Last time I posted I was heading out early in the morning for my dive trip. The trip started out great, it was a beautiful blue sky day. We met at the office and filled out some paperwork, basically signed my life away in case of an emergency. Then, they informed us that a storm was brewing out at sea and offered us seasickness medication. Once everybody was at the office (there were only 8 of us) we got into a shuttle and headed to the airport. Then we got on a private plane for a low flight out to Lizard Island where we'd be meeting the boat. The flight was awesome, we could see lots of the reef, our pilot also pointed out some interesting highlights including a shipwreck and a section of reef that Captain Cook (I think) had hit and had to go get his ship repaired. Since it was a low altitude flight, we had to wear our life vests the entire time, that was a new experience.
Once we landed we had a short walk from the airstrip on Lizard Island (which is a national park of some sort) down to the beach. We got down to the beach and it was beautiful, perfect sand and warm water. We took little dinghies to the boat and climbed on board. We dropped our things into our cabins and met in the main living area to meet the crew. There were 5 people who had stayed on the boat from the 4-day trip, so there were a total of 13 of us and I think there were 12 crew members, a pretty nice ratio. We met the crew and did dive histories with the trip director while we cruised to our first point - the cod hole. Since I hadn't been diving in a few years, I was on the introductory dive with Steve and Stefan with Todd as our leader. We got suited up and headed into the water. Once we did a buoyancy control exercise and a buddy breathe practice, we set out to find some Potato Cod. Those fish were MASSIVE! Nearly person sized. They were also super curious and came really close to us. I got a couple of funny pictures of Todd trying to get away as one kept creeping up to him, I got another of one nearly eating Stefan's tank. After the dive was lunch and we moved on to our second site of the day. We went to Pixie's Pinnacle which was basically a pinnacle and we went round and round until we ran out of air - essentially. We started at about 70-80 feet and made our way up as we went around it in circles. This dive expedition was nice because they chose pretty small sites and let us go off on our own with our buddy(ies). We saw some cool fish and coral and a rock fish which is apparently super deadly and also happens to camouflage with the coral really well. The weather started to get rough after that dive, so for our night dive we moved to another site. Since it was my first night dive, I went on the guided dive with Charlie - a blonde divemaster chick from Germany. She got us a little lost initially and we did a circle around the boat before she found the mooring and we went down. Night diving is definitely a little scarier, although all the lights on the boat are on so you definitely know which way is up. We each had a flashlight and we found eels and fish and a really big crab. The crab was really cool, it poked out of its little cave to say hello to us. We headed up and got showered before a late dinner and after dinner I passed out. My bunk was meant to be shared with a stranger but since the boat was so empty, I got it all to myself.
At 6 the next morning the trip leader woke us up and we got suited up for our first dive of the day. We went to Steve's Bommie which was another pinnacle and started at 97ft, my deepest dive yet. We went round and round it. The top of the pinnacle was at about 15ft so we did our safety stop swimming around there. There were anemones and we found Nemo! When we got back to the boat, after breakfast we got some sad news. We were less than 40 nautical miles from where the cyclone was brewing and so the trip would have to be cut short. We spent the rest of the day and night making our way back to Cairns. In the morning we packed up and met with Dorothy from the office. She gave us our credits and then we took a bus back to our hotels.
I spent the day at the hostel because it was raining and disgusting outside. I rebooked my flight to leave earlier since the weather was bad and I returned my underwater camera. That night the hostel had a barbecue so I tried both Kangaroo and Crocodile. I don't think either will make its way into my normal diet anytime soon...
Back in Adelaide Thursday I went to Rhino Room with Jon, it was round 3 of the comedy competition but it wasn't as good this time. Friday I met with Janusz for a couple of hours and then went to the back to school barbecue
Saturday was Australia Day! The nest had a barbecue so I hung out with some people. Ric, Gunawan and Wei, and some girls from Canada who had just moved in. They were nice and it was a lovely afternoon. Then, there was the Australia Day Parade! The parade went down King William Street, the center of town leading to a big park along the river. It was a fascinating parade, it was basically a multicultural parade. Each of the international communities in Adelaide marched in the parade and waved their own countries' flags. After the parade, we followed it into the park. The park was set up for a huge concert. The opener was a winner of Australian Idol and was kind of boring and then the main act was called Potbelleez and was a guy singing while two other guys messed with electronics. He did play an acoustic song at the end though so he was at least sort of talented. It was good dancing music and the crowd was pretty excited about them. At the end of the show there were fireworks! I will always love fireworks.
Sunday I went grocery shopping finally and hung out at the nest while doing laundry. I watched part of the Australian Open with some other people in the TV room.
Monday I met with Janusz again and joined a gym. Tuesday, school started so I've been hanging out in my office this week. I've prepped for my recitations on Saturday and gone over the homework and lecture notes for the week. I also reviewed a couple of people's resumes and cover letters for Janusz, boy is their writing terrible! Tomorrow I have the official TAs meeting so I'll meet some of the people who are TAs for other classes.
No plans yet for the weekend other than my two recitations on Saturday.