Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Honeymoon Part 2 of 5


Some of the underwater photos have been edited for color correction.  Some haven't.  Some of the photos were corrupt which meant that time I had spent editing was wasted.  You get what you get around these parts.  There are still some pretty cool photos here.


Thursday, May 24

It didn't really matter that I was jet lagged AF, I was wide-awake at 0430 and there was nothing I could do about that.  So I perused social media until about 0515 and finally went back to sleep.  Around 0745 we got up for breakfast.  I found a place that served waffles on Yelp and we walked out to explore/get breakfast.

We split sweet and savory entrees.

After a delightful breakfast, we walked back to our hotel, shuffled the stuff inside the suitcases around for our dive trip and got ready for the day.  Around 11, we summoned an Uber to take us to the dive office, where we checked in, dropped off our bags, and then proceeded to kill time walking around Cairns.
We checked out several souvenir places, as I was on the hunt for kangaroo testicle bottle openers.  We also stopped in Woolworth since I lurve walking through grocery stores in other countries.  I like to see what is the same and what is different.  We walked the esplanade, which was a water area that was at the shore, but wasn't the ocean.  It was pretty cool.  We learned that there is a serious jelly fish problem in Cairns, thus ocean swimming wasn't encouraged, thus the esplanade.  We finally decided to grab a snack at a Bavarian beer garden where I HAD A BEER.  I know, pick your mouth up from the floor.  It was a radler, so it was really half beer, half sprite, but that's the way I can drink it.. sooooo that's what I did.  After the beer garden we checked out a few miscellaneous chain shops (Billabong, etc) and we passed by a sign that advertised a massage place.  We had seen several of these signs, but I figured why the fuck not?  I asked Teh German if he was interested and explained that we had the perfect amount of time to get a massage and he agreed.  After our massage, he said, "That was a really good idea, Babe."  Why thank you, I'm here for forever.

There was a giraffe watching us while we drank our coffee.

This Stingrays fan had to get a pic with the stingray.

This is us.

I drank the whole thing!

After our massages, we headed towards the location where we were meeting the dive group for dinner before boarding.  We walked the boardwalk where the restaurant was, stopping for me to take photos.  Tired of walking around, we headed to the restaurant and hung out for a bit since we were early.  Eventually, it was finally time for our meet up (4:30) and we noticed a man with a Mike Ball Dive Adventures shirt on and other people gathered around him.  We had found our people.  The man with the Mike Ball shirt on was, in fact, Mike Ball.  Cool.  Then he insisted on putting my name tag on my chest for me.  Not cool.

We ordered dinner while we were getting briefed about our trip.  Sadly, my food came out waaayyy too spicy for me to eat and Teh German had ordered a spicy meal, so there was no trading.  Feeling like an epic douche, I brought my bowl up to the counter and explained that my food was too spicy for me to eat and I hadn't realized when I ordered it that the meal would be spicy.  The lady dismissed my apologies and told me it was no worries they'd remake it for me with no spice.  I still felt like an asshole.  Eventually, my remade meal came back out and I was able to eat it.  Thank God.

Mike Ball turned out to be super nice, but kinda all over the place, which really had me worried that he was going to be going on our trip and leading dives.  Turns out, that was was not the case, and I was greatly relieved.  After our briefing and dinner, we walked the boardwalk to the ship.  Before we boarded, we received our room assignments, then we boarded to check and see that all of our luggage made it to the ship.

After a check, we headed to the "living room" to wait for our boat safety brief.  After our brief and meeting the crew, we went back to our room and unpacked then went back upstairs to hang out.  When we arrived back upstairs, the boat coordinator asked if we wanted to upgrade our room (from a room with bunk beds to a room with 2 unstacked twin beds and a window for $100 each).  Teh German and I agreed that we would like to switch so no one had to sleep in the top rack.  After we notified the coordinator, we moved all our shit and went back upstairs to hang out for a little while longer.

By 8, I was done though, and we headed to bed.

PS.  The room switch was totally worth it because we had such rough seas the entire trip that those who were in the top bunk complained that they were unable to sleep because they kept thinking they were going to get rocked out of the bed.

Our room from the door.
Teh German's bed was on the right.

My bed.

Bathroom, where a lot of magic balancing acts took place due to the motion of the ocean, literally.


Friday, May 25

As this was our first live aboard trip, we had no idea what we were in for.  We were just going to go with the flow.  At 0630, our dive trip coordinator went through the halls "singing" his notorious "WAKEEEYYYYY WAAAKKKKEEEYYY".  Yep, that was our wake up call.  We woke up and headed up to the galley and had breakfast.  After breakfast we had our first dive briefing.

Since Teh German had never done an ocean dive before, he had to do an orientation dive with a dive master/instructor, and that was ok with me.  It really helped ease us into being actual dive partners.  The first dive is always overwhelming because you don't really know what to expect and it's all new.

We came up after our first dive and were like school kids, super gleeful and excited.  After everyone surfaced, the boat moved to another reef and we did our first dive on our own without supervision.  This was also mildly stressful for us because we're both control freaks and there is no way to effectively communicate under the water (since we didn't wear the arm slates I bought specifically for this trip, for that reason).  Nonetheless, we made it work.  After our 2 morning dives, it was lunch time.  During lunch, we relocated, and after lunch we did an evening dive, then took a nap.  There was an option a night dive at the evening dive location, but we didn't go down since the water was extremely choppy and we assumed there would be a serious current.  There wasn't.  Oh well.  Dinner was at 8, and after dinner, we collapsed into bed, completely exhausted.

Divers in the water.




There's fishies hidden in that coral.


Saturday, May 26

0630 wake up with the fabulous song.  We had a light breakfast, where I got to treat myself to hot tea with a splash of milk and a bit of sugar (a lovely overseas habit I have in place of drinking sweet tea) and cereal.  After breakfast, we had our dive brief and went on a morning dive.

As is my standard, I'm always the one with issues.  After we had surfaced and were making our way to the boat, I started to feel something odd on my forehead and my cheek... AND THEN IMMEDIATELY I WAS SCREAMING.  A jellyfish had discovered land!... in the form of my face.  I'm screaming that there is a jellyfish on my face and they can't really understand because there's waves splashing in my face and I'm pawing at my face trying to rub it off (of course, this makes my hands start to burn).  One of the staff jumps in to assist me and get the jelly off my face.  We are both slamming up against the back of the boat.

In my head I'm telling myself I need to be calm because I need to help them help me, but an ocean critter was stabbing my face with needles and it fucking hurt.  I did stop yelling and tried to be still, but the waves were really giving us a thrashing.  They claimed the jelly was off my face, but I couldn't tell because it hurt soooo bad.  They eventually got me out of my BCD and lifted out of the water.  I sat down and the dive coordinator sprayed my face with vinegar to help ease the stinging.  It was everything you could imagine.

I had been stung across my forehead and on my left cheek.  I also had stings on my hands from trying to wipe the jelly off my face.  #ThisIsMyLife  Fortunately, there was a doctor on board who had some sting gel, which she gave me.  I applied it liberally all over my face and hands.  I looked like Fiona from Shrek.


I took some benedryl at 2nd breakfast, knowing I would need a nap after.  Rather than get in 2 dives at the same site, we agreed to relax in our room (so I could nap) and then we'd go down towards the end of the dive window.  It was a good plan.  When I woke up, I felt better and not as wiped out.  We changed back into our swim suits and geared up and headed down.  I think we were both super skeptical about coming up and getting out again, but our dive went without incident, thankfully.

After changing out of our suits, we had some screen time (I was reading, Teh German was probably gaming).  In the afternoon we had another dive without incident.  There was a laziness break, and then we went on the night dive at the same site as our afternoon dive.  It was Teh German's first night dive, so we went with a group.  We saw some pretty awesome things.  Moray eels, sleeping sea turtles, fishiessssssssss, etc.  I think Teh German had been worried about doing a night dive, but after, he was super pumped that he had gone.  Hearing Teh German's excitement when he talked with other divers about the stuff we'd seen was pretty cute.

I often take some of my experiences for granted, so it's nice to see the excitement of a beginner and remind myself how cool some of the shit I do actually is.

After changing out of our wet swim stuff, we headed to the common area for dinner.  I introduced the crew to Mezzo Mix (Coke + Fanta) and then dinner was served.  After dinner, we headed back to the room to relax.  I listened to some audiobook while playing on my Kindle and then it was sleepy time.


Blue starfish made me giggle.



More Nemo

A crazy huge school of fish.


Sunday, May 27

Sunday was our last day of dives.  I won't lie, I was exhausted.  Wakey wakey was at 0630, as usual.  We had tea and cereal before heading to our dive brief.  Our morning dive was super peaceful and Teh German and I agreed that starting the morning out under the water was a pleasant way to wake up.  After 2nd breakfast we made the honeymoon official... with another nap.

We woke up from our nap for a pre-lunch dive.  After our dive, we rinsed, then checked out the ship store and purchased some Mike Ball shirts (of course, I bought a shirt, who do you think I am?).  After some down time on the upper deck, it was time for our final dive brief of the trip.

After our afternoon dive, which had to be completed before 4pm since we were flying the following day, we brought our gear to the top deck to dry, showered (as in, I actually washed my hair, in showers prior, I had just been putting conditioner in my hair and not rinsing it out (boo salt water, yall)), and went to hang out in the common areas.  Because it was our final night onboard, the crew was doing a special BBQ dinner with karaoke, which I actually participated in because everyone else was acting like pussies.  My song was "Take Me Home, Country Roads" because I knew the song, the "DJ" had the song on his phone, and the lyrics were one of 15 songs they had printed.. and with no mobile data... entertainment options were limited.  I should have just sang Hello by Adele acapella, lol.

Shrimp on the barbie.

I didn't have a luau shirt, so Minnie had to make an appearance.

Dinner took FORRREEEVVVVEERRRR to prepare.  Seriously.  We didn't eat until after 8:30 and we were all getting pretty hangry and willing to go to bed hungry.  After dinner, they wanted to show us pictures that the photographer had taken and the winners of the photo "contest" and the trip video.  It was after 10 when I gave it up.  I didn't care anymore and all I wanted to do was go to bed.  It was after 10:30 when we finally made it to our cabin for sleeps and I practically fell into the bed.

A MONSTER conch shell.

Size reference


Monday, May 28

Monday I woke up with a horrible headache and serious nausea.  I medicated and begged Teh German to put me out of my misery.  He refused.  Rude.  I finally got out of bed, knowing that I was pushing my time limits, vomited, brushed my teeth, and went and laid back in bed.  I watched Teh German throw our dirty laundry in the suitcase and IDGAF as long as it fit.  I'd reorganize it later after we were off the boat and not rocking around while I was feeling nauseous.

We went upstairs for breakfast.  After breakfast was group photos, then we took a dinghy ride to Lizard Island from the ship.  I was in just the perfect spot that I took 95% of the water that was splashed up and was pretty much soaked on my left side.  We had to wait on our air taxi (plane), so I walked down the beach taking photos.  Eventually, we had to head to the airstrip, by foot, so I packed up my camera and we all migrated to the "airport", which was a covered seated area equipped with 2 snakes in the rafters.  While we waited, I took a nap since I was still feeling like a bag of ass.

Our plane finally arrived.  Teh German was able to sit in the co-pilot seat, which was awesome since he's always dreamed of being a pilot.  I sat behind the pilot and took a mabillionty photos of the Great Barrier Reef as we flew over at 500 feet.  When we landed in Cairns, the driver returned us to the Mike Ball office where we were reunited with the luggage we left behind since we didn't need it on the ship and space was limited.

Before we did anything, I fished out some dry clothes and found a public bathroom to go change out of my wet clothing.  Dry again, after 3 hours of being wet, we fetched a coffee, then had to have the Mike Ball office call a taxi for us to get back to the airport.  /facepalm.  Had I realized we could have had them meet us at the airport with our luggage, I would have opted for that....

We opted to go to the airport 5 hours early so we could relax for 5 hours with wifi instead of poking around town and then going to airport 2 hours before.  When we got to the airport, I rearranged the stuff in our luggage to be the proper weights so we could check in.  The lady checking us in was very impressed with our precise weights.  That luggage scale was seriously one of the best investments of the trip.  Time and frustration saved!

While we were loading on the plane, we noticed 4 people from our dive trip, one of whom was across the aisle from us, which was a funny coincidence.  When we arrived in Sydney, we made it through the airport and took an Uber to what I thought was our AirBnB.  Turns out, of the 2 options for the building number, our driver had picked wrong.  We were at 52 and we needed to be at 361.  I ended up hailing another cab who drove us down the street to our actual destination.

It was another one of those, "will I be divorced tomorrow?" moments.
It was one of those, "I cannot deal with your drama AND this problem right now" moments.
It was also one of those, "I've never done this before, how should I have known" moments.

Once we made it to the correct building, the instructions from the AirBnB host made sooo much more sense and we were able to get inside without further issues.  When we arrived inside, we unpacked, I sorted the dirty laundry that needed to be washed, started the laundry, and then we went the fuck to bed.

Dive video from Mike Ball Dive Expeditions.

Honeymoon Adventures

Part 1: SC to MD, MD to Cairns
Part 2: Scuba Diving the Great Barrier Reef
Part 3: Sydney Touristing
Part 4: California (San Francisco and Sacramento)
Part 5: MD to SC

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