This week has been relatively boring. On Monday I finally tackled my laundry. I spent $20 to do three loads, which kind of hurt me a bit. On Tuesday I had my second Drama and English classes. Both still seem to hold my attention, so I hope that is indicative of the rest of the semester. Wednesday I was back at Nudgee beach; I did the same program as the week before, but with a second grade class. Those kids were much more energetic and harder to keep track of (at least compared to preps). Kerry gave me a big sand crab to show to the kids while we were at the beach (and then release). We obviously bonded as I carried him around for two hours in a little white bucket (the crab, not Kerry). It was almost hard to see him go.
We’ve done some cooking this week as well (to accompany our viewing of The Bachelor, of course). On Tuesday night, Claudia and Carla made curry chicken with peppers and jasmin rice. It was delicious, but very spicy! Wednesday night was chorizo and pasta. I also made guacamole from the avocados I bought at the farmers market. I thought it was pretty good for my first go at it. Carla (who is from Puerto Rico) approved, so I felt accomplished.
My Thursday at Nudgee Beach was much more interesting. We did a slightly different program with the year twos that involved taking them on a boat to look at birds. I got to ride out on the boat to the launch site, but didn’t get to go bird watching myself. I made up for it by helping the kids hunt for sand crabs and looking at some of the birds around the center. I’ve been asking everyone there to tell me about the different species, and they have been gracious enough to comply. Cathy (one of the teachers) has been studying up on her birds, and was happy to tell me about the egrets we saw by the water. Amy (another teacher) told me about the birds by the center during one of the activities with the year twos. It’s a bio major’s dream out here!
On Thursday evening, we decided to go see the new movie Train Wreck instead of packing for our weekend trip. It was well worth it; the movie was very funny (but a bit racy). I almost didn’t regret not having packed when we got out at midnight. When I finally finished packing (at 2 am) I settled down for a few hours of sleep in preparation for an early morning.
This morning (Friday) we were picked up at 7:30am by the touring company that would take us to Byron Bay for the weekend. About a 2 hour drive, I was eager to get a little more sleep on the bus. About an hour into our journey, we stopped at the Gold Coast and walked the beach (pictures will go on Facebook soon). Actually, we crossed the state line from Queensland into New South Whales in our travels. Jess, Claudia, and I lagged behind the group looking for shells and rocks along the way. We returned to the bus with many riches, ready for another hour of sitting.
We arrived at the hostel just after noon, giving us an hour to get settled before our first activity. This hostel is much nicer than the one we stayed at at the Gold Coast. We’re in five person rooms, so Jess and I ended up with two other girls from our group and a boy from UQ (a uni across the river from us) named John. Luckily, there are separate community bathrooms here. He is very nice and friendly and he did try to get us to come out with him for some “roommate bonding” later in the evening.
Today’s main adventure was snorkelling. Just after one we were taken to the dive center and given a quick lesson and our equipment. I decided to buy a special bag that would keep my phone perfectly dry so I could take pictures and videos while we were out on the water. A couple people brought their GoPros, but I am on a budget. When we got to the beach, we all hopped on a small boat and we’re taken out to a large rock/reef area that I forget the name of; it was about an 8 minute ride out.
We spent an hour and a half snorkelling and enjoying the wildlife. Personally, I saw two small turtles, several sand sharks, sea stars and sea urchins, and loads on fish. It was a quaint little site that really made me want to go visit the Great Barrier Reef. By the end we were all thoroughly cold (even in our wetsuits) and ready to go back to the hostel. On the ride back, we got the special treat of seeing a couple humpback whales breaching in the distance.
After getting cleaned up and warm, we went to a BBQ put on by the hostel. The food was only ok, but it was free, so no one really complained. The girls and I treated ourselves to some Gelato later in the evening (this is becoming a habit). I got a scoop of Ferro Roche and a scoop of Tiramisu. The latter was incredible; it tasted just like the real thing!
As the night comes to a close, I’m going to read Dracula and get some sleep. I will be doing a surfing lesson tomorrow so I want plenty of energy! This weekend will no doubt be busy!