Monday, 24 December 2012

17 November – Cairns and the Barrier Reef (Australia)

As I have already been asked, No, I did not use my own camera for the fish photographs but hired an underwater camera for the day. A day on the reef off Cairns snorkelling in a group while others were scuba diving. Once the boat had left the wharf we were all asked if anyone did not swim, and surprise, two people who were snorkelling could not swim and some had not used a snorkel before. They had to wear a floatation vest. I thought that the sea was quite calm but others did not like the movement of the boat too much. Lunch was provided but that was not up to much but water was free all day and most people drunk a fair drop of water what with the heat and the salt water that was swallowed. Whenever someone went into the water their name was marked off a sheet and when returning they had to sign the sheet as well to indicate that they had actually returned to the boat. At least one raft was in the water at all times when people were swimming or scuba driving.

Australia, Cairns, Great Barrier Reef (1)
Waiting to leave the wharf
Australia, Cairns, Great Barrier Reef (3)
Leaving Cairns
Australia, Cairns, Great Barrier Reef (4)
Leaving Cairns

Reef Fish












15 to 19 November – Cairns (Australia)

I did not know anything about an eclipse before leaving Moresby but was told of one on the flight to Cairns only to be too late arriving in Cairns to view the eclipse in one of the places people had gone specially for the view.

The eclipse
Australia Great Barrier Reef (2)
Part of the Barrier Reef from the air
It seems that watchers one kilometre apart either saw a good eclipse or the view was obstructed by cloud so for some the trip to Cairns was wasted to some extent. According to the local people 10,000 others had come to Cairns for the eclipse and most stayed for a week or more to enjoy North Queensland. I had arranged accommodation in ‘Jacks,’ a hostel in the centre of Cairns where the four bunk room was full the whole time I was there. As part of the cost an evening meal was thrown in from the pub next door but this was not a pub meal but a cheap pasta or rice specially cooked for the backpackers staying in the hostel. It was a not so subtle way of having the backpackers stay around to buy drink during the evening.

Australia, Cairns (2)
Cairns from the air
Australia, Cairns (5)
Boats in the harbour
Australia, Cairns (7a)
Jack's Hostel
Australia, Cairns (10)
A Cairns street
Australia, Cairns (14a)
A Cairns street
Australia, Cairns (15)
A Cairns street
Australia, Cairns (9)
The swimming area near the esplanade
Cairns was very clean and more than obvious after the filth of PNG. Even with the influx of tourists there was plenty of space though some tours were fully booked until after the weekend. I did manage to visit Kuranda up on the Atherton Tablelands where there was a koala zoo of sorts, Birdworld and a butterfly garden. There were two noticeable changes from when I had gone there more than twenty years ago. One was that there was a choice of getting to and from Kuranda either by bus, train or cable car, with the cable car being fairly new. This was 7.5 kilometres long, starting from the plain and going up over the mountains with stopping places along the way so that people may walk through the rain forest and see different birds and animals that live there. The second difference was the number of stalls and shops selling trendy and ethnic things, a much more formal structure than in the past. I did visit the koala park and the butterfly gardens then returned to Cairns on the train.

Australia, Kuranda Cable Car (2)
The cable car
Australia, Barron River (1)
The Barron River
Australia, Kuranda Railway (2)
The Kuranda train
Australia, Barron River Falls (3)
The Barron River Falls
Australia, Kuranda Animal Park (1)
Australia, Kuranda Animal Park (2)
Stuck in the trees
Australia, Kuranda Animal Park (3b)
Australia, Kuranda Animal Park (13)
Australia, Kuranda Animal Park (14)
Cuddling a koala
Australia, Kuranda Animal Park (18)
A cassowary
Australia, Kuranda Butterfly Park (3)
Butterflies in the park
Australia, Kuranda Butterfly Park (5)

Australia, Kuranda Butterfly Park (19)

Australia, Kuranda Butterfly Park (23)
Australia, Kuranda Butterfly Park (8)
Australia, Kuranda Railway (8)
Engine painted as an aboriginal snake

Saturday, 8 December 2012

10 to 14 November - Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea)

I did walk around Gordons and Boroko, areas where we used to go as a family and where i was told that expatriates did not go any more except by driving, and had no problem at all. I saw few expatriates driving and none walking so the information was correct. The main difference from past years was that the place was filthy with buai having been spat all over the place and rubbish left everywhere especially around the shopping areas. As in other parts of the country it looked as if no effort had been made to clean up for along time.

The highlight of the visit to Port Moresby was seeing the Orchid Show at the Parliament Building. I have never seen so many orchids in one place and they were really beautiful. The photographs I have put on the blog are only a few of those that were on display.

The wall of a housing compound with razor wire and electric fence. What a way to live!
Our old house in Moresby

Port Moresby

Boroko East School. Virtually nothing could be seen as trees covered the whole site.
Boroko Shopping Centre

Boroko Shopping Centre

The House of Parliament
The House of Parliament

The orchid display at the House of Parliament