We flew into Cairns and walked from the airport to our Airbnb. It didn’t look that far, and it wasn’t raining too hard when we started. It was only 2.5 miles and I wanted to stretch my legs after flying. We passed a mangrove and started to search for crocodiles when flies and mosquitoes swarmed and started biting me. I had to get out of there.
We walked a bit further and the rain transitioned from mist to downpour. Our packs had decent raincovers, but we got soaked. Every day after that it rained off and on all morning and night. The pattern seemed to be light enough rain to entice us outdoors followed by torrential downpour once we reached an exposed stretch of road or beach. Thankfully, we are not made of sugar.
We came to Cairns to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef, and we did not let the rain forecast hinder us. I scheduled five days thinking that would give us flexibility to pick the best weather for our snorkel trip. However, the rain was all day everyday so we just picked a day. We left the house at 6:45am to walk to the pier and we were soaked before we boarded. We snorkeled at two locations and had a great time out on the rough seas. We caught air a few times when a sideways wave hit us just right. It is hard for such a famous destination to live up to expectations. The coral was vibrant and the fish were large and pretty, but overall the reef was underwhelming. Bali and Maui have superior snorkeling.
On our walk to the market we heard howling bird noises. I looked up into the tree to see what was making the racket, and I screamed in horror and fascination. The tree was filled with hundreds of hanging bats. I looked up into the next tree and realized the whole park was filled with thousands of bats that might turn into vampires at any second. Aaron thought it was awesome. I covered my head and ran.
Cairns is not a very charming city so we tried to plan a day trip to Port Douglas in the North. Once again, the rain thwarted us by flooding the streets and forcing the closure of the roads. We spent the day watching the rain and lightning from our covered patio. I have never seen so much rain in my life. In 24 hours we had 12.4 inches of rain. That is more rainfall than Santa Barbara had in all of 2018.
We had a clear morning for our flight that afforded nice aerial views of the Great Barrier Reef.
Australia, Australia, Australia, we love you. Next stop Japan!