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Journals from James Cook University, Townsville, Australia

2012-05-01 Lecture Recess

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My first glimpse of White Haven Beach

This month there was Lecture Recess, which is the Australian equivalent to Spring Break.  Some friends from the lodge and I traveled down the coast by train to Airlie Beach. We stayed in a hostel for the night and the next day went down to the harbor for our three-day sailing trip around the Whitsunday Islands! Our vessel was called Habibi, and it had a three-person crew. We were the only Americans in a group of about 24 others, which was a nice change from the lodge. The first day we woke up really early and had breakfast. I hope I never forget the feeling I had, munching on my cornflakes while "Pretty Woman" played on the boat speakers,looking out over the water and turtle watching (for the record, I saw three).
    We went to WhiteHaven beach, the most photographed beach in the world, where the sand is so fine it felt like walking on flour. I wanted so badly to empty out my sunscreen bottle and bring some sand home to show everyone, but it’s illegal to take anything from the beach. The weather was a bit spotty on our trip so we didn’t stay too long at the beach, which is a real shame because the captain had told us if we swam out from shore a ways little baby tiger sharks sometimes come swim around you. He steered the boat to a few different patches of coral, where we’d get our snorkel gear on and jump right off the back of the boat. I met some really amazing people.

      Then my group caught a flight to Brisbane and we spent the night there. I think Brisbane might be my favorite city so far. Maybe it's because it’s the first city in Australia I’ve been to that isn’t geared toward tourism, or maybe it’s because I spent three days prior on a boat and this was the first of civilization I’d seen. Nevertheless it was beautiful.

          The next day we took a Greyhound bus down to the Gold Coast and Surfers Paradise and checked into a hostel there. We spent the rest of the week relaxing on the beach and trying to surf. Our first lesson we took as a group and even though surfing was a lot harder than any of us thought it would be, we had a good time trying, laughing, and choking on salt water. On Sunday we flew back to Cairns and settled back into our lives here at school.  

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