Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sydney Opera House

This is what I saw the first night in Sydney.

(not the cell phone but a toilet-I found the picture online). I think I was land sick . Thankfully it passed but not without me apologizing profusely to HeRoos for laughing at him while he was sea sick in Oregon. I had no idea how horrible it could be.

Fortunately I felt much better the next morning and we left bright and early to check out Sydney. We didn't have any nice clothes to wear to the opera so we set off on a mission to find some. Did I mention that HeRoos & I packed very lightly? We each had one carry on luggage. That's why we didn't have nice clothes OR jackets so you're about to see lots of pictures of us in the same tourist sweatshirts.

We found a mall but even with the conversion rate being pretty equal for US$ and Australian$, things seemed really expensive.

I thought this would be a cool picture so I pulled the camera out of my bag and a gust of wind came up and blew everything from my purse to the INSIDE of the parking garage. I had to find someone to open it for me. Embarrassing and not worth the photo.

We rushed back to the hotel, got ready and took a cab to the Sydney Opera House to see the Pirates of Penzance. Yay, we made it! It was a fun performance and our seats were great. By the way, doesn't HeRoos look smokin' in his new clothes?! The funny part about us scrambling to get nice clothes- there were only a few of us not wearing casual clothes! Oh well.

We walked through a market on our way back to the hotel and had some delicious food. I had chicken, veggie & pork kebabs for $5 and it was probably the least expensive and most delicious meal I had on the trip.

This was the amazing view from the top of our hotel. We soaked in the hot tub and enjoyed the view of the bridge and Opera House.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Dreams DO Come True

Something that I've been doing since I was a young girl is write wish/dream/to do lists. I like having something to look forward to and it feels good to check things off. I write them in journals or slips of paper and stash them away. I often forget about them. Some of my lists include material things, others are physical goals, and then the most difficult to attain are attributes I want to acquire & that's a never-ending process. As HeRoos and I were on a plane ride to New Zealand, I opened up a travel journal that I haven't used for a while and found one of my lists:

The timimg was perfect-we had just fulfilled one of my BIG dreams...to dive the Great Barrier Reef. I still can't believe we actually did it! HeRoos and I wanted to go to Australia for our honeymoon but he was finishing up his degree at the University of Utah and we were both working full-time so it was put on hold, until now.

We flew to LA then went on Quantas Airline to Brisbane then onto Cairns. This is my new favorite airline. The staff was extremely friendly, there was extra leg room, the food was plentiful and good. I was gitty with little girl excitement every time they delivered packages to our seats. We got our own personal zip packs with toothpaste & toothbrushes, a bag with goodies in it, headsets, pillows, blankets, popsicles and food throughout the flight and the flight attendants seemed to enjoy what they were doing.

After 23 hours on airplanes, not including ground transportation and airport time, we finally arrived in Cairns. Exhausted but thrilled to be in Australia, we ordered room service and went to bed. At 6am the next morning our wake up call startled us out of a deep sleep and we took a shuttle to the Pro Dive Shop to start our dive adventure.

Confession: not all of the pictures you are about to see were taken by us. We rented underwater cameras but a lot of the shots were taken by the Pro Divers.

This is the boat we went on and we were well-equipped with sea sickness medicine so we were able to avoid feeding the fish. It was a 2 night, 3 day trip. There were 32 of us from all over the world- Australia, the U.S., Canada, France, Switzerland, Germany, Japan. My single lady friends would've been in heaven between the Australian Air force guys and the buffed out dive pros. (Don't worry HeRoos, YOU are my dream man).

Yep, this was our luxurious sleeping arrangement-bunk beds. We're such cuddlers so it was difficult for us to sleep apart but we were still suffering from major jet lag so we made it work.

Our cabin was right by the main area & kitchen. The cook was from France and he knew how to cook for a crew.

This is where we suited up and jumped off the boat for our dives. There were 11 dives scheduled in 2 1/2 days! We were suffering from such jet lag so we slept through 2 of the dives but 9 dives was still plenty.

Before each dive, our Dive Manager drew a map of the reef in detail and told us the depths, then sent us on our way. Since we were previously certified, they didn't give us much assistance unless we asked. It was a little scary at first but we managed and only got lost a couple times.

Some of our lookouts were: Kent, Coral Gardens, Petaj, Kent Tennis Courts, & Gordons. We saw all sorts of great underwater life. Turtles, white-tip reef sharks, nemo fish, coral, stingrays, clams and an assortment of other fish. The water was clear considering it rained for the majority of our trip.


On our way back to land, we were greeted by 3 whales. It was an amazing sight as they put on quite the show. It was the perfect ending to our dive trip.