Cairns: Our flight arrived a couple hours late into Cairns and we had no plan, but found a great hostel that picked us up at 23:00 and we settled in for the night. It was hot, but there were several fans in the room making it tolerable. Cairns has only mudflats, no beaches so they have a great public lagoon to swim and sun around. We made use of it several times. Made our way around the first day and booked a trip to the great barrier reef to snorkel the next day. The hostel was called the Asylum and certainly had the most character of any we have stayed at yet and a fantastic staff. We shoved off for the reef at 8:00 on the 24th and spent over 8 hours on and off the boat before we were back in port. We were able to snorkel at 2 different locations and following J's getting comfortable with being in the middle of the ocean, saw quite a bit. Managed to find a sea turtle at our second location, otherwise, fish and coral and all of the amazing undersea life. Clams that were 4 feet across, quite a sight. Went out with a group from out hostel that night for free dinner and ended up singing karaoke most of the night.
We got on the OZ bus the next morning for out trip to Mission Beach. Arrived there mid day and found a nice little place called the Beach Shack. The ocean was amazingly warm here, but due to stingers (any of several kinds of small jellyfish that can mortally sting you) we were advised not to swim. We did take out the free ocean kayaks and made out way out beyond the surf. J found out that they are considerably more stable than one would think as we paralelled the waves for a bit in the breaks. Mission beach was surprisingly even hotter than Cairns, but fortunately we had air at night in our rooms.
Left Mission Beach on the 27th and arrived in Townsville to ferry out to Magnetic Island for a couple of nights. More to come following our time there.