from one backpacker dive to the next

I wanted to get on the Taka, which is a 7 day trip that if weather conditions are good, would go out to Osprey Reef, a dive site recommended by the divemasters I worked with on OceanQuest. However, after checking with the office a few times, they still weren’t taking applications, because they said they were taking bookings 4-6 weeks in advance, only to have people cancel on them. Even with less than 3 weeks until the next available departure, they wouldn’t take me! Grr! So I decided to sign on again to volunteer on OceanQuest. When will I have another chance for free diving and great food?

I couldn’t wait around Cairns with nothing to do, so escaped the backpacker dive that is Cairns, and took the bus down to Townsville. From Townsville I’ll be going to Ayr for two nights, from where I’ll dive the SS Yongala wreck, one of the top 10 dives in the world apparently! Sort of a birthday present to myself, although it’ll be a few days late (diving on September 17).

Townsville is an even bigger backpacker dive than Cairns, and actually has me missing Cairns in comparison. Wet t-shirt contests, all night drinking parties, filthy hostel kitchens… Not exactly what I was hoping for. Cairns was a bit of a dive in that way but Townsville is worse. And there aren’t any gelato places in Townsville to make up for it!

However, the town itself is rather pretty. And it’s fairly easy to avoid the drunk backpackers, as I go to bed fairly early while they’re out partying. By the time I wake up for my morning run at 7:00, they’re either passed out already or just stumbling back from the bar, and trying to down a few more beers before bed. They don’t venture too far outside the hostel or the two streets in town that have all the pubs.

After Ayr, I’ll return back to Townsville, from which I’ll make a side trip out to Magnetic Island, which is so close to Townsville, you could practically swim there. Perhaps also another side trip to a farm stay?

After that, I’ll return to Cairns to work on the OceanQuest again, from September 25 til 29. Then off-gas for two nights before flying back to Brisbane. Aiming to be back in Canada around October 4th or so, though I likely I’ll only stick around Canada for a week… Still need to finalize my tickets.

Yongala replica – the ghost ship

Townsville

Man-made lagoon pumps and filters jellyfish from sea water to make it safe for swimming. Magnetic Island across the way

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