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Ashlee's Australia Adventure

Monday, June 15, 2009

Hello there! This will be my last blog post. Australia was one experience I will never forget. I have made memories and friends that will last a life time. This was a dream that come true for me. I loved everything about Australia but there were some things that really stood out to me. The first thing that stood out to me the most was Orpheus Island. The Great Barrier Reef was my favorite part because I got to learn about the wonderful life out at sea. Not only did I get to learn about it I got to experience it myself. Snorkeling gave me an opportunity to see the beautiful coral and colorful fish. I saw things that I might not get to ever again since there is not an ocean in Colorado. It was a little scary because i was afraid of hitting the poisonous coral or fish. The only down side of that day was I got a coral cut which i still have.

Another thing I really enjoyed about this trip was Ayer's Rock. I loved seeing the sunrise on the rock, it was an image I will never forget. The colors were amazing. Something I never realized, until I got up close to the rock, was how big it was. That rock was huge. It was like 3 times the size of the rock of Castle Rock. I noticed that one part of the rock looked like there was a river flowing down it. Another thing I liked was seeing the aboriginal paintings. Along with the sunrise at Ayer's Rock we got to meet with a real aboriginal man. It was interesting hearing the language they speak and how they survived back in the days.

The third and final thing that I really liked was the Australian Zoo. I liked it because we got to enjoy the fresh air but also learn about the different animals that live in Australia. We got to see the crocodile show and the tiger show. I thought it was so crazy that those trainers weren't afraid of either deadly animal. I don't think I could ever be that brave. Also, that day we got to feed a kangaroo which was so exciting.

Australia was a once in a lifetime thing. I will never forget feeding wallabies and kangaroos or swimming in the ocean or even eating a live cockroach and two worms. The one thing that I decided to do when I got home to change the world is to use less plastic bags. After seeing the sick turtle at Reef HQ that ate the plastic bag, it made me realize that our planet is being destroyed by the littlest things. This trip also helped me to understand the damages that are being done to our home. Although I miss Australia and my friends it's good to be home. I plan on going back to Australia someday and not only there but I would love to travel the world. That's it for now. C yaa.

A Cool Down from Work

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Day 10 started off with an early fery ride back to Townsville. I was very sad because I didn't want to leave the beautiful beach. When we arrived our group had to wait an hour before we could leave because the other group was still at the beach. When the other group finally arrived we rushed to Reef HQ. At the aquarium we analyzed our data. We noticed that there was a lot of fish in the ocean that ate DCA. DCA stands for dead coral and algae. I think that it was interesting because that means a lot of the ocean is dead. We also analyzed how many bug bites and cuts everyone had. One girl had 65 bug bites. I would have went crazy if I had that many. The rest of the day was heaven! You want to know why? Because we went shopping! It was so much fun because I was doing something I'm good at! We ended day with a nice swim and chilling at the pool.

An Underwater Experience

On Wednesday, our group spent the whole day at the Reef HQ. During the day we learned about all the different types of fish and coral. The different types of coral could be soft, massive,hard, branches, and more. One thing I enjoyed about the afternoon was the dive show. I liked seeing the diver in the tank swim with a turtle. I thought that was so cool because I think turtles are so amazing and different. One thing I learned was that coral is actually an animal. When the aquarium closed we got to go behind the scenes and have a night tour. There was saw how fish slept at night and we also got to see a sick turtle. The turtle was about 30-40 years old and was dying. I thought that was so sad. After that it was off to bed for a very very early morning, the plus side was we got to sleep in the aquarium.

The morning started off at 4:00 in the morning. I felt dead. I was way to tired to go anywhere. But I manged to get up and have a nice ferry ride to Orpheus Island. This was probably the BEST part of this trip. The island is just so beautiful. I like it so much because I don't have beaches and an ocean back home.. The air is so fresh and the sand is soft! The first thing we did was have our morning snorkel. When we got into the water I was terrified of hitting myself on dome poisonous coral. As I walked into the water I got cut on a piece of coral. The pain was excruciating. It stung so bad, but I still went on. I finally got out to the deeper part and me and Shea started to find our fishes. We had to find two butterfly and two parrot. As we were following a big butterfly fish I noticed the beautiful colors of the reefs.

After an hour or so we went and had some lunch and then it was back in the water. This time we got to go out on a boat so there were no more cuts. I actually liked it better out there because it was deeper. The deeper the better. My group finished our assignment as quick as we could. We each had to measure out 50 meters and at each meter look what type of coral was underneath the tape measure. My favorite part of the day was when we finished our assignment because I got to take of my flipper and snorkel and swim in open deep water. I love swimming so I had a blast. I had so much fun jumping off the boat into the water. As the day ended everyone was getting tired. So it was off to bed. Only think 3 days left!!! :( :) It's good and bad. C ya soon!

Go Bananas!

Monday, June 1, 2009

We started the day off with a wake up call at 6:30 and we had to be packed up and left at 7:45. We had a nice little ride to the banana farm. On the way there we got to see beautiful nature. When we got to the banana farm we were treated with a delicious snack of different cakes and pastry. Then we hopped onto a tractor and rode around looking at the banana trees. One thing that really surprised me is that a banana is actually a flower. It starts off in a leaf and as the leaf opens up the small banana flower start to grow. Some bananas can grow 10 inches long as for others can grow much much larger. After the tractor ride we went to the factory were the bananas get washed and processed. That ended our banana experience.

The second thing was take a 3 hour bus ride to the Reef HQ. There we got an introduction to what we are going to be doing the next 3 days. One thing that I was completely shocked about was the Great Barrier Reef is the size of 75 million soccer fields. How crazy is that!?! I also learned that coral is an animal, I always thought it was a plant.

Ayres Rock

To start off the day we had a 6 hour bus ride to the Ayres Rock. When we arrived we got to see a real aboriginal man. It was interesting to hear him speak because it want English. It sounded like English and french mixed. He showed us the tools they used back in the day. I got to try out the basket the women used to collect food. The women would have to balance the wood basket on their head and the digging stick in one hand and their baby in the other. After that we got to make our own dot paintings. Each dot painting represented a story. Mine happened to say that I liked being outside.

After the aboriginal experience we went back to the hotel and had a BBQ. At the BBQ I picked to kangaroo grill. It surprisingly very delicious, it tasted like steak. Except I did not like the emu sausage, it tasted gross. We all got to end the day with singing the Home of the Gum Tree song.

Sunrise To Camels

We started the day off with watching the beautiful sunrise at Ayers Rock. The sun would reflect off the rock and give it a wonderful reddish orange color. After that we headed closer to rock where we learned how the rock had changed over time. The rock has lived for so long and will for another 350 years because it is hollow. When it rains the water goes onto the rock, down the rock and makes a water hole. This water hole fills up very quickly. When I saw the rock I thought it looked cool because where the water flowed it looked like a river. After that we drove to the camel farm. One thing I learned that I was surprised about was that camels sometimes drink 100 to 200 liters of water in 10 minutes. I don't even drink that much in a day. I also learned that the camels humps are to store extra fat. Since it was raining we didn't get to ride our regular route so instead we just got to ride a little path. When we climbed onto the camel and it stood up I was kinda of freaked out because I could have fallen off. As we entered into Cairns it got warmer and everyone was so excited. The rest of our trip was going to be wonderful with the warm weather.

The Ooraminna Bush Camp

Sunday, May 31, 2009

What a day! When we first arrived at the Ooraminna we had some lunch. After lunch we learned how to make bread because I got to get my hands dirty with flour. We first mixed flour and water together and stirred it till it got doughy. Then we each took turns kneading the dough. Kneading the dough mixes the ingredients together. After the bread we were split into two groups. The first thing my group did was learn how to crack a whip. The flick of the wrist is all you need to get the right sound. It took me a while to get it but after a couple of times I finally got the right sound. I was thinking about it as whipping my brother when he is annoying. I also hit myself in the back with it which wasn't a pleasant feeling. The next thing we did was learn how to make a swag where we were going to sleep. Making the swag reminded me of making my bed in the morning. It contained a foam mattress and sheets and a sleeping bag. One thing that I did not know and was surprised about was that the less layers you wear the warmer you are. The Ooraminna was 150 thousand acres! Most of the land was red dirt and trees. The red dirt got all over everything!!

After the swags we had dinner and learned about space and the night sky. I was very surprised that the stars are not white they are actually red or blue or sometimes a yellow color. I also was surprised that the stars that are red are cooler and the blue ones are hotter. Meteor happen to be about the size of a grain of rice. I would have guessed at least the size of a basketball. At the end of the day we climbed to our swags and slept through the cold night. Unfortunately we didn't slept under the stars but we did slept outside. That's it for now, c ya!

Essential Programs Details

Duration 14 days
When May 25th - June 7th, 2009
Focus Marine Biology
Aboriginal Culture