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Trip Visit Another World Visit Another World 31.03.2014   Hello everyone; friends, family and everyone else. Well first of all I need... Alexander Röder (DE)
Australien Deutschland Thailand

Visit Another World

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Hello everyone; friends, family and everyone else.

Well first of all I need to explain: I have decided to write most of this blog in english to allow most of my friends to share the experience. Nevertheless I will also write in german too, if not in the exact translation. Therefore I guess it shouldn't be a problem for anyone ;). Probably I won't be able to accomplish both language entries immediately but I promise I will try to be in time; so keep checking for the freshest updates.

As some of you know I left Germany heading for 'Down Under' - Australia, for doing a year long working holiday experience. As you know Australia offers some great opportunities in terms of exotic places, never before seen (at least for a Western European) wildlife and nature mixed with an urban and relaxed lifestyle. And due to that fact I have decided to share my trip and let you participate in what I will hopefully experience in the upcoming year. So have fun! ;)

First Stop: Brisbane. Lets go!.............. but no wait: 32h before arriving there ..... mist :P


Hallo alle zusammen.

Einiges vorweg: ich habe mich entschieden den Blog prinzipiell in English zu verfassen. Nichtsdestotrotz werde ich auch in deutscher Sprache schreiben! Dadurch haben möglichst viele Freunde und Bekannte die Möglichkeit den Trip zu verfolgen. Ich werde mich natürlich bemühen die Updates in beiden Sprachen - zwar nicht eins zu eins - möglichst zeitnah zu verfassen, kann aber nix versprechen. Daher immer schön die Updates checken ;).

So wie ja die Meisten vielleicht schon wissen, habe ich mich vor einiger Zeit entschieden nach 'Down Under' zu reisen, um ein Working Travel Jahr zu absolvieren. Australien bietet viel: herrliche Landschaften und exotische Plätze; unbekannte und interessante Flora und Fauna und natürlich die urbanen Großstädte mit coolen Menschen und entspannter Atmosphäre. Und darum habe ich mich entschieden meinen Trip und meine Erfahrungen mit euch zu teilen. Ich hoffe ihr habt Spaß beim Verfolgen! ;)

Also: erster Stop: Brisbane!...................... aber vorher noch 32h Anreise ..... mist :P

  • 31Mar 2014

    1 "...die Spannung steigt..." 31.03.2014 Deutschland —

    Zentrum, Leipzig, Deutschland

    Beschreibung

    Germany: 19:30: Departure from Leipzig/Halle Airport towards Vienna. My Plane: a Bombardier Q400. After 2h in Vienna my flight brings me to Bangkok.

    Deutschland: 19:30. Die Frisur hält. Abflug von Leipzig/Halle nach Wien. Mein Flieger: eine Bombardier Q400. Nach 2h Aufenthalt gehts weiter nach Bangkok.

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  • 01Apr 2014

    2 "Bangkok has me now" 01.04.2014 Thailand —

    Si Phraya, Bangkok, Thailand

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  • 02Apr 2014

    3 "Welcome to Brissie" 02.04.2014 Australien —

    Brisbane, Australien

    Beschreibung

    Hello,

    after roughly 32h of flight from Germany to Brisbane I have finally arrived. The flight was unspectacular lacking any inconvenient trouble (no turbulences). At 11:35 I landed on the Brisbane airport and was greatly welcomed by a friend of mine: Odette. She and some friends of hers picked me up from the airport and I set camp at 28 Young Street, 4103 Brisbane, QLD. The place is quite nice and relaxing... a real 'queenslander': the type of houses they built here in the suburbs of the city.

    After a refreshing shower we set out to explore the city. Within minutes I got a speed crashcourse of the brisbane public transportation system which greatly relies on the passengers understanding of where they are right now :D. So we strolled around Queen Street Mall, a big shopping street; we checked out the water taxis and South Bank. South Bank is a great place to be: it basically resembles a 'man-made' Beach within the city with an overwhelming view towards the city skyline! A good start into the "new" year!



    Nach ca. 32h Flug bin ich endlich in Brisbane angekommen. Der Flug war ziemlich unspektakulär... ebenso auch das Entertainment Programm. 11:35 Uhr bin ich dann gelandet und wurde von Odi, eine Freundin und Studienkollegin aus meinen Dresdner Tagen recht herzlich willkommen gehießen. Sie kam mit ein paar Freunden und anschließend sind wir in die Stadt gedüst. In der Young Street 28 habe ich dann erstmal Quartier bezogen: Das Haus ein echter "Queenslander" ist typisch für Brisbane und die umgebenden Vorstadtregionen.

    Nach einer erfrischenden Dusche haben Odi und ich uns nochmal in die Stadt begeben. Innerhalb weniger Minuten hat Odi mir einen Speedcrashkurs über alles notwendige, vor allem die öffentlichen Verkehrsmittel gegeben. Wir sind über die Queen Street Mall - eine große Einkaufsmeile - spaziert, wir sind mit den Water Taxis gefahren und haben South Bank unsicher gemacht. South Bank ist eine Strandlagune inmitten der Stadt und ist die einzige ihrer Art in Australien. Im Hintergrund erstreckt sich die Skyline der Stadt und reflektiert die untergehende Sonne. Ein guter Start in das "neue" Jahr!

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  • 06Apr 2014

    4 I have arrived... mentally 06.04.2014 Australien —

    Brisbane, Australien

    Beschreibung

    Hello everyone,

    it is sunday evening; the first 3 days in Brisbane are over and I feel a bit settled. These 3 days went by in a rush. On thursday not even 24h after landing I already had my first day in the lab. Mia, the lab head welcomed me warmly in the IHBI; the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation. Quickly I got introduced to the lab members and the facility. A nice place to work (pictures will follow soon) right in the middle of a fairly new urban district called Kelvin Grove. This working place will host me for the next 6 months.... hopefully :D

    Friday I joined the a group meeting and got introduced into a project that I might be involved in: fabrication of polymer scaffolds for bone defect regeneration... that sounds very interesting and I am pumped to see whats coming next. The same day i bought a road bike to cycle the city because public transportation is quite expensive.

    Saturday and Sunday were relaxing and Odi and I we enjoyed the South Bank beach and later the night life of brisbane, which is in one word: "interesting". Well and today I experienced my first day with rain in Oz since I've arrived. The temperatures are cooling down a bit (to 25°C) and a fresh breeze goes through the house... time to finish the day, tomorrow the real work starts.

    Stay tuned!




    Es ist Sonntag Nachmittag: die ersten 3 Tage in Brisbane sind vorüber und ich fühle mich "angekommen". Diese 3 Tage sind im Flug vergangen. Bereits am Donnerstag 9 Uhr morgens hatte ich ein Meeting mit Mia, meiner "zukünftigen" Chefin. Sie hat mich recht herzlich willkommen gehießen und mich schnell mit den Leuten und dem Institut, dem Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation vertraut gemacht. Das Institut ist klasse und schnuckelig in einem relativ neuen Wohn/-Universitätsviertel angesiedelt: Kelvin Grove. Kaum ein Gebäude im Viertel ist 10 Jahre alt. Hier werde ich die nächsten 6 Monate verbringen!

    Am Freitag hatte ich ein erstes Meeting, in welchem mein Projekt zumindest grob skizziert wurde: Fabrikation von künstlichen resorbierbaren Gerüststrukturen für den Einsatz in Knochendefekten. Das Ziel: Regeneration und Stabilisierung von Knochen. Klingt spannend, ist auch so! :D Am selben Abend habe ich noch ein Rennrad gekauft. Damit kann ich mir die horrenden Ticketpreise für den öffentlichen Nahverkehr sparen und nochwas für den Body tun.

    Samstag und Sonntag waren dann eher entspannt und Odi und ich haben South Bank unsicher gemacht. Samstag Abend haben wir James - ein echter Brisbanite - getroffen und sind durchs Fortitude Valley getigert. Die Bars und Kneipen wirken cool und sehen nach Spaß aus, auch wenn man das von den Modetrends einiger Damen nicht sagen kann :(. Tja und heute - Sonntag - sitze ich wieder daheim bei Odi und schreibe diesen Blog. Der nachmittag war ziemlich regnerisch, wenn auch die Temperaturen sehr hoch bleiben (ca. 25°C). Eine frische Brise weht durchs Haus... Zeit einzupacken und schlafen zu gehen: morgen gehts ins Lab!

    Haltet die Ohren steif!

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  • 08Apr 2014

    5 The traffic kills you 08.04.2014 Australien —

    Kelvin Grove, Australien

    Beschreibung

    Hello everyone,

    today marked my first day using the new bike. I was cycling before using the Brisbane city cycle, a very easy to handle and convenient system that allows you use and ride bikes for free within the city. However after 30 min of usage you are charged. To sum up the traffic in Brisbane: confusing... well I knew what probably everyone knows: left-hand traffic, but thats not even the biggest problem. Sometimes the bike roads just end without notice or the street just go in one direction and you circle round and round and round. After 50!!! min (I guess thats new record in furthest distance from home to lab) I arrived in the IHBI. Furthermore the place is uber-hilly so one gets a pretty decent workout while cycling to work :) Hence the way back is quite fast and spectacular thus you can easily speed down the hills and enjoy the riverside view. But be careful: you shouldn't forget to slow down... now I know why helmets are mandatory in local traffic...



    Heute habe ich das erste Mal mein neues Bike benutzt. Ich bin schon vorher durch Brisbane geradelt: das Brisbane City Cycle ist ein einfaches und bequemes System mit dem man Fahrräder kreuz und quer durch Brisbane radeln kann. Nach 30 min muss man allerdings zahlen... nichtsdestotrotz sehr geil.
    Den Straßenverkehr in Brisbane zu beschreiben bedarf es eines Wortes: unübersichtlich... natürlich war mir klar, dass hier Linksverkehr herrscht, aber das ist nicht mal das größte Problem. Das Problem sind Einbahnstraßen die im Kreis führen, Radwege, die plötzlich enden und natürlich das unglaublich hohe Verkehrsaufkommen. Nach geschlagenen 50 min bin ich am IHBI angekommen: das ist glaube ich neuer Entfernungsrekord :D. Außerdem ist Kelvin Grove super hügelig mit sehr steilen und engen Straßen. Die Rückfahrt war dem entsprechend schnell und spektakulär. Man kann die Hügel "runterzischen" und am Fluss entlang radeln... aber das Bremsen sollte man keinesfalls vergessen: jetzt weiß ich auch warum hier Helmpflicht herrscht...

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  • 13Apr 2014

    6 Wet'n Wild 13.04.2014 Australien —

    Broadbeach Waters, Australien

    Beschreibung

    Hello,

    today was a wet day! Well for several reasons:

    Firstly Odi, me and two friends of Odi, MJ and Graham went to Wet'n Wild a fun water park 45 min outside of Brisbane along the Gold Coast. Beforehand we bought a VIP ticket which allows us to go to Wet'n Wild, Warner Bros. Movie World and SeaWorld as often as we want till June 30th. But the fact that autumn is near we decided to go for the waterpark first.... well not so good idea... in terms of weather conditions.
    Secondly it was probably the day of the week with the least sun :D. And unfortunately it started raining after midday so it became quite cold, while waiting for the rides. However the rides and slides were fun and enjoyable. My personal favorite is the AquaLoop or how I call it: THE FLUSH (http://wetnwild.com.au/attractions/rides/aqualoop.aspx)!
    In there you are placed atop a removable trap door and wait for the clock to count down: 3...2...1...go! The door opens and you literally drop down into a tunnel slide in which you reach speeds up to 60 km/h!!! This even allows for a mild loop within the track. Unfortunately the ride doesn't last more than 10 sec or so :/
    Unfortunately the weather didn't change much so we left earlier. Later we went for a coffee at Zarraffa's Coffee and made our way back home. The rain hasn't stopped yet and so we sit here and enjoy the lazy evening... probably going to watch a movie.


    Heute war ein ziemlich nasser Tag und das auch in zweierlei Hinsicht:

    Zunächst sind Odi, ich und zwei Freunde von Odi, MJ und Graham in den Wet'n Wild Wasserpark gefahren: 45 min außerhalb von Brisbane an der Gold Coast gelegen. Zuvor hatten ein VIP TIcket gekauft, welches uns erlaubt Wet'n WIld, Warner Bros. Movie World und SeaWorld zu besuchen bis zum 30. Juni so oft zu besuchen wie wir wollen. ABer da der australische Herbst nahe rückt, haben wir uns entschieden zunächst in den Wasserpark zu fahren... vllt. hätten wir noch auf schöneres Wetter warten sollen.
    Außerdem war heute der unsonnigste Tag der Woche. Und unglücklicherweise begann es um die Mittagszeit auch zu regnen und so wurden die Wartezeiten an den Rides sehr kalt und unangenehm. Nichtsdestotrotz waren die Attrakationen sehenswert. Mein Favorit: der AquaLoop (http://wetnwild.com.au/attractions/rides/aqualoop.aspx) oder wie ich es nenne: der ABFLUSS! Darin stellt man sich zunächst in eine mannshohe Kammer mit Falltür am Boden. Anschließend wartet man auf den Countdown: 3...2...1...go! DIe Falltür öffnet sich und man schießt hinab in einen geschlossenen Tunnel mit eingebautem Looping! Hier wird man unter guten Bedingungen auf 60 km/h beschleunigt!!! Leider hat das Ganze nur ca. 10 sec gedauert :/.
    Da keine Besserung in Sicht war, sind wir früher als geplant gegangen. Danach noch einen aufwärmenden Kaffee bei Zarraffa's Coffee und anschließend gings nach Hause. Der Regen hat noch immer nicht gestoppt, d.h. der Abend wird wohl eher ruhig und entspannt... vllt. schauen wir noch einen Film.

    See you guys

    Kommentare

  • 18Apr 2014

    7 Happy Easter 18.04.2014 Australien —

    Coolum Beach, Australien

    Beschreibung

    Happy Easter,

    on the longer easter weekend I did my first bigger trip to the north of Brisbane, namely the beautiful Sunshine Coast. Tristan a friend of Odi has found a beautiful house in Coolum Beach where we stayed from friday to monday. The Tour started on Good Friday morning; our group consisted of: MJ, a dutch girl, Tristan, a real Kiwi living in Australia for several years, Clementine and Bastien, a french couple, Odette and me. After roughly 2 hrs we arrived in Coolum Beach. Soon we met our hosts: Phil and Cath, two very cool and funny people constantly offering their house for travelers and adventurers like us. Quickly we unloaded the cars, moved into the rooms and ate lunch. Afterwards we went to the beach where I had my first australian beach experience since 2009. The sun was great, the waves were big and the water was nice... no sharks in sight! In the late evening we went to Maroochydore and enjoyed a delicious Fish and Chips.

    Saturday morning we got up quite early... 5 am! The reason for this was the fact that we wanted to observe the sunrise over the coastline and the sun rises at 6.05 am. So no time wasted and lets go! We hiked up to Mt. Coolum a solitary 208m high hill next to Coolum beach. The hike was demanding but totally worth the magnificent view. The sun slowly rose above the see, initially hidden behind a big cloud, but soon the sun made its way through. However one thing was not so great: the mosquitos were killing me :/. After this great beginning of the day we went back to the house for breakfast and after that we drove to the Mapleton National Park and the Kenilworth vine and cheese festival in the beautiful Hinterland of the sunshine coast. Next we visited the Buderim Ginger Factory and learned all about Australia's natural Gold. We finished the day with a great self-made lasagna and chocolate cake!!!

    Easter sunday we started slowly and decided on having a big easter-like breakfast with scrambled eggs, pancakes, sandwiches etc.. Once again the weather was perfect: sunny and hot with only a few clouds on the horizon. Destination of the day: Noosa, a beautiful little coastal town in the north of the sunshine coast and a well known destination of tourists and locals enjoying the beaches and waves. Here we did a walk along the coast, watching Koalas, lizards and the perfectly blue waters of Noosa. Soon we devoured our self-made lunch and headed for the beach. The sunset was beautiful. In the evening we had a nice and delicious BBQ back at the house.

    Monday morning we got up around 6:30 because we set out to watch kangaroos in the local golf court. And indeed we saw some little grey skippers. Probably a mother with her young pup. After breakfast we strapped our bundles and left the house in Coolum. Phil and Cath were already on the beach. We drove to the Kondalilla Falls National Park where we watched the pure waters of the falls. The park is kept in almost natural shape and formed a lush green environment flooded with sunshine. After 3 hours of hiking we left the Kondalilla National Park and headed for Brisbane. On our way we stopped at several observation points which gave us view of the Glass House Mountains, named by adventurer and explorer of Australia James Cook. Here our ways separated and we drove back to Brisbane where I could finally move into my new apartment... but thats another story.

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  • 22Apr 2014

    8 My new home 22.04.2014 Australien —

    Kelvin Grove, Australien

    Beschreibung

    Hello everyone,

    yesterday in the evening I moved into my new flat. Clem and Bastien gave me a lift coming back from Coolum. Luckily Keith, my supervisor in the lab offered me a room in his apartment. It is cheap but don't get me wrong: the place is quite spacious, the view is amazing; sun in the morning, sun in the evening and living here looks like fun :), thus Keith brings a lot of his friends around for partying... or he simply doesn't show up at all :) ... but see for yourself.


    Gestern bin ich in mein neues Apartment gezogen. Clem und Bastien haben mich von Coolum aus mit dem Auto mitgenommen. Glücklicherweise habe ich mit Keith, meinem Supervisor im Labor schnell einen Deal ausgemacht, der mir erlaubt in seinem Apartment zu wohnen. Hier zu wohnen ist ziemlich günstig, aber versteht mich nicht falsch: das Apartment ist ziemlich groß, die Sonne scheint morgens und abends und hier zu wohnen verspricht spaßig zu werden, zumal Keith ständig Partygäste mitbringt... oder aber manchmal gar nicht aufschlägt :D. Da bin ich ja mal gespannt.

    See you guys and have a nice week!

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  • 27Apr 2014

    9 "Brisbane Roars vs Melbourne Victory" 27.04.2014 Australien —

    Brisbane, Australien

    Beschreibung

    Today Odi and me we went for a soccer game: The Brisbane Roar vs Melbourne Victory here in the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. Pelin a friend from the lab invited us for the game. The game was the semi finale of the A-league, the premier league in Australia. However the tickets were fairly cheap compared with any semi finale game in Europe: 30 AUD a ticket. Here soccer is rather a minor sport. We sat right behind the goal next to the 'Roars' den. As usually with events like this the atmosphere was amazing. Due to the fact that the 'Roars' team color is orange I felt I bit like in a game of the dutch national team :D. Although rainy throughout the start of the game the weather bettered soon and the game was full on. Unfortunately the game was nothing in terms of tactics and gameplay in comparison with good 'european' teams... Australia has a long way to go for the World Cup :D

    Oh yeah: Brisbane won 1:0!


    Heute haben Odi und ich einem australischen Fussballspiel beigewohnt: Brisbane Roar vs Melbourne Victory. Austragungsort: Brisbane Suncorp Stadium. Pelin, eine Freundin aus dem Labor hat uns eingeladen. Bei dem Spiel handelte es sich um das Halbfinale der A-League, quasi der Bundesliga in Australien. Und trotzdem waren die Ticketpreise relative günstig im Vergleich zu einem Bundesliga-Halbfinale: 30 AUD. Tja Fussball ist hier eher ein Randsport. Wir saßen direkt hinter dem Tor. Nichtsdestotrotz war die Atmosphäre gewaltig. Da ja die lokale Teamfarbe orange ist, hatte ich ständig das Gefühl in einem Hollandspiel zu sitzen :D. Trotz Regens zu Beginn des Spiels klarte es schnell wieder auf und das Spiel war in vollem Gange. Allerdings war das Spiel in Bezug auf Taktik und Spielweise eher einfach strukturiert und leider nicht mit einem Spiel guter "europäischer" Teams zu vergleichen... da muss Australien noch einiges aufholen bis zur WM :)

    Ach ja: Brisbane hat gewonnen 1:0!

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  • 10May 2014

    10 Diving with Sharks: Part I 10.05.2014 Australien —

    Byron Bay, Australien

    Beschreibung

    Diving with sharks!

    That was one of the tasks for the whole trip to Australia. Well so far I can say: "task achieved": In the morning Clem, Bastien, Odi and me, we headed south towards Byron Bay, a nice little coastal town two hours south of Brisbane, famous for its beaches, surfers and marine life. And this is were I successfully completed my first scuba diving experience. And as mentioned before sharks were involved... if only some 'nice' sharks.

    Actually we planned on taking Bastien and Clems car but unfortunately the ignition of the car broke down yesterday so we had to rent a car at Budget Car Rentals. After everything was sorted out Odi drove us to Byron Bay. There we went to SSI Scuba Diving and participated in a instructional course for newbies in Scuba Diving and I have to say: Scuba diving is actually quite easy and I expected it to be way more stressing and exhausting to use the full breathing apparatus. Once you are in the water the heavyweight of the full equipment is massively decreased to a bearable level. First we went to the pool and learned to feel comfortable with the gear and Hollie, our instructor showed us some important signs and techniques for communication and survival underwater. After that we set out to dive in the 'real thing' ;)

    So the gear was strapped, the oxygen refilled and we entered a bus that drove us to the beach. From there we went to 'Julian Rocks', a pair of small islands offshore and a 5 min boat ride away. Soon we went into the water and I had a quick look below the surface and suddenly I was in a different world. I have been in the open ocean before but I never really 'saw' what's below and I can assure you what an awesome sight. We descended along a moored buoy into the deep. The water was blue and the range of view was around 20-25 meters. The seabed was covered with sand and corals, all rocking in the steady current. I looked around and suddenly I saw a turtle, a green turtle. The turtle was right below me about 2 meters away and it fed on some aquatic flora. And right next to it: a dark yellowish shape on the ground; a shark, a wobbegong shark! What an amazing sight. We left the line and swam around the reef. We saw a blue spotted stingray, another huge green turtle and a long-tailed eagle ray in the distance. Various fish crossed our ways and almost everywhere there were wobbegong sharks, resting between rocks and corals. Everything felt so 'unreal' and I still can't believe what I experienced here. After 30 minutes that felt like 5 minutes we swam back to the surface :( The skipper was already waiting and he drove us back to the shore. Back at SSI we all strapped off our wetsuits and had a hot and long shower. My first scuba diving experience and definitely not the last!

    Before we left Byron Bay we had a drink at the Balcony Bar and soon we went back. Odi and me we dropped off Clem and Bastien in Stafford (where they live) and we both set out to finish the day with a little trip to Mount Coot-tha, a 287 m high peak giving us a nice view of the Brisbane urban area, illuminated in the dark.

    This day was AWESOME!



    Mit Haien tauchen!

    Das war eine der gesetzten Aufgaben für den Trip nach Australien. Soweit so gut: bisher kann ich sagen "Aufgabe erfüllt". Am heutigen Morgen sind Clem, Bastien, Odi und ich nach Süden Richtung Byron Bay aufgebrochen, eine kleine Küstenstadt, ca. 2h von Brisbane entfernt, bekannt für ihre Strände, Surfer und Meeresbewohner. Und hier habe ich meinen ersten Scuba Tauchgang absolviert. Und wie bereits eingangs erwähnt waren Haie beteiligt... wenn auch nicht die ganz gefährlichen ;).

    Eigentlich wollten wir mit Clem’s und Bastien’s Auto fahren, doch wie das immer so ist, hat eben dieses am Vorabend den Geist aufgegeben, weswegen wir ein Auto bei Budget Car Rentals mieten mussten. Nachdem das erledigt war, hat Odi uns nach Byron Bay gefahren. Dort ging es zur SSI Scuba Diving Company, wo wir an einem Einführungstauchkurs teilgenommen haben und ich muss schon sagen: Flaschentauchen ist eigentlich ziemlich leicht und ich hatte erwartet, dass es wesentlich schwieriger, anstrengender und ermüdender sein würde; aber ganz im Gegenteil. Einmal im Wasser sinkt das Gewicht der Ausrüstung erheblich. Zunächst haben wir im Pool etwas geübt und uns mit der Ausrüstung vertraut gemacht. Hollie, unsere Kursleiterin brachte uns unter anderem auch einige Techniken und Zeichen bei, die für das Überleben und Kommunizieren unter Wasser entscheidend sind. Danach ging es dann endlich ans ‘Eingemachte’.

    Wir schnürten die Ausrüstung, die Sauerstoffflaschen würden wieder aufgefüllt und wir bestiegen einen Bus, welcher uns zum Strand fuhr. Von da ging es per Boot zu den ‘Julian Rocks’, eine Gruppe kleiner Inseln ca. 5 min Bootsfahrt von der Küste entfernt. Kurz darauf waren wir auch schon im Wasser und ich hatte einen flüchtigen Blick unter die Wasseroberfläche. Just in diesem Moment befand ich mich schon in einer anderen Welt. Ich war schon oft im offenen Meer schwimmen oder baden, aber ich habe noch nie wirklich ‘gesehen’ was sich unter Oberfläche befindet und ich kann euch versichern, was für ein atemberaubender Anblick. Wir bewegten uns langsam an einer Bojenleine in die Tiefe. Die Sichtweite betrug ca. 20-25m und solch blaues Wasser habe ich noch nie zuvor gesehen. Der Meeresboden war mit Sand und Korallen bedeckt, welche sich beschaulich in der Strömung bewegten. Ich versuchte mich zu orientieren und schaute mich um und plötzlich sah ich ein Schildkröte, eine Suppenschildkröte. Das Tier befand sich direkt unter mir, ca. 5 m entfernt und nagte an einigen Korallen. Und direkt daneben; eine gelb-bräunlich gepunktete Gestalt: ein Teppichhai. Was für ein atemberaubender Anblick.
    Wir ließen die Leine hinter uns und schwammen am Grund des Riffs entlang. Wir erblickten einen Stachelrochen, eine weitere Suppenschildkröte und einen großen Adlerrochen in der Ferne. Diverse Fische folgten unserem Weg durch das Riff und überall - zwischen Felsen und Korallen - ruhten Teppichhaie. Alles fühlte sich so ‘surreal’ an und ich hab es bis jetzt immer noch nicht verarbeitet. Nach 30 Minuten - gefühlte 5 Minuten - ging es auch schon wieder an den Aufstieg. Der Skipper wartete bereits auf uns und fuhr uns schnell wieder zurück zum Strand. Wieder am SSI Hauptquartier gab es dann erstmal eine heiße und lange Dusche, bitter nötig, da wir alle kurz vor dem Erfrieren waren. Ich habe meinen ersten Tauchgang erfolgreich er- und überlebt… und es war bestimmt nicht der letzte!

    Bevor wir Byron Bay verließen, hatten wir alle noch einen Drink in der Balcony Bar. Daraufhin ging es wieder zurück. Odi und ich haben die beiden Franzosen abgesetzt und sind anschließend nochmal spontan zum Mt. Coot-tha hochgefahren. Der Berg ist 287m hoch und damit der höchste Aussichtspunkt in der näheren Umgebung Brisbanes. Von dort hatten wir nochmal einen tollen Blick über die Lichter der Stadt.

    Dieser Tag war unglaublich!

    Kommentare

  • 16May 2014

    11 NRL: Brisbane Broncos vs. Gold Coast Titans 16.05.2014 Australien —

    Brisbane, Australien

    Beschreibung

    A couple of weeks ago Bastien asked me whether I would like to join a Rugby game here in Brisbane. I said yes and both of us and Clem went to a game of the National Rugby League (NRL) in the Suncorp Stadium. The match: the Brisbane Broncos vs. the Gold Coast Titans. 31380 enthusiastic spectators watching the game, which began at 7.40 pm. The game was pretty thrilling and for a long time the Titans were dominating the game. After the first half (40 minutes) the Titans stayed ahead with 8:4. However in the 57th minutes the Broncos came back: No. 5, Dale Copley hit again and tied the score and in the 63rd minute the Broncos gained the lead and didn't let go. The final score displayed 22:14 for the Brisbane Broncos. A very interesting, agile and intense game and I am left wondering how these players do not break their necks.

    Oh and memo to my future self: the Hot Dogs in the stadium suck!


    Vor ein paar Wochen hat mich Bastien gefragt, ob ich mir mal ein Rugby-Spiel angucken möchte. Ich habe natürlich zugestimmt und so sitzen wir beide und Clem jetzt hier im Suncorp Stadium. Das Spiel: die Brisbane Broncos gegen die Gold Coast Titans. 31380 Zuschauer sind im Stadium und die Menge tobt; Anstoß um 19.40 Uhr. Das Spiel war sehr spannend und für lange Zeit lagen die Titans in Führung. Zur Halbzeit (40 Minuten) stand es 8:4 für die Titans. Dennoch konnten die Broncos in der zweiten Halbzeit an Boden gutmachen und erzielten in der 57ten Minute mit einer gekonnten Aktion von Spieler Nr. 5, Dale Copley den Ausgleich. Nur 6 Minuten später gingen die Broncos in Führung und ließen sich diese nicht mehr nehmen. Zum Abpfiff stand es 22:14 für die Brisbane Broncos. Ein sehr intensives, kontaktfreudiges und schnelles Spiel und ich bleibe verdutzt zurück und frage mich, warum sich diese Spieler nicht das Genick brechen.

    Ach und noch ein Memo an mein zukünftiges Ich: die Hot Dogs hier sind ungenießbar!

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  • 17May 2014

    12 Warner Bros. Movie World 17.05.2014 Australien —

    Broadbeach Waters, Australien

    Beschreibung

    I hate rides! Thats what I said in the morning. Well I need to elaborate: I am not a huge fan of roller coasters. I guess I missed the time in my childhood when one gets used to thrilling rides. However I told you about this VIP Pass that gives you access to Wet'n Wild, Warner Bros. Movie World and SeaWorld.
    So I paid 100 bucks for that and now I am to avaricious not to go to Warner Bros. Movie World Park. Odi and some friends of hers from the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) were joining. We took a train to the Gold Coast and entered the park when it opened around 10 am. The weather was nice and we were welcomed by Batman driving on top in his Batmobile... of course in walking pace. Hans Zimmers pressing score was thumping in the streets. From there on we made our way to the roller coasters. Initially I wasn't eager to ride anything but Odi didn't let go and so I joined every single coaster in the park... and in hindsight it was actually quite fun :D. We were part of the Justice League, fighting evil space starfish, watched stunt drives doing crazy wheel spinning; we rode the Wild West Falls Adventure Ride, we were shot into the atmosphere in the Batwing, we rode the Green Lantern and Arkham Asylum coasters and we followed Scooby-Doo on his ride in the spooky castle. And all this at high speed... well I hate rides :D


    Ich hasse Achterbahnen. Das habe ich zumindest noch heut morgen gesagt. Ich glaube ich muss dazu etwas weiter ausholen: Ich bin kein großer Fan von Achterbahnen oder Ähnlichem. Ich glaube die kindliche Prägungsphase in der man solche Achterbahnfahrten normalerweise ausübt habe ich glatt verpasst. Aber heute sollte alles anders werden. Ich habe doch letztens von dem VIP Pass erzählt, der mir Eintritt im Wet'n Wild Wasserpark, Warner Bros. Movie World und SeaWorld erlaubt. Tja und da ich ja jetzt dafür schon 100$ bezahlt habe, bin ich natürlich zu geizig um jetzt darauf zu verzichten. Also ging es heute zu Warner Bros. Movie World. Odi und ein paar ihrer Freunde vom Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) waren ebenfalls mit von der Partie. We nahmen den Zug und waren pünktlich zur Öffnung des Parks an der Gold Coast. Das Wetter war super und wir wurden von Batman in seinem Batmobile begrüßt... natürlich in Schrittgeschwindigkeit. Hans Zimmer ertönt in den Straßen und wir begaben uns in Richtung der Achterbahnen.Ich war natürlich nicht besonders erpicht darauf aber Odi hat nicht locker gelassen. Und im Nachhinein muss ich sagen; eigentlich war es ziemlich lustig und hat Spaß gemacht. Wir sind mit jeder einzeln Bahn gefahren. Wir waren Teil der Justice League und haben bösartige außerirdische Seesterne bekämpft, wir Stunt Fahrer bei wilden Verfolgungsjagden beobachtet, wir sind den Wild West Falls Adventure Ride gefahren, sind mit dem batwing in die Atmosphäre geschossen, wir sind den Green Lantern und Arkham Asylum Coaster gefahren und wir Scooby-Doo auf seinem Weg durch das Spukschloss verfolgt. Und das alles in rasender Geschwindigkeit... nun ja ich hasse Achterbahnen :D

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  • 18May 2014

    13 Queensland Museum 18.05.2014 Australien —

    Brisbane, Australien

    Beschreibung

    Today was an easy day. After a delicious nutella breakfast Odi and me we went to the Queensland Museum located at Southbank. The weather was nice and sunny so we took the bikes. The museum itself isn't very big but shows a great variety of Australian history, culture, nature and wildlife. A special focus lied on the aboriginal ancestors and their heritage as well as the experiences of Australian Soldiers - the ANZACs - in Europe during first world war. A very impressive exhibit was a 2.2m long juvenile white shark kept in a formaldehyde tank. Other interesting exhibits included fossils of various lost creatures, in stone embedded artifacts of ancient time, padded insects, birds and mammals indigenous to Australia, and models of airplanes, dinosaurs etc.. After 2 hours of 'science' Odi and I we went for a nice wine/beer and an awesome garlic bread at 'The Plough Inn Tavern' in Southbank.

    Cheers,

    Heute war ein eher ruhiger Tag. Nach einem leckeren Nutella-Frühstück sind Odi und ich ins Queensland Museum in Southbank gefahren. Da das Wetter schön und sonnig war sind wir mit den Rädern nach Southbank geradelt. Das Museum an sich ist nicht besonders groß, enthält aber eine Vielzahl an Exponaten zum Thema australische Geschichte, Kultur, Natur und Tierreich. Ein besonderer Fokus lag auf den Aborigines und deren kulturelles Erbe, ebenso wie die Erfahrungen und Erlebnisse der australischen Soldaten - die ANZACs - in Europa zur Zeit des ersten Weltkrieges. Ein besonders spektakuläres Exponant war ein junger 2.2m langer weißer Hai, eingelegt in einem Formaldehyd-Tank. Anderer Exponante zeigten unter anderem Fossilien ausgestorbener australischer Tiere, in Stein verewigte Fuß- und Fossilienabdrücke, ausgestopfte heimische Insekten, Vögel und Säuger, sowie viele Modelle von Flugzeugen, Dinosauriern, etc.. Nach 2h intensiver 'Erforschung' haben Odi und ich uns noch auf Wein und Bier und ein tolles Knoblauchbrot in die 'Plough Inn Tavern' in Southbank begeben.

    Prost,

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  • 01Jun 2014

    14 The Color Run 01.06.2014 Australien —

    Springfield, Australien

    Beschreibung

    Today was a 'colorful' day. Today I went to the Color Run Brisbane. Joining me: Odette and some friends of hers from the QBI. As the name suggests the Color Run is basically a run (here 5k) where you get drenched in colorful powder :D.

    Unfortunately the run started at 9 am and getting to the place (Springfield) was a bit of a hurdle because of two things:

    1) I had to get up at 6 am to catch a bus and subsequently a train to the place (about 45 min away).

    2) I was still a bit 'wasted' from the evening before which happened to be Keiths Birthday party... with a lot of booze.

    So I got up at 6 am, caught a bus and went to Springfield. However public transport was for free once you bought a ticket for the Run, plus a free shirt and a headband. It was funny to watch all those Color Runners with their white shirts and numbers, especially on the trains. After waiting at the starting line we began our run... and went to walking after 5 min. Most people (15.000) were walking and so it was a hurdle to run between them. Some of our group took the event seriously and ran through but Odi, Jing and me were more interested in getting drenched in as much powder as possible :D... and so we did!


    Heute war ein 'bunter' Tag. Heute habe ich am Color Run Brisbane teilgenommen. Ebenso teilgenommen haben Odi und ein paar ihrer Arbeitskollegen vom QBI. Wie der Name schon sagt bedeutet Color Run (heute 5km) soviel wie Laufen mit Farbe und genau das war es auch. Jeden km gab es eine Station bei der man vom Orga-Team in vielerlei Farben eingedeckt wird.
    Unglücklicherweise begann der Run bereits um 9 Uhr morgens und das zog einige Probleme mit sich:

    1) ich musste schon um 6 Uhr morgens aufstehen um den Bus und den Zug nach Springfield zu erwischen, aber noch viel schwieriger war:

    2) ich war noch etwas angeschlagen vorm Vorabend, der zufälligerweise Keiths Geburtstag war.... und da gab es reichlich Alkohol :D

    Also ging es um 6 raus aus der Flohkapsel und auf Richtung Springfield. Der öffentliche Nahverkehr war kostenlos, da ich ja ein Ticket für den Run vorweisen konnte. Ebenso gabs für das Ticket auch ein offizielles Color Run T-Shirt und ein Stirnband. Es war schon lustig die ganzen Color Runners mit ihren weißen Shirts und Startnummern, besonders im Zug nach Springfield. Nachdem wir eine Weile an der Startlinie gewartet haben begannen wir unseren Run... nur um nach ca. 5 min wieder auf Laufen umzusteigen. Das Areal war so vollgepackt mit Menschen die lieber liefen als rannten, dass es schwer war hindurch zu rennen. Einige der QBI Kollegen nahmen die Devise allerdings sehr ernst und rannten lieber... aber Odi, Jing und ich, wir waren eher daran interessiert im Farbpulver zu baden... und das haben wir dann auch getan :D

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  • 05Jun 2014

    15 An Evening with Prof Michio Kaku 05.06.2014 Australien —

    Brisbane, Australien

    Beschreibung

    Prof Michio Kaku is an american physicist renowned for his contributions to theoretical physics and String Field Theory. Furthermore in recent years he also made a name for himself in science communication hosting several TV shows and documentaries.
    And exactly this particular scientist was in Brisbane tonight giving a talk primarily focussing on the 'Future Of The Mind'. The event took place in the Brisbane Exhibition and Convention Center here in Southbank and was partially organized by the QUT... the university I am working for :). It was very interesting and exciting to see Kaku in person, the guy who I am watching in documentaries and even reading a book of his right now (The Physics of the Future).
    Joining me for the talk was James, a good friend of mine from the QBI. We both had a good time listening to Prof Kaku. The talk itself was made as an easygoing chat covering several of his notions and ideas for future developments in science, medicine, transportation, economics, artificial intelligence and even the human consciousness.

    To sum up a very informative event and I highly recommend his documentaries and books, although his jokes are kind of repetitive :D


    Prof Michio Kaku ist ein amerikanischer Physiker und weltbekannt für seine Beiträge zur theoretischen Physik und String Theorie. Außerdem hat er sich in den letzten Jahren einen Namen mit populärwissenschaftlichen Beiträgen und Dokumentationen in Film und Fernsehen gemacht.
    Und genau dieser Wissenschaftler gab heute Abend einen Vortrag über die 'Zukunft des Bewusstseins' im Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Center hier in Southbank. Das Event wurde zum Teil von der QUT - im weitesten Sinne meinem Arbeitgeber - organisiert :) und war vor allem in Form eines netten Small Talks gehalten. Es war sehr spannend und interessant Kaku in Person zu erleben und seinen Ideen zu lauschen, welche von zukünftigen Entwicklungen in der Wissenschaft, der Medizin, dem Transportwesen, der Wirtschaft, künstlicher Intelligenz und sogar der Zukunft des menschlichen Bewusstseins handelten. Neben mir saß James, ein guter Freund vom QBI. Es war schon cool diesem Mann zuzuhören, den man aus dem Fernsehen kennt und dessen Buch ich gerade lese :).

    Ein sehr informatives und spannendes Event und ich empfehle jedem seine Dokus und Bücher, auch wenn sich seine Witze doch eher häufiger wiederholen :D


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NbBjNiw4tk

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  • 06Jun 2014

    16 Brisbane Deutscher Turnverein 06.06.2014 Australien —

    Woolloongabba, Australien

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  • 07Jun 2014

    17 Claudi in Brisbane 07.06.2014 Australien —

    Brisbane, Australien

    Beschreibung

    Welcome everybodz to a new entry in the Blog.

    This weekend was unique because Claudia - momentarily in Melbourne - a good friend from my study days in Dresden was in town. Initially she was supposed to come to Brizzy 4 weeks ago but here flight (Tiger-Air :( ) good cancelled... for no reason. However in hindsight we were fortunate because this time she could even add an extra day because of Queen's Birthday, a public holiday in Australia. So her flight landed on saturday morning: me, Odi and Keith, who was so kind to drive us to the airport, picked her up at around 10 am. No problems with the flight this time :). Next Keith drove us to Odis place, Claudi dropped her stuff, we bought groceries for the weekend, enjoyed a small lunch and headed for the city. The weather was nice; another thing that was way better than the last time Claudi was supposed to come. We showed here around: Southbank, Queen Street Mall, the Botanical Gardens and the QUT Gardens Point Campus. We had a lot to talk about, hence I haven't seen Claudi since she left Germany in October last year.
    We spend the whole day in the city and finished it off with a nice ride at the Brisbane Wheel, a 60 m high Ferris wheel providing 12 minutes of a 360 degree view across the city.
    In the later evening we cooked some Pasta Bolognese and invited James over for a kind of house party at Odi's place. We had cocktails, beers and most importantly Wodka Ahoi :D. The dinner was delicious and the drinks ran quickly. After that we went for the Valley and headed to various bars/discos ending up exhausted and intoxicated in 'Alfreds and Constances'. I ain't remember much after that :D

    The next morning we got up groggily and enjoyed the slowness of the morning. I made some nice scrambled eggs and we enjoyed a deluxe breakfast with bread, ham, cheese, nutella, etc. The special treat of the day was a ride with the CityCat, the local ferry service. We drove from Southbank towards the Brisbane Powerhouse and took a look at the awarded photos of the World Photography awards exhibition 2014 shown there. James was joining us. Next we went for a typical australian dinner... meaning burgers and fries :D. Te weather was not as nice as the day before but we made the best out of it. We took the ferry back to Eagle Street Pier and grabbed hot chocolate/mocha/coffee and chocolat cake at the local Coffee Club. It got pretty cold actually so we went home soon after. The evening was less party-intense and we rather watched some TV on Keiths big TV screen. Oh I need to elaborate: after last night we decided to spend the second night at Keiths place so that we could go and check out Kelvin Grove the next day.

    On monday or here Queen's Birthday we took the bus to the UQ and Odi's workplace, the QBI. We strolled around, saw the longest experiment in the world (the pitch drop experiment: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pitch_drop_experiment), and took another ride with the ferry. Next stop: Westend, a nice district exhibiting various little coffee shops, bars, as well as breakfast/lunch/dinner places. Interestingly there was a book fair at the Brisbane Exhibition and Convention Center displaying a shitload of books to very small prices e.g. 1 and 2.5$ each. 2 hours in there and suddenly I have my own little library in Australia :)

    And so the day dragged on and we went back to my place. Beforehand we stopped at the IHBI and the Urban Village for dinner. Back home Claudi strapped her stuff and once again Keith was so nice to drive us to the Airport. At 10 pm Claudi's plane left for Melbourne. And so fast as she came, she left again. But nevertheless; what nice weekend :)

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  • 05Jul 2014

    18 Stradbroke Island 05.07.2014 Australien —

    North Stradbroke Island, Australien

    Beschreibung

    Hello everyone,

    today was a good day! Germany beat France in the quarter finale of the 2014 World Cup in Brasil. And the best about it was the place to watch the game: Pig'n Whistle, a supposed to be british pub in the heart of Brisbane with dozens of german and french fans cheering for their team. As you might remember due to the time difference in Australia no game is before 2 AM in the morning. Getting up so early every day to watch a game is rather unlikely to happen so I mostly watched the Germany games only. But this time was special! Keith and some friends from the lab went the pub with Odi, James, Alan and me joining. The game was a success... as most of you will hopefully know ;). The atmosphere was great and after first cheering of the french fans they went quite silent from minute 13 onwards :D.

    At around 4 AM the game was over, beers were emptied and Odi, James, Alan and me headed to catch the first train to Stradbroke Island, a sand island east of Brisbane. In the Australian winter it is freezing cold during the nights and there was no difference in 'Straddie' but as soon as we got there the sun came up and pushed the cold aside. First we had to catch a ferry, followed by a short bus ride and suddenly we were at the northern tip of the island. The sun shone, the sea was calm, no wind going and whales and dolphins were passing by. Seriously - we saw dolphins and humpback whales in the distance :)

    Some friends of ours were joining later and anfter a decent breakfast/lunch we strolled around the beach and the rocks watching and enjoynig the island flair. In the late afternoon we took the ferry and the train back home to Brisbane and as fast as the sun cam up it descended behind the horizon. What a beautiful day!


    Hallo alle zusammen,

    Heute war ein ganz besonderer Tag. Deutschland hat Frankreich im Viertelfinale der Fussballweltmeisterschaft bezwungen! Und das beste daran, war die Location wo wir das Spiel gesehen haben: Pig'n Whistle, ein britische Bar im Herzen Brisbanes mit dutzenden Fans beider Nationalitäten, welche ihr Team anfeuerten. Wie ihr ja vielleicht wisst findet hier in Australien aufgrund der Zeitumstellung kein Spiel vor 2 Uhr morgens statt. Das Aufstehen um Fussball zu gucken ist dementsprechend schwer. Aber diesmal war es besonders! Keith und ein paar Freunde vom Lab haben Odi, James, Alan und mich zum Pub begleitet. Das Spiel war ja erwiesenermaßen ein Erfolg;) Die Atmosphäre war großartig und nach vorzeitigen Jubelrufen der französischen Fans wurden selbige schnell kleinlaut als Mats Hummels zum 1:0 eingelocht hat ;)

    Gegen 4 Uhr morgens ging es dann direkt weiter: Odi, James, Alan und ich schnappten uns den ersten Bus nach Stradbroke Island, eine Sandinsel im Osten Brisbanes. Im australischen Winter ist schon ziemlich kalt in der Nacht, doch als wir in 'Straddie' ankamen kroch die Sonne hinter den Wolken hervor und schob die Kälte beiseite. Zunächst nahmen wir eine Fähre und dann noch einen Bus und in Kürze waren wir an der Nordspitze der Insel. Die Sonne schien, das Meer war ruhig, kein Wind und in der Ferne schwammen Wale und Delfine vorbei. Ernsthaft - wir sahen Delfine und Buckelwale :)

    Einige Freunde kamen später noch hinzu und nach einen herzhaften Frühstück/Mittag wanderten wir noch etwas dem Küstenpfad entlang auf und ab, welcher uns weitere schöne Ausblicke auf das Meer und die Strände bot. Am späten Nachmittag ging es per Fähre und Zug wieder zurück nach Brisbane und genau so schnell wie die Sonne gekommen ist, ist sie auch wieder hinter dem Horizont verschwunden. Ein toller Tag!

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  • 27Jul 2014

    19 P&O Cruises: Day 1: Brisbane 27.07.2014 Australien —

    Brisbane, Australien

    Beschreibung

    Sunday, 11 AM: Odi and me are entering the baggage check-in… today is the big day: we are boarding our Cruise Ship: the ‘Pacific Jewel’, a P&O Cruise Lines Ship based in Brisbane.

    The destination: up north along Australia’s coast line towards the Whitsundays, Cairns and Port Douglas.

    The Ship: The Pacific Jewel - a Cruise Ship operated by P&O Cruises Australia and one of currently 3 ships in service; a massive swimming white hotel waiting for us to board.

    After a successful and uneventful check-in the boarded the ship… an event that somehow reminded me of the boarding sequence in the movie ‘TITANIC’ … just less glamorous. Soon we got our Muster drill and headed for deck 14; the open promenade from where we could watch the ship departing from the P&O Wharf in the midst of a ‘Sail-Away-Party. A full 180-degree turn put the ship in the proper direction. We moved along the Brisbane river towards the open sea. Guiding our way: several tankers, freighters and sailboats. Half an hour later we reached the coastline and made our way up north, past Stradbroke Island and Moreton Island with the rusty but beautiful Tangalooma wrecks.

    Odi and me moved into our room on deck 6. Archie our guy from the room service welcomed us aboard the ‘Pacific Jewel’. After stowing all clothes and equipment we went for a first exploration of the ‘Jewel’: 245 m long, 32 m wide, weighing 69000 tons, 733 crew members of 32 nations and carrying 1904 passengers of 21 nations. Our captain was Lorenzo Paoletti, an Italian – we felt safe almost immediately ;).

    We strolled along the decks and familiarized ourselves with the environment. In the evening we went for dinner at the Plantation restaurant. A great variety of buffet options awaited us – very delicious. At 9 PM we went for a music trivia of the 80’s in the ‘Orient Bar’ in which we performed pretty well for a 2 brains competing against groups of 6 in average. We finished the day with a show of the Pacific Entertainers in the Marquee Theater and fell asleep soon after.

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  • 28Jul 2014

    20 P&O Cruises: Day 2: Sea Day 28.07.2014

     

    Beschreibung

    We got up at 8:30 AM. Our room did not have a window so telling what time it is was quite hard. But the alarm guided us the way. After breakfast at Plantation Restaurant we participated in an intro session about the upcoming shore tours, which we already booked in advance for both Airlie Beach and Port Douglas.

    Todays program was fairly simple: spending the time onboard, enjoy the sun on deck 14, only interrupted by show visits or trivia sessions. The sun burned hot and the pool helped cooling down things a little. One thing that popped up in my mind was that cruises are indeed populated by rather elderly people accompanied with only some younger couples and families.

    Astonishingly at 12:35 PM we sighted some humpback whales at portside. The whales were blowing clouds of air and water and jumping around playfully. Unfortunately the whales were way out of reach for nice photo snapshots.

    As mentioned before the day was rather relaxing. For dinner we went to the Waterfront Restaurant - a dinner restaurant with a ‘à la Carte’ menu.

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  • 29Jul 2014

    21 P&O Cruises: Day 3: Airlie Beach & Whitsundays 29.07.2014

     

    Beschreibung

    The alarm rang… at 5:53 AM! We had to get up so early because today our first shore tour was scheduled. We enjoyed a good and solid breakfast with the sunrise in the back, grabbed our tour equipment and headed for the Marquee Theater. Earlier in the morning tender boats were deployed to bring passengers ashore. At 7:15 AM we received our shore tour stickers and instructions and went to deck 5 to enter the boat. Next stop: Airlie Beach.

    In the harbor we swapped boats and entered the Camira – a purple catamaran sailing boat – along with 20-25 other enthusiastic sailors. The weather was beautiful: sunshine and almost no clouds. After leaving the harbor, we set sail and let the wind guide us along the Whitsunday Islands. Our average speed: 15-20 knots, our destination: Langford Island. While sailing in the winds Odi and me had plenty opportunity to test her new Sony action cam and made some awesome videos. Reaching Langford Island we got the chance to snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef. We jumped in our wetsuits, grabbed snorkel and fins and jumped in a small boat bringing us to the island. The island itself was very small, maybe 10 meters wide and only a couple hundred meters long, depending on the tide.

    In the water we saw corals, small fish and a pack of huge loggerhead turtles almost 1 meter long and 1 meter wide. Unfortunately the current was quite heavy and therefore staying stable in the water quite hard. Furthermore the floating sand was blocking most of the view. However the reef flair was beautiful.

    After around 2 hours we returned to the Camira and sailed back to Airlie Beach. A delicious lunch was served onboard. Around 3 PM we were back at the harbor and waited impatiently for the next tender boat to bring us back to the ‘Jewel’ where we could get a hot shower and ‘appreciate’ our sunburns :D

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  • 30Jul 2014

    22 P&O Cruises: Day 4: Yorkey's Knob 30.07.2014 Australien —

    Yorkeys Knob, Australien

    Beschreibung

    Today was a rather relaxing day. We didn’t book a shore tour but we were keen to go ashore and visit Yorkey’s Knob, just a few minutes north of Cairns. Cairns is the gate to the Great Barrier Reef. All tours to the reef start here. After a delightful breakfast we packed our stuff. However it took another long hour to board a tender boat bringing us to the harbor. Unfortunately Yorkey’s Knob was not as spectacular as we expected. There is indeed a beach promenade but displaying only various hotels and apartments to rent. No shops or nice cafes. But it was already to late in the day to try to get to Cairns thus we had to get back before 5 PM anyway. So we decided to stop by the beach and return to the ship early. The afternoon we spent on deck, once again relaxing and enjoying the sun.

    In the evening the watched the acrobats of the 'Pacific CIeque' performing their only on deck show of the cruise in 'Sygyzy'.

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  • 31Jul 2014

    23 P&O Cruises: Day 5: Port Douglas 31.07.2014 Australien —

    Port Douglas, Australien

    Beschreibung

    Port Douglas is beautiful and during my trip to Australia it is one of the most beautiful place I have seen in Down Under. The flair is very Caribbean-like and could actually have been shown up in a ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ movie: beautiful white sandy beaches, lush green palm trees and blue clear water. Various sailboats anchored in and around the port.

    The set foot on the harbor and were welcomed by our tour guide to join him on a tour to the beautiful Daintree River and the Daintree Forest – the oldest rainforest in the world.

    After half an hour bus ride along sugarcane farms and beautiful coast lines we changed vehicles in the Daintree Township and continued our way along the river. The riverbanks were occasionally lined with small and big crocodiles. During the tour we learned interesting facts about the origin of the Daintree forest and its unique flora and fauna.

    Concluding the river tour, the bus drove us to the High Falls Farm, where we had the chance to learn and try heaps of fresh fruits growing in the Australian wild, including star apples, black sapote – also known as chocolate pudding fruit – mangos and melons.

    A visit of the Mossman Gorge in the southern part of the Daintree National Park marked the last stop of our daytrip. A 2.4 km circular rainforest walk gave us plenty of time to appreciate the nature in all its amazing images: lush green forest, brown tree trunks, white rocks and clear water of the Mossman river, streaming quietly through the national park.

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  • 01Aug 2014

    24 P&O Cruises: Day 6: Sea Day 01.08.2014

     

    Beschreibung

    The last two days of the cruise were spent at sea. Overnight we turned the route and headed back south towards Brisbane. On our way we passed by at Willis Island – a tiny island with a even tinier meteorological station manned by 4 men only. We observed the release of a weather balloon and continued our way on the open sea. The rest of the day was quite uneventful and we enjoyed the sun on deck 14 – reading, sleeping and eating… plus occasional coffee breaks :)

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  • 02Aug 2014

    25 P&O Cruises: Day 7: Sea Day 02.08.2014

     

    Beschreibung

    Today was our last day on the ‘Pacific Jewel’ and as the day before nothing special happened. However we experienced a real thunderstorm at sea. The whole morning was accompanied by strong winds and rather high waves up to 2 meters and now within minutes after the bridge announced an upcoming severe thunderstorm the rain had arrived. Passengers were running around trying to find shelter in the restaurants or below the superstructures.

    Dark and misty grey clouds covered the sky. The rain was heavy, but as quick as it came the rain disappeared. The sun returned and so did we. We enjoyed the afternoon at the ‘Oasis’ – a sun deck located at the stern of the ‘Pacific Jewel’.

    In the evening we went to the 'Waterfront Restaurant' one last time and subsequently enjoyed another Marquee show of the 'Pacific Entertainers' called 'The Last Night Show'. The waves haven't calmed down yet but actually intensified. Watching the 'Entertainers' perform their show and not tipping over because of shaky grounds was quite a sight :)

    And so our cruise slowly but steadily came to an end: the next morning we had to get up at 5 AM to get some breakfast. The 'Jewel' was already entering the Brisbane River heading towards the harbor. At 7:30 AM we left the ship and once again felt Brisbane ground beneath our feet. What a beautiful week on a nice ship: totally worth doing once in a lifetime.

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  • 04Oct 2014

    26 Welcome to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary 04.10.2014 Australien —

    Brisbane, Australien

    Beschreibung

    Hello everyone,

    it's been a while since the last entry but now I am back and I bring some new cool photos with me ;). I officially finished my internship at IHBI and so I am now starting my vacation in 'Oz'. I am not leaving Brisbane for another couple of days so therefore I decided to do some basic sightseeing in and around the city. So the first stop said: 'Welcome to Koala Park!'

    Today me and two friends of mine: James and Alejandro went to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, a wild life zoo south of Brisbane specialized in Australian marsupials. The marsupials - among them kangaroos, koalas and tasmanian devils - are indigenous to Australia and Tasmania. The zoo is supposedly the biggest wild life sanctuary of its kind but actually it wasn't that big. However the zoo offered some nice things, such as 'koala cuddling' and an open range of gentle kangaroos and wallabies. The docile animals weren't bothered by our presence and seemed to enjoy the feeding. For a couple bucks you can purchase some food and feed the 'roos'. Well good enough for the park ranger thus they don't have to feed the animals themselves - the visitors are doing that :D. Emus and lizards of various sizes were also running around the paddock, the perfect opportunity for some nice close up snap shots (see below).


    Hallo allesamt,

    es ist schon eine Weile her seit dem letzten Eintrag aber nun melde ich mich mit ein paar neuen coolen Fotos zurück. Ich habe nun offiziell meinen Job am IHBI beendet und begebe mich nun auf die Reise durch Australien! Ich werde noch ein paar Tage in Brisbane verbringen und habe mich entschieden noch ein paar touristische Attraktionen in und um Brisbane abzuklappern. Erster Stop: Koala Park!

    Heute sind zwei Kumpels von mir - James und Alejandro - und ich zum Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary aufgebrochen, ein Wildpark im Süden Brisbanes der sich besonders auf die australischen Beuteltiere spezialisiert hat. Die Beuteltiere - darunter die Kängurus, der aschgraue Beutelbär (oder auch Koala) und der Tasmanische Teufel kommen nur in Australien und Tasmanien vor. Der Zoo soll zwar der größte seiner Art in der Welt sein, ist aber eigentlich gar nicht so groß. Trotzdem bietet er viele Attraktionen wie z.B: 'Koalakuscheln' und Kängurufütterung im Freigehege. Die Kängurus und Wallabies waren von unserer Anwesenheit nur peripher tangiert und verhielten sich super zahm und ließen sich streicheln und fotografieren. Gegen ein paar Mücken konnte man Futter kaufen und die Tiere füttern. Die Park Ranger lacht sich wahrscheinlich ins Fäustchen und freut sich, dass der Besucher gegen Entgelt die Fütterung der Tiere übernimmt :D. Weiterhin flitzten Emus und Eidechsen aller Art durch die Gehege und boten diverse Möglichkeit für spektakuläre Nahaufnahmen (siehe Anhang).

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  • 08Oct 2014

    27 Moreton Island 08.10.2014 Australien —

    Brisbane, Australien

    Beschreibung

    Hello everyone,

    today I set out to escape the urban city life and headed towards Moreton Island. For convenient reasons I booked a 4WD guided tour for 3 days but on my way to the transit center I received a call: the tourguide explained to me that I was the only one who has booked the 3 day Moreton Island Safari Tour. Hence I had two options. Option no. 1: go back home and wait for another day to participate in the tour or option no. 2: joining a 2 day tour. Well I was on my way already so I chose the obvious option. Joining the 2 day tour. So with that short-notice setback in mind I started into the trip and unfortunately I didn't get better... at first!

    We were 6 people: 5 germans and one swiss, all 40+ except me and all somewhat annoying :(. The only positive thing so far was our tour guide Andrew who was a calm, meditative and observant Australian. Unfortunately for him the group was not really willing to communicate in english so Andrew was somehow cut out of most of the conversations happening in the next two days. Therefore I tried to talk to him a lot and I gathered some interesting facts about Moreton and surroundings:

    The island covers ca. 186 square km, 36 km long and 12 km wide in the north. Moreton Island is the third largest sand island and at 280m has the largest sandhill in the world: Mt. Tempest and Queenslands oldest lighthouse is located in the north of the island at Cape Moreton.

    On our first day we took the ferry to the Island (ca. 90 min), passing the Tangalooma shipwrecks, 15 ships deliberately sunk in 1963 to form a breakwall and amazing dive and snorkel site. From there we drove to our camping site. During the whole trip Andrew drove us in a Toyota 4WD, an important issue in this sandy environment! After leaving the camping site we drove to the Blue Lagoon, a freshwater lake in the center of the island where we went for a quick swim. Next stop was Cape Moreton, the only rock in the whole island and origin of the formation of the island. Further stops were Honeymoon bay, the sandy beaches along the west coast, an old abandoned military installation used in the 2nd world war and the Bulwer shipwreck, an old barge lying in the sandy shores.

    The late afternoon we had time for private exploration of the site, so I left the camping site and heade south towards the Tangalooma Wrecks. My camera displayed a low battery charge so I wanted to make as many photos before it failed, thus i couldn't recharge on the island. The sun set quickly and enabled an astonishing view onto the wreck site. Occasionally an SUV passed by - a greeting Australian included :).

    The evening we sat around the campfire and listened to the waves and the indigenous wildlife. The Blood Moon could be seen occasionally but was unfortunately covered behind big clouds. I slept well that night.

    On the next morning - after a quick lunch with fresh coffee - we set out for sandboarding! Yes. Sandboarding. So Andrew drove us to the sandy hill in the center of the island, handed each one of us a chipboard and introduced us to the principles of sandboarding. The idea is: you get your board, walk up the sandhill and slide down on your belly using a waxed chipboard to decrease surface tension. Pretty funny but sandy :). In the afternoon we joined forces with some Day trippers whom Andrew picked up at the ferry stop and headed for the shipwrecks: for snorkeling. This particular part of the tour was my personal favorite for I always wanted to snorkel not just in a reef but in a shipwreck. And it was worth its money. The atmosphere was somehow mysterious and haunting but also very beautiful and pleasant. the wrecks were between 1 and 8 meters deep in the water and covered in plenty fish of various sizes and colors. The sun formed beautiful colors within the dark reddish and rusty structures of the wrecks. In advance Andrew gave us some gloves so that we could grab hold at the wrecks. I just tried to stay calm in the water and observed fish crossing my way. Somehow I must have been very interesting for them thus they followed me most of the time :). I also saw the infamous woobegong shark and a sea turtle. After ca. 45 minutes in the water I returned to the beach, strapped off my stinger suit and soon we moved back towards the ferry bringing us to the main land. This trip was about to end but surely there will be more to come!

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  • 12Oct 2014

    28 Goodbye Brizzy, welcome to Paradise 12.10.2014 Australien —

    Brisbane, Australien

    Beschreibung

    Sunday: today was my last day in Brisbane! After 6 months here in urban Australia I am leaving for good. The plan: to travel down south towards Sydney where I will catch up with my parents in early November. Greyhound Australia offers a great deal in which one can hop-on and hop-off at more than 15 destinations between Brisbane and Sydney. So I have the chance to explore the Gold Coast and ‘waste’ some time along coastal towns and beautiful sandy beaches. But before I do so here some of my favorite pictures of Brisbane taken in the last half year.

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  • 13Oct 2014

    29 ‘Two tickets to Surfers Paradise’! 13.10.2014 Australien —

    Surfers Paradise, Australien

    Beschreibung

    Well technically I have just one ticket but the song is catchy anyway (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYEgYVyBDuM) ☺. My first stop is Surfers Paradise, a city bursting with skyscrapers and tourists. Somehow something you wouldn’t expect from a smaller beach resort. Photos of the old days show beautiful little esplanades and shops but now everywhere you look towers of concrete, steel and glass rise above ground, constantly trying to outcompete the neighboring buildings for size and luxury. Unfortunately those skyscrapers basically block the sunlight after 4 pm and the beach becomes fully immersed in the shade, a weird side effect for a place based on sun, sand and sea. Somehow not very attractive but my plan was to use Surfers as a base camp for some local hinterland tours anyway. I spend the next 4 nights here!

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  • 14Oct 2014

    30 Lamington National Park & Tamborine Mountain 14.10.2014 Australien —

    North Tamborine, Australien

    Beschreibung

    Ever had the chance to ride in a HUMMER H2? Well I did ;). Let me explain:

    I got up at 6:45. Breakfast wasn’t served until 7.30 AM but I had no time. I needed to catch up with my tour company for a scenic hinterland tour and wanted to be in time (before 8 AM). I booked the tour on Monday but once I again I received a short notice call that I would have been the only one to book this particular tour (including O’Reilly’s Lamington National Park and Tamborine Mountain) ☹. But what happened next turned out to be an even better trip. Given that I was the only one on aforementioned tour they upgraded me into a Hummer H2 Tour. For only 30 $ more than the price of the originally planned tour and still 110 $ cheaper than the H2 safari tour.

    So I met my Tour guide – Phil, a seasoned and tanned Australian with tattoos on his forearms, fancy sunglasses and an enjoyable sense of humor – in the morning and we quickly headed to the Crown Plaza Hotel to pick up the rest of the tour guests: Marie and Toni – a retired couple from Western Australia (thus originally from the UK – as so many people in Australia). Phil was a great tour guide and apparently he has worked almost everywhere in any job imaginable. I had the chance to sit in the front seat all day and that was pretty cool. The interior of the H2 looks like a civilized tank – you think its big but the inside is actually very compact and not to mention the leg space :/. This off road monster devours 1L petrol for ca. 4 km! Think about it! 25L/100 km! Even more when you are off the road!

    So Phil drove us to O’Reilly’s Lamington National Park. The morning was quite cloudy but soon the sun breached through and didn’t leave anymore. We visited a local skywalk rising above the rainforest canopy; watched lorikeets, woodbirds and honeyeaters and had a decent cup of morning tea or coffee plus scoons. Of course I went for coffee! Afterwards we drove downhill and Phil used the 4WD to its fullest. The car was constantly bumping up and down.

    After ca. 90 min driving through the Hinterland valley we stopped at Tamborine Mountain. Phil recommended the Angus Beef Burger for lunch so the boys went for that, whereas Marie got some fried chicken. While Phil was taking a break the tour guests were allowed to stroll around the Gallery walk, a promenade on top of Tamborine Mountain offering local gemstones, jewelry, fudges or cuckoo clocks… yes cuckoo clocks!

    At around 3.30 we drove back to Surfers Paradise and used the chance for another off road tour. The money was well spent on this one ☺.

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  • 15Oct 2014

    31 Whale Watching in Paradise 15.10.2014 Australien —

    Surfers Paradise, Australien

    Beschreibung

    Another day of getting up at 7 AM. No time for breakfast; I had to get to my whale watching tour in time. The company’s vessel was located at Mariners Cove at Main Beach, ca. 1 hour north of Surfers Paradise. One hour walk! I was to cheap to get a taxicab so I walked along the beach. I made it in time for the boats departure at 9 AM an got a nice spot at the bowof the ‘MV 2000’. Helitour helicopters were constantly rising and landing right next to us. The boat left soon after and we headed towards the open ocean, leaving Mariners Cove, SeaWorld and ‘The Spit’ behind. The company promises 100% guaranteed whale sightings plus today’s waters were flat and calm so I was hoping today wouldn’t ruin their warranty.

    After ca. 45 min we saw the first whale blows. The boats speakers cracked explaining that they were most likely two adults and a young calf. Which type of whales you are asking: Humpback whales. Circa 20.000 humpback whales are moving along the Australian east coast. In this time of the year they are moving down south into colder waters of the Antarctic.

    Let me explain you some facts about the humpbacks: The humpback whale is the 5th largest and most acrobatic whale and belongs to the group of baleen whales, feeding on solely on krill and microscopic crustaceans. A dive can take up to 40 min in between breathing, whereas the young ones reach the surface between 10 and 15 minutes. Therefore we were lucky to catch up with this young calf, because the group had to breach the surface much more often. Actually the company needs to keep a distance of at least 400 m to the animals the tour guide explained. However, the course of the whales is hard to predict and of course you don’t want to cross their ways or somehow harm these beautiful and majestic animals in any way. And although the whales were far off the boat in the beginning they came way closer up to almost 10 to 15 meters off the boats bow: very magnificent creatures of the deep and definitely an awe-inspiring moment to watch them in their natural habitat.

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  • 18Oct 2014

    32 Coolongatta & Tweed Heads 18.10.2014 Australien —

    Coolangatta, Australien

    Beschreibung

    Yesterday I left Surfers paradise behind and headed for Coolongatta, ca. 45 minutes south of Surfers Paradise. The town is small but rather significant thus is symbolizes the southernmost town of Queensland. Coolongatta forms a twin township with Tweed Heads in northern New South Wales (NSW). Both towns are basically separated by Wharf Street and because NSW does daylight savings while Queensland does not you can basically travel forward in time by just crossing that street… and immediately travel back in time… Jesus Christ Doc! ☺

    I stayed in a very nice, clean and well-located hostel/hotel; the Coolongatta Sands Hotel. I shared a room with James (Jim), an American guy from somewhere in Pennsylvania… at least that’s what I have heard. He didn’t talk much and when he talked it was rather superficial. The hotel was filled with surfer dudes and weirdos. At the end of the day everybody was sitting outside on the balcony having a drink, smoking or inhaling loads of weed.

    The town was rather nice, displaying plenty of secondhand bookshops, shops with local art and jewelry, breakfast places and coffee shops: very pleasant and ideal for reading a book. The local beach was apparently perfect for surfing and the waves I’ve observed proved that fact. Plenty people were in the water trying to stand up on their long- and bodyboards. The sunset created beautiful shades and reflections on the water and allowed another photo session of nature at its best!

    I spend two nights here. The next stop would be Byron Bay.

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  • 20Oct 2014

    33 Byron Bay/Byron Beach Resort 20.10.2014 Australien —

    Byron Bay, Australien

    Beschreibung

    The Byron Beach Resort is incredibly cool. The place is quiet, 50 m from the beach, open spaces in between tree trunks and several hammocks and couches to chill and enjoy the breeze running through the site. I planned to spend 3 nights here but after the first day I decided to extend my stay for another 2 nights: this place is perfect! Many people live here, either permanently or for just a short time like me and all are rather nice and pleasant to meet and talk to.

    Our resort is ca. 20 min further up the beach and not directly next to the town center. However, the town can be reached quite easily and a bus shuttle runs every 2 hours. On my first day Claire, an English girl from London I met here at the resort and me strolled along the beach towards Byron Bay. I went up to Cape Byron, the easternmost point of Australia and the Byron Bay Lighthouse, watching the sunset… an hour later than in Queensland where I’ve just been the day before.

    The following days I spend mostly on the beach or in the hammock reading. I met two Germans… of course!: Nora and Gregor. We spend some time together; hanging out on the beach and going for a drink at the end of the days. Byron is nice to see but except beach life, surfing and binge drinking is not much going on. After 5 lovely days in the Byron Beach Resort I am keen to get to another place: Port Macquarie.

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  • 26Oct 2014

    34 Port Macquarie 26.10.2014 Australien —

    Port Macquarie, Australien

    Beschreibung

    Two days ago I landed in Port Macquarie a former military base in New South Wales, a penal station and long time home of convicts of the British Empire. Nowadays Port Macquarie is a beautiful coastal town combining the British colonial style and modern Australian urban development. The coast consists of several separate beaches that stretch more than 8 km down south to the Tacking Point Lighthouse. A coastal walk connects all those beaches and runs through dry bushes and mangroves as well as sandy shores and rocky monoliths rising above the water. Some of those rocks are more than 465 million years old, displaying earth’s geological history for everyone to touch: the only site in the world with rocks that old.
    So I did the walk! The sun was hot and no clouds for miles. I was drenched in sweat when I arrived at the Lighthouse but the view was worth it. In between I stopped at the Sea Acres Rainforest center and went for lunch and a small stroll. On my way back I decided to leave the beaches behind and have a look in the town. The town is nice but rather small. Unfortunately at around 4 pm almost all coffee shops are closed (or at least I couldn’t find one that was still open ☹ ) so I had to skip my ‘Afternoon Flat White’ and headed back to the Hostel. Here I could brew a decent mug and relax in the hammock. I went to bed early because I needed to get up at 5:30: why? Because I wanted to surf in the sunrise!

    So the alarm went on at 5:30. No snoozing time so I got up and got coffee. Richard, the hostel manager and hobby surfer took me and some other fellas to the local ‘Flynns Beach’. Here we could test and try to surf. I have to admit surfing is pretty cool. The techniques required are rather trivial but getting used to the water and balance yourself on the board is tricky. So I stood maybe 3 or 4 times, one time quite well but most often the wave caught me and washed me ashore rather than surfing on it. But it was worth trying and the sunrise contributed to my motivation. Plus: we saw a dolphin quite close to the beach ☺.

    After a serious breakfast back at the hostel I went to the local Food market and enjoyed a wrap and an iced coffee. In the afternoon I strolled to the Koala Hospital in the town center – the only one o its kind in the world. The hospital is entirely based on donations and local helpers work voluntarily. Sheena (the tour guide) gave a tour around and excitingly explained about the Koala: the biology, habitat, diseases, threats and treatment strategies carried out by the veterinaries. Once again I had a glimpse at those unique and cute if somewhat fluffy animals ☺.

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  • 27Oct 2014

    35 Kayak Tour 27.10.2014 Australien —

    Port Macquarie, Australien

    Beschreibung

    Today I was set to left Port Macquarie and head for Newcastle. However, before I leave I wanted to join in a Kayak Tour at the local creek. Mark, our tour guide was another Australian weirdo but nevertheless funny and smart witted. Me and 7 other guys from the hostel teamed up in pairs and followed his kayak in fast paced paddle strokes. Mark led us through low hanging mangrove trees and shallow waters right in the town center. Attracted by bananas various water dragons hopped aboard and allowed us to have a closer look at them. Zillions of fruit bats were flying overhead; disturbed by the noises those weird little fellas in their tiny boats did ☺!

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  • 28Oct 2014

    36 Newcastle 28.10.2014 Australien —

    Newcastle, Australien

    Beschreibung

    Newcastle is nice… this city is supposedly the second largest urban area in NSW. However, it is rather small and is somewhat boring. Don’t get me wrong, the city is nicely located at the sea with beautiful sandy beaches and lots of rocky cliffs but it doens’t really offer much for sightseeing. I basically covered all the important stuff within one day and the ‘trendy’ streets (Darby and Hunter Street) are not as spectacular as the locals try to make you believe. Well there were indeed some cool coffee shops (Ground Floor! at Hunter Street corner Newcomen Street) and secondhand book shops but not plenty of them. Hence I decided to go to Port Stephens the upcoming day.

    Port Stephens is really beautiful: another coastal area with sandy beaches and rocky hills. I took the 8:10 AM bus from Newcastle to Fingal Bay. The bus driver kindly reminded me that Fingal Bay is basically a beach with nothing else to it so he waited 10 min (he had to wait anyway) and took me back to Shoal Bay. I got off there and climbed up the Tamoree Head mountain. This mountain of 161 m height allows a 360-degree view around the bay area: Shoal Bay, Nelson Bay, the ocean and Point Stephens. Remnants of old gun turrets to defend Australia against enemy forces can still be found within the hillside forests. Before I returned to Newcastle I visited Nelson Bay and enjoyed a delicious Lunch at the local marina and spotted a dolphin not even 3 meters away in the waters.

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  • 31Oct 2014

    37 Sydney: Part I 31.10.2014 Australien —

    Sydney, Australien

    Beschreibung

    Sydney – oldest and biggest city of the red continent. January 26, 1788: Arthur Phillip, captain of the First Fleet arrives in Port Jackson and founds a British convict settlement at Sydney cove – named after the British minister of the interior Thomas Townshend, Lord Sydney. This event – celebrated each year ever since – marks the beginning of European settlement in Australia.

    And now, over 220 years later I am here at the tip of Bennelong point gazing at the Sydney Opera House. Sydney is an incredible and spectacular city that keeps changing and changing; and looking at its history everything here has grown within the last decades. Old photos display a totally different city than it is now: no Harbor Bridge, no Opera House, no skyscrapers - no metropolis at all. But in the 20th and 21st century things have changed. Sydney is currently most populated city in Australia and – next to the outback - embodies the image of Australia throughout the world.

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  • 03Nov 2014

    38 Sydney: Part II 03.11.2014 Australien —

    Sydney, Australien

    Beschreibung

    Last night I left the hostel and headed for Kingsford Smith International Airport Sydney. My parents were expected to land at 6 AM the next morning so I thought I could easily spend the night at the airport… ah wishful thinking. At around 12 AM a kind staff member of the airport kicked me out because of a regular service lockdown between 12 AM and 3 AM. So what did I do? Well I went outside and sat on a park bench close to the airport. Thankfully I charged my Mac so I was able to watch some movies. 2 hours later I returned into the warm and comfy airport… well comfy might be exaggerated. However, at 6 AM my parents were supposed to land so no reason to be upset. Of course the flight was delayed 2 hours and with all the unloading (my parents travelled in an Airbus A380) it took another 90 minutes before they entered the pick up area. The next 3 weeks are gonna be nice ☺.

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  • 10Nov 2014

    39 Outback: the real deal! 10.11.2014 Australien —

    Uluṟu, Australien

    Beschreibung

    In the morning we left Sydney and caught a flight to the ‘red center’ – the infamous Outback of Australia. A dry, hot, sandy and reddish plain of nothingness - occasionally highlighted by rocky formations such as the McDonnell Ranges, Kata-Tutja and the world famous Uluru. We will spend the next week here before heading to Melbourne. We landed in Yulara, a tiny resort next to Uluru. AAT Kings was our responsible tour company for the next 5 days and they did their job well. The outside temperatures throughout the week exceeded the 40s up to 45 degrees on the open plain. After a couple minutes in the resort we drove to Kata-Tutja for the afternoon and then enjoyed a sunset at Uluru with wine, champagne and snacks alongside 150 other people from around the world – all here just for a red ‘Rock’.

    The next morning we observed the sunrise at the same spot and headed to the Kings Canyon Resort the same afternoon. Everything was scheduled rather easy so we were in no rush to get from one spot to the next within only a few hours. The evening we spent in the pool of the resort. In coming the morning we were hiking up the Kings Canyon, a mountain range that reminded me a lot of the Grand Canyon in terms of rock formations and random bushes. However, everything here glows in red colors.

    Wednesday and Thursday we spent in Alice Springs and explored the local highlights such as kangaroo and crocodile steak, the ‘Royal Flying Doctor Service’ or the ‘Alice Springs School of the Air’.

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  • 14Nov 2014

    40 Back to civilization 14.11.2014 Australien —

    Melbourne, Australien

    Beschreibung

    Today we left Alice Springs and flew back into a more civilized area named Melbourne in the state Victoria. Short distances but various landscapes characterize Victoria - covering only 3 percent of the overall landmass of Australia: waves, forests and mountain ranges lie closely together. 2 hours flight passed by very quickly and after 4 days of 40 or more degrees we suddenly entered the realms of chilling 20 degrees… I was not prepared for this :/. Throughout the next couple of days Melbourne would show its rather wet, cold and misty side; what a difference to other Australian places I have been before. Nevertheless Melbourne displays a unique mix of modern metropolis and commonwealth architecture. 1835: John Batman establishes a settlement on the banks of the Yarra River, which soon turned into a bustling city. 16 years later Melbourne became the capital of the newly founded state of Victoria. Buildings of varying size and forms shape the city image. Some buildings and places somehow even remind me of the skyscrapers of New York City… if not as impressive though. Here in the heart of Victoria the last week of our family trip has begun: we visited the Sea Life Aquarium and observed a large 5 meter crocodile; we discovered the CBD with the Circle Tram Line No. 35, we went sky high atop the Eureka Tower – named after the Eureka Stockade in 1854; we strolled along the promenades of Acland Street in St Kilda, saw the colorful bathing boxes of Brighton and drove along the Great Ocean Road at the southern coast line of Victoria to see the impressive profile of the 12 Apostels rising along the shore.

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  • 19Nov 2014

    41 Great Ocean Road 19.11.2014 Australien —

    Lavers Hill, Australien

    Beschreibung

    As mentioned earlier, my parents and me we set out in a tour to visit the Great Ocean Road. Every tour guide and travel companion insists you in seeing this marvel of nature and we didn’t even slightly think on missing out on that. So we booked a trip with a local sightseeing company and left on Wednesday morning quite early. The group consisted of 12 to 16 people (I can’t remember anymore :P) and Tom our tour guide made the trip for us quite comfortable from the very beginning. After we left Melbourne and drove for around an hour we started with a light breakfast with coffee (or tea for the brits) and enjoyed the first view upon the beaches of southern Victoria. The gateway to the actual Great Ocean Road was another hour drive so we went back into the bus and enjoyed the views along the way. The lady from the tour desk in the visitor center where we booked the trip recommended to sit on the left side of the bus to fully appreciate the views and so I did. The weather was just beautiful: sunny, warm and almost no clouds – the best day in this particular week. At Apollo Bay we enjoyed ourselves with splendid lunch and soon after we would be awarded with our first look at the 12 Apostels in Port Campbell National Park.

    The 12 Apostels are natural rocks protruding from the water in small distance from the main cliff. In ancient times these rocks were connected with the mainland but constant erosion through wind and water of the Southern Ocean cut the rocks into their present shape. Interestingly the 12 Apostels were originally just ‘9’ rocks and the name was given for no obvious reason. Additionally one of the rocks collapsed in 2005 so now there are technically only 8 rocks left! So we stopped at the visitor center (yes there is a huge car park and a visitor center… so no quiet joy) and headed for the 12 Apostels, which can be seen from various observation platforms. Later we climbed down the Loch Ard Gorge as well as the Gibson Steps. The sun colored the beige sandstone in various shades of yellow, highlighting every rocky feature atop the dark blue water. Definitely one of the highlights of this trip both for me and especially for Mom and Pops!

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  • 22Nov 2014

    42 Melville Street, Melbourne 22.11.2014 Australien —

    Melbourne, Australien

    Beschreibung

    From now on I am officially living at a friends place: Claudia, a friend and former schoolmate from Dresden. She lives in Melbourne already for over a year and offered me to stay at her apartment along with her flat mates: Sophie, Beck and Craig. My parents left Melbourne a day ago and I once again was on myself travelling. However, meeting up with Claudia and her roommates was a fortunate event. All of them are very nice and friendly as well as funny. Bec and Sophie are schoolteachers and Craig is currently finishing his photography degree. They were, obviously, working all day so I was basically alone in the apartment. Hence I started walking around Brunswick and Fitzroy – the local city districts of Melbourne. Brunswick Street is a bustling street with diners, pubs, little coffee places and various shops – one of Melbourne’s hot spots of culture and cosmopolitism. Other nice places I visited or enjoyed are the Central Business District or CBD, the Carlton Gardens with the Melbourne Museum and my favorite spot so far: Federation Square or Fed Square! This place right opposite of Flinders Street Station offers passengers to take a seat in comfy chairs; get coffee or food from the surrounding restaurants and cafeterias and enjoy movies, news broadcasts or cricket games on a big live screen.

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  • 12Dec 2014

    43 My Birthday 12.12.2014 Australien —

    Melbourne, Australien

    Beschreibung

    My birthday! Well I don’t want to show off but this birthday was special! Why? Well because it was my first birthday in summer season with sunshine and a very hot weather! I am kid used to have rather misty and cloudy birthdays and experiencing this here under the Australian sun was everything but boring. I didn’t intend to work for the ‘Reindeer campaign’ on that day so I went to St Kilda Beach in the south of Melbourne instead. I enjoyed a proper lunch, went for a couple swims in the ocean, allowed myself some delicious cappuccino and a piece of ‘Sachertorte’ in the afternoon and delved into ‘The Da Vinci Code’ (the book though…). In the evening I went to the cinema (one of my other favorite hobbies) and watched ‘EXODUS: Gods and Kings’! A day in the way I like it.

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  • 18Dec 2014

    44 Faraday Street, Melbourne 18.12.2014 Australien —

    Melbourne, Australien

    Beschreibung

    Today I moved to another friends house not far from Claudia’s flat. Why you ask? Well Before I even mentioned to move to Melbourne for some time Claudia already promised two other friends of hers (Kate and Andrew) to spend some time at her house. Hence I had to go. By this time Claudia was already gone to Germany for Christmas vacation so I had the room for myself for the previous 2 weeks. Luckily, Claudia managed to organize a new place and I moved to Allison, a friend and lab colleague of hers. Meanwhile I got a job as a fundraiser for the ‘Reindeer campaign’, which raises money to support the Children’s Cancer Institute in Kensington, NSW. My job was to ask people for donations and reward people with reindeer antlers... sounds embarrassing? Well it was in the beginning (you talk to complete strangers in the street…) but after a while I got quite confident and people were tapping my shoulders complimenting me for doing a great and important job. Plus it is Christmas, so people are far more generous than usual. The time went by fast and I made some substantial extra money ;).

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  • 01Jan 2015

    45 Happy New Year 01.01.2015 Australien —

    Melbourne, Australien

    Beschreibung

    Happy New Year to everyone at home! Have a good start into 2015 and good luck with all your resolutions: may you succeed this year. See you all again THIS year and not the next one :D.

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  • 08Jan 2015

    46 Goodbye Melbourne 08.01.2015 Australien —

    Melbourne, Australien

    Beschreibung

    After almost 8!!! weeks in Melbourne it was about time to leave. Initially I didn’t intend to stay for so long but with a secure job over Christmas and New Year I would have been stupid to not stay. So I enjoyed my last days here in the old-fashioned way: as a tourist. I went to the ‘Shrine of Remembrance’ – the local ANZAC memorial of Victoria – to commemorate the fallen soldiers of World War I and II. I visited accompanied by two Canadian girls, Karilyn and Adrian both of whom were co-workers during my time as a fundraiser. Other places I visited included the ACMI, the ‘Australian Center for the Moving Image’, the Fitzroy Gardens and Cooks Cottage as well as the State Library of Victoria and the Docklands of Melbourne harbor: Melbourne has lots to offer and I can clearly see why so many Australians and foreign visitors alike are drawn to this place.

    On January 8th I took the Greyhound bus to Sydney and then Brisbane. Sitting next to me was that annoying Brazilian dude. He was gay (I don’t mind that) and heavily sweating and he kept asking me all sorts of questions about my previous adventures, listening with a somewhat exaggerated astonishment. I wasn’t in the mood to discuss what he wanted to know so I tried to make the conversation as short as possible. Well after 20 minutes or so he moved to another chair.

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  • 09Jan 2015

    47 Sydney: Part III 09.01.2015 Australien —

    Sydney, Australien

    Beschreibung

    I took two overnight buses from Melbourne to Brisbane: 1) 12 hours from Melbourne to Sydney and 2) 15 hours from Sydney to Brisbane. So technically with this bus trip I spend more time in the bus than in the airplanes that took me here to Australia :P. I tried to sleep most of the time (‘overnight’ right). But because I would miss the 7 AM bus from Sydney to Brisbane by design for about half an hour I had another full day in Sydney before catching the evening bus. So I locked my Backpack at the train station’s bus terminal and leisurely strolled through Sydney. It would probably be the last time for quite some time. I love this city and the beauty of its high-rises mesmerizes me every time. The weather was good and the day was enjoyable to the very end. I caught the bus at 6 pm… 15 hours to Brisbane :P.

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  • 10Jan 2015

    48 Back To Brisbane 10.01.2015 Australien —

    Brisbane, Australien

    Beschreibung

    Before I left Melbourne I gave Keith a call to inform and ask him whether I could crash at his house for a couple of days. The idea was to sort through my travel bag and get rid of some souvenirs that I don’t need on my trip up north. So I did that, for the time being stored everything of no need in his garage. I enjoyed some days in ‘Brizzy’, met with some QBI mates for dinner and drinks at Southbank, strolled through the city and investigated the changes that happened in the months I was gone. Not much changed but, some construction sites reopened for public access, the first Forever 21 in Australia opened in Queen Street Mall and the place looked cleaner overall… maybe due to the G20 congress in November last year. But suddenly the city appears rather pale in comparison to such cities as Sydney or more recently Melbourne. Don’t get me wrong, I like ‘Brizzy’ but truth is it lacks the continuous rush of taxicabs and men in business suits and shoppers running around all day. The atmosphere is – as with Queensland – more relaxed. It was probably a good choice to start my Australian adventure here. Soon I went to Peterpans Travel Agency to sort out my upcoming trips. Theresa at the counter gave me a good fare and for the next 2 weeks everything would be sorted out: bus connection, accommodation, adventurous trips. I left Brisbane on Thursday the 15th.<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

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  • 15Jan 2015

    49 Noosa, Rainbow Beach & Agnes Water 15.01.2015 Australien —

    Noosa Heads, Australien

    Beschreibung

    So I left Brisbane and headed north. Once again Greyhound was the transportation of choice. After 2 hours I arrived in Noosa, a small beach town I have already visited in April last year… April wow that’s a long time ago :D. I enjoyed my time at the hostel and occasionally went to the beach. I met some guys from Ireland and a swiss guy whom I hung out with quite a while. Most of my time I spend in a hammock under a shady tree reading ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’ (indeed a very good book).

    After 2 days and 2 nights I left Noosa with the next stop being Rainbow Beach. Most people staying here at ‘Dingos Backpacker Resort’ reside here to join an adventurous trip to Fraser Island… Backpackers, Backpackers everywhere, and mostly Germans :/. I knew it would happen but so many Germans, that’s just ridiculous. And the best part: ‘Oh you are German too. We can speak German then!’… well let’s not! I didn’t plan on doing Fraser Island (of course lots of people kept asking me why not) but as you may remember I did the Moreton Island trip last year. And from my understanding Fraser Island would be somewhat similar, if not the same. At least it would be more touristy and packed with binge-drinking undergraduates :P. So I skipped that and saved my money for another - very enjoyable - trip, but more on that later! Interestingly I met the Irish guys from Noosa on the day when I was about to leave. It wouldn’t be the last time. Thus it is so touristy along the coast of Queensland you keep meeting the same people all over again, all traveling the same destinations. It wouldn’t be the last time. Jesus I even met the sweating guy from the bus again… how annoying :(.

    The next stop was Agnes Water and Town of 1770. I loved the hostel in Agnes Water, namely ‘Cool Bananas’: a nice place to stay, especially when suddenly a tropical rainstorm of biblical proportions arises. ‘No worries’, the locals say. Nothing at home comes close to this rainfall. And as suddenly as it came it was all over again. However both days here were rather wet and rainy. I didn’t mind because as I mentioned before the hostel was nice and the town itself doesn’t really offer a lot except the beaches, which during rainstorms you are not allowed trespassing anyway. However, I felt excited about my next destination: Airlie Beach and the Whitsunday Islands.

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  • 23Jan 2015

    50 Sailing The Whitsundays 23.01.2015 Australien —

    Proserpine, Australien

    Beschreibung

    I came here yesterday (Thursday) in the worst weather imaginable: constant heavy rain. So nothing has changed since leaving Agnes Water. The sky was dark and grey and thunder rumbled in the far distance. Nevertheless, I tried to think positive: the weather will be better… it has to. And so it did! The next day the rain stopped at midday; perfectly timed for my two-day, two-nights sailing trip: Sailing the Whitsunday Islands with OzSail!

    So me and 27 other travellers (mostly backpackers) boarded the former speed sailboat Spank Me! at 12.30 pm. Captain Neil – an older mix of Kevin Costner and Paul Hogan aka ‘Crocodile Dundee’; sun tanned, rough-and-ready and wearing sunglasses no matter which time of the day – gave us our mandatory introduction to his maritime vessel. Built in 1989 Spank Me is a 82 feet (25m) long former racing boat built in 1989 (so to say of my age :D) with the highest mast in the Whitsunday Islands (40! m) suitable for 28 passengers and 4 crew members and capable of speeds up to 15-17 knots. Since 2004 Spank Me sails for OzSail. The other members of the crew were: Alex, the deckhand; Grant, the host and Laura, a trainee. The boat itself offered no comfort, especially no air-con that upset certain passengers. And trust me it can become very hot below decks in a boat like ours. Alex distributed the beds and I had to share my double bunk bed with another German dude named David. I didn’t mind because fortunately our bed was directly beneath one of the two emergency escape hatches at the bow of the boat. So at night we could easily sleep under the open hatch, watch the stars and enjoy a refreshing breeze. Others weren’t so lucky and mots of people decided to sleep on top of the boat. We left Airlie Beach shortly after boarding and set sail for False Nara where we enjoyed our first snorkel. Unfortunately due to the bad weather the days before the sea was quite murky. Visibility was not as good as one could hope for. However I was able to spot various fish of different sizes and colors, which I tried to capture with Odis Action Cam. After around 30 minutes we returned to the boat and continued our trip towards Hook Island. Unfortunately the wind was still, which cut our actual time to sail rather short. Skipper Neil had to rely on the onboard engine most of the time. At Hook Island we anchored and spent the night. The skipper gave another speech about the location and the plans for the upcoming day. And while we were listening the sun went down and slowly the sky turned dark. It was cloudless which allowed for an undisturbed view onto the stars, a view that I personally haven’t experienced yet in my entire life. One could even spot the Milky Way: mesmerizing.

    The next morning we set out for Whiteheaven Beach, a National Park famous for its pristine white sand. The water was crystal clear and no algae or weeds grew anywhere in the water near the shore. The local sand is so clear that NASA uses it to produce high performance mirrors and lenses for their various space programs. We were allowed to wander the island and spent ca. 2 hours there. Afterwards Alex picked all of us up and delivered us back to the Spank Me. Next we sailed (not really though) to Pitstop Border Island, where we disembarked for our second snorkel. I was able to locate and capture a giant turtle (probably green turtle) on film, before this magnificent animal glided into the dark abyss where I was unable to follow. We snorkeled a second time in the afternoon. Unfortunately we didn’t spot many fish there. Occasionally we were allowed to jump from the top deck of the boat into the refreshing water to cool down. Later that day we anchored at Mackerel Bay and enjoyed another delicious dinner cooked by Grant. In the darkness of the night the deck lights attracted some squids and even more interestingly those squids attracted 3 dolphins. 2 larger animals were splish-splashing around the boat for almost and hour, teaching another juvenile dolphin how to hunt the squids: beautiful. We also spotted some bigger fish (probably 1m or more in length) circling below the boats keel and I am damn sure that I have spotted the shadow of a reef shark in the cone of light. No one believed me but it must have been a shark, the outline fitted perfectly: long torpedo-shaped body, 2 wedge-shaped pectoral fins, one large dorsal fin and a crescent-shaped tail fin with a longer top end and a shorter bottom end; a clear indication for a reef shark.

    On the next morning we set sail to Stonehaven, where we snorkeled along the islands reef. Afterwards Neil sailed us back to Airlie Beach – through some rough seas. High waves and strong movements shacked the boat up and down. I sat at the bow in between the two emergency hatches and enjoyed this ‘genuine’ sailing feeling, something I kind of missed during the last two days. 2 hours later we arrived in the safe shores of Airlie Beach marina, where we all disembarked, some of us glad to be on solid ground once more. A couple of hours after I returned to the hostel the rain returned. Perfect timing! :D

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  • 14Feb 2015

    51 Hot & humid or Wet & Rainy: Cairns 14.02.2015 Australien —

    Cairns, Australien

    Beschreibung

    It’s Saturday, midday, Valentines Day. I woke up an hour ago currently sipping my coffee and reading ‘Heinz Strunk in Afrika’, a book I found in the hostels free book library. Still I am bored. I am here for more than 2 weeks already: same hostel, same place. I even found a job on my first day here as a casual helper in a landscaping company lead by a guy named Don. However, things don’t go as planned right now. What happened you might ask?

    Well the problem is the timing! I came during the wet season and so the serious problem is the unpredictable weather! It’s either very hot and humid or too wet and rainy. Either way is unbearable and changes can occur within hours.

    Right now it is raining day after day, for almost 2 weeks already. When I came here it was so hot and humid that I was eagerly wishing for some rain and cooling down. But now the downside of that wish becomes apparent. The rain stops me from working for Don as often as I hoped. He pays well and every hour more – even so it is shitty work – allows for further adventures. Additionally Cairns is based on good weather tourism. Here are no serious alternative options for bad weather situations like a museum or a zoo. Well these things exist but one could spend maybe one hour there. Even the guys at the hostels reception admit that there is literally nothing to do in Cairns when it rains. It could travel to Port Douglas or Cape Tribulation or the Daintree rainforest, I could bungy jump or skydive but all these things are probably more fun in good weather without being drenched to the bone within minutes. Plus I need money first to do any of this so that’s why I hoped to work for Don. And so I end up sitting in the hostel day after day - all day - reading one book after the other… and I run out of good books to read ☹.

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  • 28Feb 2015

    52 Pro Dive Cairns 28.02.2015 Australien —

    Australien

    Beschreibung

    Finally… a change! After almost 5 weeks in Cairns full of boredom or hard work on my physical limits I got to do something I was planning for my entire life: Scuba Diving. I grew up watching Jacques Cousteau, reliving the colorful explorations he and his crew underwent in the worlds oceans and ever since I have this huge interest in everything ‘OCEAN’. This time it was up to me to do the exploration. And what better place to start with than in the ‘Great Barrier Reef’.
    Scuba Diving or diving with a ‘Self-contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus’ allows humans to endorse the world of the oceans without its limitations.

    Since I arrived in Cairns I was planning on doing another Scuba Diving trip as promised after last year trip to Byron Bay. Upon arrival here my financials didn’t allow for anything special so I was thinking of a day trip. However, now 5 weeks later I decided to put some more money into the mix and do my PADI Open Water Course… when if not now. So what does that mean. Well this course allows me - upon successfully passing the examination – to dive on my own whenever and wherever I want around the globe.

    Well I did my dive course with Pro Dive Cairns, which I totally recommend to everyone doing or planning on doing a similar course. What the course included was a two day theoretical and practice course involving pool sessions at the local Pro Dive school and a 3 days/2 nights live-aboard boat trip out to the Reef. I started on Saturday; Matt and Shaune (our soon-to-be dive instructors) picked my future schoolmates and me up from their respective accommodation. Here I met: Hannah and Eva from Sweden, Persia and Daniel as well as Karwell from China, Rhys from England, Susan and Mark from the US, and Ryan and Nikolaj from Denmark. Thank god! No other Germans :D. After a brief introduction session and our first theoretical classes in the morning we headed straight to the pool to put our newly attained knowledge into practice. To simplify the teaching and make it more enjoyable for everyone, the group was split and Eva, Hannah, Mark, Susan, Rhys and I ended up with Shaune, whereas the others went with Matt. The afternoon in the pool gave me a first glimpse at what is about to come. We learned to assemble the gear, how to enter the water, familiarized ourselves with the water as well as with the important parts and pieces of the equipment and how to use them. Rhys – an obviously young but fairly funny Brit - and me buddied up and also stayed buddies for the rest of the course. The sessions passed quite quickly and soon the late afternoon approached and we were all driven back to our accommodations.

    The next morning Oskar from the Pro Dive Shop introduced us into the great variety of scuba gear and equipment. Afterwards we went straight into the pool and improved our underwater skills. We learned some basic skills that are required to be successfully performed underwater in order to gain the certificate. Such skills involved: basic sign language required for underwater communication, fin pivots, partial or complete flooding of the mask and subsequent emptying or hovering steadily in the water. At midday we went for a group lunch to ‘Grill’d’ and subsequently paid a visit to the dive shop. Well as every keen company would do Pro Dive gave us students the ‘chance’ to purchase some new equipment prior to departure of the boat the next morning. In the afternoon we went back to the classroom and finished the last theoretical session and participated in a multiple-choice final exam. I passed easily ☺. I need to say that throughout the whole course the focus never was on passing the exam without mistakes but rather on learning-by-doing. Obviously logical thinking and reasoning in a potentially dangerous situation (which scuba diving without a doubt is) is way more important for the students to catch up. And after these 2 days in the pool I felt confident that I could prove myself in the open water ☺.

    Monday morning. I could barely sleep. I was so excited about what’s to come. Once again Matt picked us up and drove us to the dive shop. Here we awaited our transfer to the boat while the dive instructors made some final preparations. An hour later we arrived at the docks and embarked onto the Scuba Pro III. The boat appeared a bit tiny if you think that it is meant to host 32 passengers, 7 crewmembers and the all the scuba equipment, but it all worked out fine. I agreed with Rhys to share a room and we made ourselves comfortable in the cabin No. 14. The next three hours we waited for the boat to leave the coast behind and enter the Coral Sea and a world heritage site known as the ‘Great Barrier Reef’. In a short induction we were introduced to the vessel and its crew: Gary, the skipper; Tomo, the head dive master; Matt, Shaune and Mark, the dive instructors and Kendall, the boats most important member: the chef. Some passengers slept, others sunbaked; me, I joined the conversations of my fellow dive students on the top deck and enjoyed the sun.

    Once we anchored on our first dive site: ‘Petaj Mooring’ in the ‘Milln Reef’, we received special induction by Shaune and then set out to assemble our scuba gear and jump into the wetsuits.
    Entering the water was magical: it felt as I have experienced it before in Byron Bay, the crystal clear water with a visibility of 30 m immediately allowed a impressive view at the local dive area. The bottom was sandy, occasionally interrupted by coral bummies. The area was ideal to practice the skills, which we had to perform in order to achieve our ‘Open Water Diving Certificate’. We all excelled. However, 40 minutes underwater pass damn quickly, every time!

    The second dive that day we completed at the ‘Whale Bummie’, another beautiful spot at ‘Milln Reef’ and once again we had to perform various underwater skills. Shaune was very patient and as before it all worked well: no scuba diver was lost. And once again the 45 minutes passed by too fast.

    These two dives were the only scuba dives for that day for our team of ‘Open Water Divers’. Nevertheless we were allowed to snorkel at the local Flynn Reef a couple hours later. Hannah, Susan, Rhys and me we jumped in the water eagerly and swam towards some enormous coral bummies. The sunset placed everything in a colorful light with the rays of the sun penetrating the surface of the water. And here it was where I saw my first shark (not the Woobegong shark): a ‘Whitetip Reef Shark’, maybe half a meter long. And in contrast to the sharks menacing reputation the shark swam away rather quickly when I tried to approach him ☺. I also saw a turtle, which I followed for more than 10 minutes as well as various ‘Parrot Fish’. Interestingly lots of fish were floating right under the boat, including a massive 1.5 m Barracuda that hang right under the boats keel in the current, his eye the only moving part of the body. We spent the night at ‘Flynn Reef’ at stayed there throughout the next two days.

    The next day we accomplished our last two mandatory dive sessions at the ‘Tennis Courts’ before midday and right after a delicious lunch m my comrades and me were officially inaugurated into the great dive community. From that moment onwards I was allowed to dive wherever I want as long as I follow the basic scuba dive procedures. And so when the third dive of the day approached I was especially eager to try my newly learned set of skills. I caught up with Rhys and Hannah and we three dove along ‘Gordon’s Mooring’. Rhys took his Action Cam and was able to take some great shoots of us. We even spotted a little ‘Spine-cheeked Anemone Fish’ hiding in the sea anemones. However, we were so mesmerized by the trip that we somewhat lost our location. No problem, we surfaced and looked for the boat. Once we had its position we simply swam there: easy!

    I thought this trip can’t get any better and so far this is my new No. 1 experience while in Australia. However, that was about to change. At 9 pm we participated in a scheduled Night dive, which was without a doubt the most AWESOME experience in my entire life. Diving itself is awesome but diving at night makes it somewhat more special. Well initially I was not very keen on jumping into the black waters at night, think of all the fish that are there but which you don’t see… somewhat frightening. Nevertheless I joined the team and I would turn out to be spectacular.

    The thing is: you don’t see a lot at night. But lots of fish hunt at night, hence allowing you to see much more and much bigger fish than at daylight. Still you need to find them first in total darkness. We were given a torch and a glow stick was attached to our scuba gear. Besides that there was a bit of ambient light from the moon but once you go into the deep you literally see nothing besides the diver in front of you. It actually feels like you are on the moon. We were told to stay together and keep an eye onto each other’s glow stick. Matt was leading the pack; I followed right after, the others behind. The torches illuminate only a small portion in front of you and suddenly coral bummies of various sizes appear right in front you of which you didn’t even know were there, a unique and indeed otherworldly experience. Besides, we were on a mission: to find ‘Brien’ the infamous giant sea turtle. Luckily we spotted him and maybe two another sea turtles of similar size in a cave underneath a big bummie. And by giant I mean fairly big with maybe 1,5 m length and a similar width. I was hoping to see more sharks but unfortunately I didn’t spot some. It was not before I was back on the boat that I heard that Hannah and Rhys spotted several sharks. Damn!

    Wednesday we dived early in the morning. Three dives were planned before 12 am so that the boat could leave in time for the trip back to Cairns. The alarm rang at 5.30 am and at 6.30 am we were in the water (before breakfast). The day before I decided to invest a bit more money and extend my ‘Open Water Diver Certiicate’ with an additional adventure pack. This allows me to dive not just 18 m but 30 m deep. And so my fellow ‘Adventure Divers (Rhys, Pertia, Daniel, Hannah and Carlos) joined Matt and Shaune into the ‘real’ depth of ‘Gordon’s Mooring’. My personal record so far: 27.7 m. Interestingly the life at the bottom of 30 m is less pronounced as at 10 or 15 m. The sun: giver of life.

    The next two dives happened in quick succession so that it is all a blur. We came up from 30 m, had breakfast and almost immediately suited back up into the gear to explore ‘Tracys Bummie’. This time I took an underwater Digital Camera with me and was shooting the hell out of it. I saw ‘Nemos’ hiding and another shark swimming by. This time it was a big ‘Reef Shark’ of at least 1 m. Shaune was so kind guiding us through some colorful and photogenic spots.
    Then after 45 minutes back to the surface, some snacks, a quick debriefing and back into the gear for (sadly) the last dive of this trip. And so I was enjoying this to the fullest: a truly awe-inspiring experience that was totally worth its money.

    P.S. and here a list of all the things I have seen and that I could identify ☺:

    Bumphead Parrotfish, Striped Surgeonfish, Whitetip Reef Shark, Grey Reef Shark Great Barracuda, Bumphead Maori Wrasse, Red Bass Snapper, Seaturtle, Blue-spotted Stingray, Kuhl’s Stingray, Trevally, Moorish Idol, Clown Fish, Spine-cheek Anemonefish, Butterflyfish, Humbug Damsel, Sealfaced Puffer, Napoleon Maori Wrasse, Yellowtailed Fusilier, Bullethead Parrotfish, Titan Triggerfish, Bird Wrasse, Staghorn Damsel, Bluepatch Butterfly, Glassfish and a Snubnose Dart

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  • 23Mar 2015

    53 Exmouth 23.03.2015 Australien —

    Exmouth, Australien

    Beschreibung

    6.30 AM: After 12 hours I finally arrived in Exmouth on the west coast of Australia. Exmouth – located at the northern tip of Western Australia – is one of the most remote places I have ever been. Here where the dry and sandy plain of the Gascoyne region meets the blue and bustling waters of the Indian Ocean time stands still. Besides the township of Exmouth and the little airport of Learmonth nothing spoils the vast and pure emptiness that allows for a glimpse into an untouched Australian wilderness that is characteristic for the ‘Red Continent’: rusty red sand covered with small bushes and dried-out riverbeds. Termite mounds the size of a human being rise throughout the plain. It is hot and the sun burns. I took the shuttle bus to the township and check into the YHA Exmouth. Not much going on here and only a few visitors and backpackers are around. The tourist season hasn’t started yet. And here, in midst of nowhere the last adventure of my year-long trip is about to begin.

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  • 24Mar 2015

    54 Diving with Sharks: Part II 24.03.2015 Australien —

    Exmouth, Australien

    Beschreibung

    Well from now on I have a new nickname: ‘Dives with Whale Sharks’! The last thing I wanted to do before I have to leave this beautiful continent was to swim with the biggest fish on planet earth: the whale shark.

    Every year between March and July the whale shark – a filter feeding member of the shark family and largest non-cetacean animal in the world – comes to Ningaloo Reef perfectly timed for the annual coral spawning, feeding on microscopic organisms such as plankton, krill, as well as other suspended food particles. It is simply astonishing how animals that big can solely feed on tiny organism we humans cannot even see. And watching this gentle giant in its natural habitat was indeed an experience of a lifetime.

    The day began at 6 AM. Actually I could have slept till 6.30 AM but I was to excited so I got up and quickly went for breakfast. 90 minutes later the ‘3 Island Whale Shark Dive’ tour bus picked me up. Natalie and Jana and 19 other tour participants greeted me and quickly we drove off passing the ‘Vlaming Heads Lighthouse’ and heading for ‘Tantabiddi Boat Ramp’. Quickly we boarded the boat – ‘Draw Card’ – a small and fast vessel with a fresh paintjob and ready to hunt some sharks! Quickly we were introduced to Kirby, Ari and our skipper for the day: Boss Nass – apparently the best skipper in the whole fleet.

    The day was set up in the following way. First we would travel along the lagoon of the ‘Ningaloo Reef’ and enjoy ourselves with a snorkel. With its 260 km it is not as big and impressive as the Great Barrier Reef, however the Ningaloo Reef offers plenty of wild life and is luckily not as spoiled as its east coastal counterpart due to its remote location. Afterwards we would head out beyond the reef looking for a whale shark. The company-owned spotter plane would look out and inform us about any shark sightings. Apparently the whale shark – when swimming at the surface – can easily be spotted by its characteristic dotted skin pattern. If a shark were successfully spotted Boss Nass aboard Draw Card and Ari aboard Neville - the tender boat - would bring the boat in line with the shark’s route. Subsequently Jana would jump in the water and catch up with the shark. She would indicate the shark’s direction. Then 10 people at a time would jump in the water and swim with the shark for about 5-10 minutes, giving the second group of 10 a chance to swim with the fish. This would continue several times as long as the shark was pleased with us and did not decide to dive into the dark blue. After lunch we would head back to the lagoon and finish off the day with a second snorkel to explore the local fauna. So much for the plan and I have to say it worked out just perfectly!

    The snorkel was great, as were all the snorkels I did along the coasts of Australia’s. I took Odis Action cam with me and was able to capture some very big rays and even a massive grouper hiding in between some coral bummies. Most people used this opportunity to check out their snorkel gear, especially mask and fins but with my new mask and snorkel everything was just about fine! Soon we left the water and set sail for the open ocean. The mango-orange spotter plane was already in the air and interestingly it didn’t take long for the plane to spot a whale. It literally took about 5 minutes after we left the lagoon. And so the whole boat with its 20 passengers and 3 dive instructors just went crazy… crazily excited to jump in the water with the biggest fish in the world. I was in the second group so I had to wait but Mask, snorkel and fins were within reach and ready to go at any time. When we finally jumped in and swam towards the shark I was super pumped. However, the shark decided to dive down into the deep. I was looking at Jana – our guide – with her red swim shirt and she was pointing into the darkness. When I looked down I almost jumped out of my skin. Right there, maybe 15-20 meters below me I saw the outline of a massive fish, a spotted fish. That was my first glimpse at this gentle giant and it wouldn’t be the last. Within minutes Nala spotted another shark 500 m of the boats bow. And so the whole procedure repeated itself. Now group no. 2 is up for the first dive. And this shark was not so disinterested. It started swimming in circles around Jana’s location and when I got there I had my first really good look at the whale shark. It swam right to me – slowly and gently – and unexpectedly decided to turn 180 degrees right in front of me. Again I was a bit startled but at the same time seeing, almost touching and definitely feeling this big animal up-close cannot be described. And quickly the fish moved along in the opposite direction. One has to kick its legs heavily to keep up with it. However after 10 minutes the shark also decided to dive away.

    Later we caught up with a third, female whale shark that was so unperturbed and unimpressed by our presence that it even ended up right under the boat to observe the observers. We swam with this shark for nearly the next hour. Two cobias swam below the belly: a perfect example for natural symbiosis. And so for several times we let this gentle giant swim towards and beyond us and every time was as impressive as before. And so, slowly and at ease the fish made its way through the blue waters and disappeared for the last time. What an amazing animal to watch…

    And now while writing this I keep thinking: ‘”We should not be scared of; we should appreciate the wonders and mysteries of the OCEAN and all the forms of life inhabiting it!”

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