Sunday, November 16, 2014

Finding Nemo and Other Adventures

One of the highlights of our trip to Cairns was a Great Barrier Reef excursion.  We went with a group called Wavelength which was for snorkelers. That would be us!  Here we are getting our instructions and travel plans.  We are on the far left listening intently - we don't want to be left out on the reef!

 We read that leaving from Port Douglas would be better because it is not used as much as Cairns and the water at the reef is clearer.  The reef is a little farther out - 1&1/2 hrs. in the catamaran to get there.  Our B&B was in Clifton Beach which was 40 minutes from Port Douglas so that was helpful.
 We are getting ready to jump into the water.  We used the noodles because it helped us float along the top of the water as we viewed the coral, fishes, giant clams, etc., etc., etc!  When you are old, you have to conserve your energy.  We knew that we had 2 more places to snorkel that day - we needed all the energy we could muster.  :)

As you can see, the coloring of the different corals is beautiful and the shapes vary.  Below is one of our friends who likes to be fed by the crew of our boat.  He's sort of on welfare.

Giant clams were found spread around the reef.  Our guides demonstrated how to get them to close up by waving their hand just above it.  They react to the change in light and close.  Very cool!  Many of our fellow snorkelers saw the turtle swimming around the coral.

Well, here we are snorkeling with the best of them. "Snorkeling, Snorkeling, Snorkeling, keep them Snorkelers Snorkeling, Snorkeling..."  We also tried our own underwater camera.  We are bringing the film back to the US to develop so we are not sure if our pics will turn out.  Good thing we paid the nice lady in the crew to take these pictures for us and give us a jump drive!

It's plain to see that Nemo has been found and he's still hanging out with his dad.  We have no clue what the thing is to the right.  We had snorkels in our mouths and couldn't ask questions.  You may need to google it.

The bright coloring of the different fishes was amazing.  The varieties and sizes and shapes were almost unbelievable.  Here are more examples of the shape and color of the coral which was easily seen a few feet below the surface of the water.  Our guide picked some of these up and showed us the slimy Q10 that comes out of them.  Sister Feil quickly rubbed some on her face and is already looking younger.

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming... remember, we have been sitting in an office all day long for 18 months and now we have to get out and swim for 2&1/2 - 3 hours.  Even our vacations have become hard work.  :)
We were so tired at the end of our 8 hour day on the reef.  But the creations of our Heavenly Father are just as intricate in the sea as on land.  We are now more appreciative of what lies under the water as well as on top.

Nice practice swing according to the stoic advisor!  He's ever present and a continual critic.  Out of the way you Pelican!!!  This golf day was hard work - it was very hot and 9 holes were all we managed.  We will have to build up over the winter so we can golf in the spring.  Get ready boys, we are coming home!

The view of Cairns as we drove up a mountain.  Our nice B&B hostess told us about this spot.  We could see almost the whole city and the suburbs.
We found a great place for a picnic at Lake Morris.  It's a reservoir above Cairns and provides most of the water for homes and business there.  It's in a beautiful rain forest.

Another shot of the beautiful Lake Morris.  It was a very peaceful place to eat lunch and relax for awhile. No water activities are allowed here - so you pretty much have the place to yourself.
 The next visit was to Crystal Cascades which is located way below Lake Morris.  This water flows out of Lake Morris and there are pools among the rocks where many people swim, including those crazy Americans!

Clifton Beach was very close to our B n B. So, additional swimming on our private beach was in order.  Keep in mind this is the Coral Sea - and very warm.  It felt like bathtub water, only salty.  :) Kind of like Uncle Evan's pool but with waves. 

One evening we were entertained by this flying fox (bat) as he was eating the flowers in a tree just off the deck where we eat our breakfast.
A couple from Germany also stayed at the same B n B.  Our host, Maz, is at the right.  Molly was stuck behind the camera, yet again.

Here's the view out the back of the B n B towards our private beach.  It was not far away.  We went to sleep and awakened to the noise of the waves and the birds of the jungle.

We did not even swim in the pool because there were so many other beautiful places to swim.  
So, here is our cottage at Clifton Beach.  It was very comfortable and had all the amenities needed to enjoy our stay.  There was a nice little kitchen which helped on Sunday so we could prepare our own meals.
Someone needed to write a comment in the guest book.  It was all positive, because it truly was a wonderful place to stay for a few days.  These types of floral arrangements were all through the place.  Yes, they are all real flowers from Australia.

How dare they refer to our private beach in such a manner!

This was the view from the plane as we left Cairns, heading to Alice Springs.  It was a nice last look.  Sorry for the out of order, but you know our limitations and we still haven't learned.
This is a wonderful couple we met at church in Cairns.  They have been members of the church for 41 years and served a mission among the aboriginal people.   They came up to the pulpit together, holding hands and bore a strong testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel and the great love of the Saviour.  What a great example to all.  
This is the Senior Couple serving in Cairns 1st Branch. They are from Logan, Utah.  Their mission president has moved them around to two different branches.  They had already gone snorkeling at the reef 2 times!
And here are the young missionaries assigned to the branch.  They do not get to go snorkeling. 
 There is a very nice church building to serve the needs of the members in the Cairns area.
Between Cairns and Clifton Beach we saw several of these signs, when we travelled both directions.  We have been puzzled by it and have only guesses regarding it's meaning.  Does anyone want to venture a guess?  We are certain that some of our children who correct our misspellings should also be able to explain the meaning of this sign.  :)

The vistas between Cairns and Clifton Beach and Port Douglas are simply beautiful.  Did we say how beautiful is the scenery?  How gorgeous are the views along the roadway!
You never know what you will see or meet on a trail or as they are called here, a hiking track.  This guy was posed right on the trail then made a quick run up this tree.  He made us a little nervous with his quick movements.
But our fears were overcome and we were able to get close enough for a picture while he posed.  Love this camera!

Ahhhhh! Another safe rescue of important and needed items.  Throughout the week here, Sister Feil almost lost her hat or her sunnies at least 3 times.  We thought it was a sure gonner this time but she was able to climb down and retrieve it after she also dropped her sunnies.  

We would love to help save this fig tree.  Any ideas?  We think it's too big of a project for us tiny old folks.

There's nothing like a good "selfie" on the track.  Thankfully the camera has great technical ability.  Who needs to spend money on a tripod when you can always find a convenient rock?

This strong suspension bridge held up quite well with all the people traffic.  It did get a little bouncy, but did a good job.  Sister Feil has crossed so many bridges in the past 18 months that she no longer fears them.  This past week has been busy but productive.  We are learning that our mission has truly come to an end here in Australia, but we still have lots of work to do to help build the kingdom.  We continue to reach out to all we meet in kindness and love and try to remember each day that we are representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ.  We hope all of you are doing the same.  We are grateful that baby Russell made it here safe and sound and mother and son are doing well.  We look forward to seeing you all very soon.
Just keep swimming, just keep swimming,
Love, Elder Nemo and Sister Dory

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