside part tasted great.

Cape Tribulation

The crew at Cape Tribulation

This is a 'choking gum tree' in the Daintree Rainforest. The trunk forms a web design because smaller gums grow on the existing trunk and choke the original plant, forming a network of new trees.

Fan palms in the rainforest

HUGE croc on the daintree river

Awesome view from a lookout on the way back to Cairns. One of the few times we got sunshine throughout the weekend.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Wow, I just realized how long its been since I've posted on here. May has been fairly uneventful, but I've definitely got a couple things to update everyone on.

Unfortunately, when I came back from Fiji, my stomach problems didn't react to the first antibiotic that the doctors game me, so I was pretty sick until mid-May, which wasn't too much fun. Thankfully the second medicine got rid of the bug, and I've been feeling MUCH better since then.

Newcastle is coming into full fledged winter weather, which means that the highs are around 70 degrees. Its not too wintry from what I'm used to, but it kinda stinks that its too cold to hit the beach and go surfing.

One of my roomates, Hayley, turned 21 last week, and we had a great time going to dinner and out on the town for her birthday. Also, one of our Australian friends, Lulu, had a going away party because she is moving to Thredbo in about a week, so that was fun as well.

Andrew Ferguson, one of my pledge brothers, arrived in Newcastle this past Saturday and will be here until Thursday. He is visiting family in Brisbane for about 6 weeks, and came down to Newcastle to hang out for about a week. We spent a day in Sydney on Saturday, and have been seeing the 'sights' of Newcastle for the past couple days. I believe a Hunter Valley wine tour is in the works...we'll see.

This weekend, a few of us are heading up to Cairns, where the great barrier reef is. Cairns is in the tropical north of Australia, and should be pretty warm. We are planning to go snorkel the reef, take a rainforest tour, and go whitewater rafting, so I'll keep you posted.