Friday, December 14, 2012

Sydney to Cairns

Cairns harbour.
At the crack of dawn, four separate alarms went off. Liz Calby '14, Sarah Byrne '15, Sam Schiff '15 and I all woke up ready to begin packing up our bags. Although waking up early isn't always everyone's favorite, today was an exception because we were one day closer to sailing to the Great Barrier Reef. Today our team was venturing off to a new location, leaving the Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and many of our new favorite shops behind.

Our flight to Cairns was so quick in comparison to our first flight - a mere two and a half hours in comparison to the original sixteen. Stepping off the plane we all noticed the increase in temperature and the overwhelming amount of palm trees. This trip seems to just keep getting better! What excited us all the most was knowing what these next few days would be bringing. We would be crossing two things off our bucket list including sky diving and visiting the Great Barrier Reef.

We traveled by bus from the airport to our new home for the next three days. Although I am sad to say goodbye to my original three roommates, I now get the opportunity to share a room with three others - Ellie Clayton '13, Liz Hyde '15 and Lindsay Allard '14. After dropping our bags off in our room, we quickly changed and headed out shopping and looking for fun Australian souvenirs.

After a long three hour shopping trip, Liz Hyde '15 and I decided we both deserved a trip to the pool after all our hard work. We sat by this oversized pool with a few of the other freshmen while the sun peaked in and out of the clouds. The pool was accompanied by a hot tub which only added to the paradise feel we were all experiencing.

We dined as a team at a restaurant looking out over the harbor. To top off the view, the evening fog lifted and left us with a beautiful rainbow. To end an amazing day, the team headed to a nearby gelato place, satisfying everyone's dessert cravings. Truly a day filled with travel, shopping, great food and a whole lot of fun - what more can we ask for!

Gelato - a team favorite!
Stay tuned for tomorrow's entry as we tackle the Great Barrier Reef!

Jessica Venturino '15

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This morning we left the Radison hotel in Sydney to continue our Australian adventure. The next stop on our journey was Cairns, which is home to the Great Barrier Reef. Before hopping on the bus, many of us fit in a quick morning workout, while others rushed to Pie Face Bakery before boarding the bus to the airport. Although it was a beautiful day in Sydney, we all left knowing we took full advantage of all the amazing activities the city had to offer and were eager to see what the city of Cairns held in store for us. Our 3 hourplane ride was uneventful (always a good thing) with the exception ofour attempt at creating a music video to Taylor Swift. The ride seemedshort, especially because it was our third plane ride of the trip. We are all quickly becoming quite the "jet setters" these days! When we landed inCairns we noticed the change in temperature and humidity, grinning ear to ear as the sunshine hit our faces when we stepped outside the airport. Cairns is very hot, and has more of a tropical landscape then what we previously saw in Sydney. We arrived to the Hilton Hotel, located directly on the Coral Sea and in the center of town. After quickly putting our bags in the room and changing, we all set off in small groups to explore the streets of Cairns. The group that I was with grabbed lunch at a small outdoor cafe then began our shopping adventure. Cairns is known for it's great shopping, home to numerous unique stores along their downtown area. The shopping was perfect since each of us had a "secret Santa", which we randomly selected out of hat a few days ago in Sydney. I made it mymission to find the perfect present - a gift that is not too tacky ortouristy, but something that will remind my teammate of our amazingexperience in Australia. After a successful day of shopping in town, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. Our team dinner was only a few hundreds yards from our hotel, overlooking the sea and beautiful mountains that are located beyond the water. Two long tables were filledwith beautiful girls in dresses beaming with happiness and excitement,and I was lucky to be one of them. After dinner we walked down theboardwalk in search of gelato. We were in luck and found a great gelato shop! While eating our gelato, we enjoyed the sun setting on the distant mountains. Our first day in Cairns ended with a lacrosse "chalk talk" in the main lobby, where were split into two groups and discussed many topics of the game. The coaching staff, as well as some of the upperclassmen, went over some key ideas about defense and attack. Each member of the team was focused and full of energy throughout the meeting. This truly showed how eager we all are to get back on the field! Heading to bed now, I'm exhausted, but looking forward to a once in a lifetime opportunity tomorrow at the Great Barrier Reef!

Liz Hyde '16