What a Stressfull Few Days....
21.02.2011 - 02.03.2011 25 °C
Last week we reached Cairns and we stayed in Njoy which was brilliant, we paid less for a double than we would have in a dorm at some of the other places, we got free dinner every night and the staff were really friendly. It was also right next to the Scuba Diving Center- Cairns Dive Center, where we were training to get our SSI certification . The course was excellent, we had an instructor called Dan who was hillarious and it was just James and I and an american soldier called Jesse from Kansas. The first two days we dived in the pool and we had to take a test which we all passed. The last two days we were transferred onto the kangaroo explorer boat on the Great Barrier Reef The ride over there was an absolute nightmare! There was a storm on the water so the boat was flying in the air then landing with a crash on the water every time we moved. An Asian boy behind me kept throwing up so i tried to look the other way just to discover everyone on the seats infront of my was throwing up too, so that was offputting. The food on the boat was really nice They did an excellent vegetarian option and I got loads because it was only me who was awkward enough to be vege. We did our first dive on East Timor on Moores Reef. I was so nervous! I was terrified that I'd jump into the mouth of a shark or go under and be surrounded by huge jellyfish, however it was fairly tame. We went down the ankor rope and saw a giant clam, we saw a load of nemos and doris and big swarms of fish. The second dive was deffinatly the best! I cant remember which site it was on but the minute we got down there everything came alive. We saw three turtles and one came over to Dan, nose to nose and just stared for a while. It was amazing, but i felt like such an intruder, like i wasnt meant to be there at all. We saw this huge barracuda which kept eviling me and that freaked me out a bit. We also found a GIANT jellyfish, but wierdly enough it was on the ocean floor, I stayed well clear though. On the second day we had a personal videographer called Caitlin. She videoed our wake-up call (at 5am ) and then followed us into the water where we were got our cards and certification at 18meters The video was excellent, we all got to hold up boards that we had prepared under water, mine said 'I found Nemo' James' said 'Its all great fun, untill someone gets eaten,' and Jesse's said 'Motorboating the GBR!' (must be an american thing...)
We thought it would be a good idea to spend out last day in Aus doing a trip to Cape Tribulation, but when it came to it the tour was pretty rubbish. We went with 'Cape Trib Connections' a company that was cheap but a little bit crap. The driver, Billy, made some terrible jokes, a personal favourite of mine was 'Like an executioner, lets head off...' It rained the whole time, so we got soaked and couldnt see anything from the lookouts. On the way to the Cape we stopped off at a Wildlife Sanctuary and I got Pecked on the arm by an Emu which had been eying me up for a good few minutes, it seemed to like my raincoat because it followed me all around the zoo. They gave us some (uncooked) chicken sandwiches which were horrible and then we had to eat our (cold) ''bbq'' (salad and chicken bones) in the rain surrounded by sandflies. The beach was flooded and infested with crocodiles so we didnt get to go there either....
Anyway. Now were in New Zealand, but thanks to Real Gap we nearly weren't. We got to the airport desk at 12-30 to catch our 1-30 flight to sydney for the lady to turn around and say- 'Havent you been told, this flight was cancelled on October 20th....' Not only had no one informed us, but they had also neglected to tell us that the flight we had been put on instead was 3 hours earlier than our original flight, so we had missed that and they had been calling us over the airport speakers all morning. The woman on the desk and her supervisor were brilliant though, they told us that it was obvious that Real Gap had messed it up (and completly screwed us over) and let us off paying the 3000+ Australian Dollars to pay for another flight (we would have been on a flight back to Heathrow instead if that had been the case) and instead they put us onto a flight to New Zealand via Brisbane. They couldnt beleive that we hadnt been told! And neither could we, we were furious! They might look good on paper but the amount of time Real Gap have screwed up now is unbeleivable, especially considering how much we've paid them! Firstly our co-ordinator couldn't be bothered to wait to book our flight so we had to change them, which could have cost us another 100 pounds, they messed up our accomodation dates in Vietnam, and thats all thing that have happened since we have been away! Before we left they said, 'oh this is all the money you have to pay,' then two weeks later, 'we need another grand because we forgot...' Grrrrrr.... And its not just us they have messed up for either, Brit and Sian from Cambodia both said how terrible they had been, organising transfers that never showed up, and forgetting to book accomodation.
Anyway, now my little rant has finished.... When we got to New Zealand my bag never showed up... So i spent all day yesterday waiting for it. Originally it was coming by 9am then 4-30pm then 9-30pm and eventually it showed up at midnight. Auckland is lovely though. It's a lot like london, with the style of the building but it has the advantage of being loads warmer We had a wonder round the harbours and a few of the shops too. We stayed at Base Backpackers (ACB) which was pretty good value for money. Today we started the Kiwi Experience and we are currently satying in 'Pipi Patch Base Backpackers' which is nice. We are going up to the very top of the north island tomorrow on an included day trip, where we go sandboarding, then the day after we are going swimming with dolphins around the bay of islands There's loads of things included on the Kiwi Bus Pass, much more than the Oz Experience. Everyone on it is english like the oz pass too though, haha we come to Australia and New Zealand and just meet more english
Love Aliss xoxo