Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Here Comes The Sun

We left Cairns this morning at 1 to take a catamaran to Green Island, an hour away.  There we set up on a dark beach to watch the solar eclipse, the purpose of the trip.  It's rained for the last three days, and there were clouds, so we were worried.  But we could also see stars, which was very encouraging.
This was my first total eclipse.  Others told me that seeing a partial eclipse was like almost winning the lottery.  Ben took the photos today.  Most are with his solar lens.  
It took the moon an hour to cover the sun.  I will confess that it was spectacular.  Clouds?  No worries.
I've heard descriptions of the diamond ring before.  I've seen pictures, but nothing compares!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Or Would You Rather Be A Fish?

Meet Barry.  He's a barracuda.
He swims in the waters of Australia's Great Barrier Reef.
Meet Julie, the photographer, cause you don't know her.
Heck, I don't know her.
What happened to me today?
My intention was to endure the day since I don't do water well, unless it's dishes or a shower.
Ben bought an underwater camera for the trip.
Why didn't he use it?  Good question.
Many people on the boat today felt a need to chum the fish, Ben included.
Bad day for them, more opportunity for me.  
I spent hours swimming above the coral.
That's right:  hours.
I swam with lots of fishies.
I had a blast.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Give Me That Old Time Religion

Early this morning I felt a need to kneel before the porcelain god, soon to be followed by obeisance to some of the bushes outside the hotel.  I wasn't sure I was going to be able to make our trip to a rain forest with aborigine tour guides.  With a little faith, I decided I could be sick alone in a hotel room, or sick on a bus.  Besides, I didn't want to miss another boat ride, which was going to be part of our day.  But I was honestly so puny that while waiting for our bus, I couldn't stand up and had to sit on my haunches.  Once on the bus, I couldn't lift my head.  I spent the first hour zonked.  Along the way, the driver stopped so we could get out and take a picture of this rainbow, but I handed Ben the camera.  I couldn't move.
We arrived at a compound and the others wandered off to look around.  I had managed to find a place to sit, but my head was in my hands.  At that moment our guide entered the compound.  He looked around and then pointed to me, singling me out to follow him across the road.  Ya, I know.  You would have followed him, too.
He pulled some flowers off a tree, presented me with a bouquet, and then motioned for me to follow him to the ocean.  Within in five steps, I was a new woman!  Last week during our visits to aboriginal sites, there was a lot of talk by the guides about how spiritual the aborigines are.  I will confess that at that time I was a doubter.  Today, however, I was born again.
We had a lot of fun.  Our guide gave everyone spears and taught us how to  kill a coconut.  Ben was the only one who met with success.
Then we walked along the beach, but not in the surf because of the crocodiles who haunt there.  Our guide wanted to take us on a hike through the mangroves, and he assured us the crocs don't like the mangroves.  I was all about trust at that point.
However, at this point I bailed.
This was my path back to our little camp, alone.  It was actually very peaceful, although it was raining, too.  No worries, I kept the camera under my shirt, protected by my bouquet, which I carried for the rest of the day.
The guide's brother had prepared some refreshments.  My first food that day was a muffin, which I kept down.  I also was able to drink some water.  Lovely.
At our next stop, Ben presented me with a digital bouquet.  He's so sweet.
The day brought a lot of thrills.  Our eagle-eyed guide spied this baby crocodile.
But it wasn't hard at all to see his mother.  The guides have named all the crocs.  Meet Betsy.
I love bats.  These were wonderful, if not very noisy.
Ben managed to capture this picture of a king fisher.
I decided to snooze on the bus while the rest of the group walked through the rain forest.
Ben came back to the bus laughing.  The guide was in the lead but screamed when he came upon this poisonous snake, 6 feet long.  Then the guide said, "Everyone with cameras step ahead of me!"