Australia

Roy Goes Down Under

I (Roy) did not break the camera it was sick i tell you!So i sent it to the nearest hospital.Meanwhile i took myself off to Kuredu national park which is a superb outback area now returned to the aborigines. Loads of wildlife and fantastic scenery, rock paintings, waterfalls and stuff.Darwin is a bit spooky lots of buildings and big wide roads but..... No people! just backpackers and drunken Abos....

Anyway use your imagination on the pics........

Incidently medical treatment for the camera cost a fortune so i retired to a 12 bed dorm in a guest house for the next week living on awful boxed wine, cheap beer and became known as the Incredible Sleeping Man! then it was off to catch up with that guy i left England with, wassisname....

Tony Rocks in the Desert

When I departed Bali I left the camera in the incapable hands of Roy, who promptly broke the bloody thing. I did buy a cheap, disposable camera and indeed I do have one or two good pictures of Ayers Rock.

This also accounts (at least partly) for the reason that I have no new pictures of Vietnam to add to the web page. The other reason was that I was too busy loving to actually go anywhere outside of Hanoi and I don't plan to tell you much more about that.

Roy felt that Ayers Rock was "just a lump of rock in the middle of the desert" and didn't want to go and view the magnificent scenery to be found in this region. Consequently, having arrived in Oz a week ahead of me he was forced to survive on the cheapest alcohol, killing time, while I had an Excellent Adventure at Ayers Rock.

It took me around 24 hours in the air and four transit stops to get from Hanoi to Ayers Rock, though I did get to spend a few hours with the "Arrak Boys" in Bali. Guess what happened?

I took a bottle of Vietnamese Nep Com to share with them. After we had finished that they refilled the bottle with (yet more) arrak as a parting gift for Roy and I.

I arrived in Ayers Rock a broken man. Tired, hung over and generally grumpy I was. The resort at Ayers Rock is pretty bloody expensive which cheered me up no end I can tell you. I spent a day by the pool recovering from my marathon flight(s) and booked myself on to a three day camping tour which encompassed Ayers Rock, the Olgas and Kings Canyon.

The tour turned out to be amazing. Although our guide did briefly mention that the Aborigines don't like you to climb Ayers Rock I did it as it was a hill that just had to be taken. Immediately afterwards we were taken to the Aboriginal Cultural Centre where at every turn it screamed at you that it was of the deepest sacrilige to climb the Rock. Ooops.

It was a bloody good climb though, took me about 45 minutes to get to the top. We camped out in the desert at night, which was jolly cold, did our cooking on fires and generally had a grand old time.

If anything the Olgas are more spectacular than the Rock itself and Kings Canyon was yet more impressive. I think that Roy missed out big time. Still a suitable penance for breaking the bloody camera!!!!!! "No man, I didn't break it, it was sick" .... I ask you!

Ayres Tour Photos

Far Cairns Hell Them's Sharks!!!!

It's a long way to Cairns from Ayers Rock, but Tony arrived there a day before Roy. Thanks to the usual good fortune that has accompanied us on this trip we managed to find the same guest house with no communication or prior arrangements.

Cairns itself is not spectacular although it is the hub for many millions (seemingly) of backpackers to explore northern Queensland. Strangely though, they all seem to disappear at around 11pm, leaving the town somewhat deserted and eerie. Maybe it's our deoderant. I dunno.

We did however allow ourselves to be persuaded to book on to one of the more expensive live-aboard diving trips - not to the Great Barrier Reef because "that's shit man, too many people wee on it", but instead to Holmes Reef, some 140 miles offshore.

Tony was exceedingly sea-sick on the outward journey, Captain Roy Fishy, in his element, stood on the helm, defying the elements and even managed to eat his dinner. It took fifteen hours(!) to get to the reef, most of which Tony had to sleep through in order to survive. He was pretty chuffed though as most of the other members of the tour were busy puking into the deep blue yonder. But not Captain Fishy who had second helpings of dinner. Cod in batter, naturally.

Were we disappointed? Oh no! This trip was everything we ever dreamed of when we began scuba diving. And then some. On the very first dive, we jumped in to the clean, luscious blue sea and as our heads went below the water we immediately saw a barracuda, two large (and I mean LARGE) potato cod, two white tip reef sharks and a big turram. And that before we had descended a metre.

There were 9 dives in total, three on the first day plus a night dive and four on the second also plus a night dive.

All of the diving was fantastic, but the shark feeding dive was utterly.....

utterly.....

utterly.....

We don't have the words to describe it! Mind blowing, scary, awesome, humbling and more. We shared the water with around 50 feeding sharks, ranging in size from 1 metre to 3.5 meters in length. Not satisifed with this, there were also Giant Trevally, Turram, a Barracuda, Trigger fish and loads of Red Bas. There were several kinds of sharks, white tips, grey whalers and a few silver tips. The Frenzy of their feeding was amazing.

This shark feed has been taking place the same time each week for ten years, and even before any food was lowered into the water there were dozens of sharks circling the boat, waiting for an easy meal. We bought a video of the whole trip so when we get back we can bore you for hours with dashing stories of our heroics.

The crew of our boat, The Rum Runner, were Andy (Skipper/Owner), Scott (Instructor), Richard (Dive Master) and Ruth (Galley Slave) were all superb, making sure we were well catered for and making us feel safe and assured at all times (sea sickness apart). The company is called Coral Sea Diving and we heartily recommend you give them a call if you find yourself in the Cairns region. Sod it, just go to Cairns and do this dive!!!!

Shark Divin' Photos

Now ???

Australia was too rich for our blood however, and after another change of schedule we decided to head for Mexico as quickly as possible. Sorry to any Kiwis who might be reading for not making it to see your homeland, but hey, at least you won't get bored with our diving stories....

We spent a thoroughly boring evening in Sydney, whose international airport closes between the hours of 11pm and 4am, so after visiting a jazz club in the city, viewing a movie and eating McDonalds (cheap) we arrived at the airport to find it was deserted and closed.

Intrepid, fearless travellers we made ourselves comfortable in the nearest lift for the night, and were found the following morning, banging on the doors of McDonalds to hurry and open up in order to serve us breakfast.

Mexico, next stop