35 Stops in the 24 Hours…

When Jeanette and I were doing our itinerary from Brisbane to Cairns we (well I did) thought it would be cool to take a train along the coast. You know, like along California’s coast, seeing the shoreline. We didn’t get a sleeper, probably a mistake. Even though the seats had alot of leg room, not the most desirable. I’m sure Jeanette will remind me of this the next time. Besides the 35 stops in the 24 hr. train ride we got to see the ocean 1 time. Pretty cool countryside though. The train ride itself was nice and smooth.


The train ride itself was nice and smooth.. After our arrival in Cairns (about 3pm), were out walking around town at dusk and see this big flock of black birds (we thought), I’m standing beside this lady pushing a baby stroller and ask her “are those birds?” She answered “no, their bats.” And if you want to see them during the day there nesting over by the library. These bats have a wing span of 3 ft, are called fox bats…hairy chest. Their nesting trees are slowly being taken away. Seems the bats have been in the area for a couple hundred years.

There are probably 6-8 thousand bats that nest in these trees. Wing span is over 3 ft.!
Don’t know if you can see the bats fly. They are everywhere, and at dusk they start making these loud screeching sounds before they take flight. And don’t walk on the sidewalk under the trees looking up.


Hotels are being built, cutting down the trees, cranes operate right over the trees, which in turn disturb the mother and infants. Only certain people are allowed to handle the bats. These trees during the day are full of what looks like big dark oval pods….bats all wrapped up. They’ve a movement of trying to stop the destruction of the trees.

Cairns has 2 World Heritage sites. The Great Barrier Reef, and Rain Forrest . Got to go snorkeling again, which we did when we were in the Tahiti/Moorea area. This time was a little different. Instead of beautiful white sand of which you could stand, here you had to tread water (or get a 5 ft. foam tube that kept you afloat).We both chose to just swim and tread water. Had a guy standing on top of the boat keeping a lookout for people in trouble (that needed the floating devise) or if you got to far away from the boat .

We all had to wear a skintight jumpsuit that semi protected you from jellyfish stings. Which is the season for them to be around, we were told. We both agreed that we were out in the water for close to and hour. Saw bigger fish, coral reefs, that you are not allowed to stand or touch any of it. I had gotten a small cramp in my right ankle and she had gotten one also. Got everyone back aboard Had lunch on our way to our 2nd. stop. Got here (all 57 people…told it holds 80) are back in the water.


Beautiful coral reefs, and some of the “biggest clams” found in the world in these waters. Jeanette and I both saw 4 each. One was completely open and broken apart at the bottom. I told myself I bet that thing is 2 1/2 ft wide, at least. The 2nd one I saw was open and active. The other 2 were camouflaged, covered in moss and mussels.


Truly amazing sights. Just big clams. We’re told that they close real slow. I still wouldn’t put my hand in there. Before we got to go into the water on our way out to our 1st stop they asked if anyone was interested in diving (with a tank). I would of liked to try it (slight ear problem…jeanette calls it hearing). She signed up…went to the introductory meeting. One of the requirements was to pinch your nose and feel your ears pop. She could only get one of her ears to pop. So it knocked her out of the tank diving. After all the swimming /snorkeling is done for the day and on our way back to the dock while drinking wine, she got both ears to pop.

Caught a rainbow on our way back to the docks. They probably had about 15 tour boats. Some could carry 250 passengers. Wow! That was our original choice but glad we had a 80 passenger with 57 actually on board.


On our trip into the rain forrest with 8 other people (In a van) you get to know a little bit more of them personally. I’ve always told Jeanette you will all do things together, but you will never know their names. Maybe it’s just me. I’m lousy remembering names anyway and I’ll probably never see them again. Had the Colorado couple with their adult  Had fun with him. Since Mary Jane is legal in Colorado you should figure out how this rain Forrest stuff works. Our dealings with the rain has been pure luck. Never been caught in it. Got to swim with the fish in the gorge, you probably don’t want to be in there when it’s raining. Even when it wasn’t raining he told us to be careful of the other side which has a current.

We all jumped in except Colo. mom. Even our driver/guide went in. When we stopped for lunch chicken,fish, or kangaroo. I think I had fish, Jeanette, after feeding and petting the kangaroos said she didn’t think she could eat a kangaroo steak. I don’t remember what she had.

Jeanette’s in the water. You just had to dunk yourself. Water was more on the chilly side than warm side.

What was amazing to me was the fruit (about 5-6 pieces)some sliced,other looked like a big nut. Only recognized one but they were all pretty good.


XOXO – John”

Sent 12/27/17






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