A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: RTMM

New Title for the Blog?

PERHAPS WE SHOULD CALL IT - WHERE HAVE WE BEEN

by: Tami

It has been so long since we've posted anything; please accept our apologies.

We spent a bit of time catching up on homeschooling. We also spent time planning our last stage of the trip. Unfortunately, after planning everything we had to make some very drastic last minute changes. There were a few major changes in the Teaching Program at Central which required an early return to Seattle. So, we had to cut the last two months completely away. No sadness though, we've been having a great time. We'll let you take a peek at a few of our photos to guess where we are at the moment.

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Posted by RTMM 14:01 Comments (2)

Back Home - Again

By: Ryan

We arrived back home on December 16th and are planning to stay around for about a month. As the name of this blog implies, we are not quite sure where we are going next. Once we have decided on a destination we will let you all know.

Posted by RTMM 10:56 Archived in USA Comments (2)

Zoo Keepers for a Day

OUR VISIT TO AUSTRALIA ZOO

by: Maya

Have you ever wanted to be a zoo keeper? Want no more. You can do just that at Australia Zoo, as my sister and I did during the Zoo Keeper for a Day School Holiday Program. During our visit we were supervised by Nick and Tina of the Australia Zoo staff. They were really awesome people; I learned a lot from them.

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First we were given nametags, then hats and water bottles because it's really hot in Queensland right now. Then we began our zoo rounds. We first fed the kangaroos, which was loads of fun. Then we went to Bindi’s Pony Trails where we were assigned one of three jobs. The jobs were: filling buckets of water for the ponies to drink, grooming the ponies, and organizing the riding helmets by size. Next we went to the Wetlands exhibit where we fed the jabirus. We threw half a fish over the fence toward each jabiru hoping it would catch the piece of fish. But most of the time the wild ibises ate the fish because the jabirus didn’t catch many. Nick called the ibises “scumbags” due to their habit of stealing food. I thought Nick was really funny. After the wetlands, we fed the echidnas. (Echidnas are monotremes, like the platypuses my sister wrote about earlier.) It was fun feeding them because the echidnas are really cute. My sister even went back the next day for a second encounter with them. Next we moved on to elephant feeding. Each kid was given a bucket with pieces of carrots, apples, and honeydew melons. We selected one piece of food at a time and the elephant would wrap its trunk around the food and toss it into its mouth. I was not afraid to feed the elephants because elephants don’t have teeth in their trunks so there was no way the elephant could bite me. Even though the elephant’s trunk felt prickly and left slime on my hand, it was still fun. After the elephant feeding, it was time for my feeding. The zookeeper program included lunch. I had a chicken and mayo sandwich which I ate because all that work had made me really hungry. During lunch we watched the Crocoseum Show. First up were the elephants we had fed. Next came the reptile crew. After the reptiles, it was time for birds. The show finished up with the crocodiles – the main attraction! After the show we fed turtles. There were three different types of turtles. One had a snake neck. When I was feeding it, it tried to bite me. But I was too fast. It didn’t get me. Another had a head like a water dragon. It looked really cool. The last group to be fed looked like normal everyday turtles. When we finished taking care of the turtles, we all got our pictures taken with a baby alligator. Then we moved on to tortoises. Zoo keepers scrub their shells to keep them clean, so that’s what I did. Next up was poop scooping at the Kid’s Zoo. It was actually okay. Poop scooping is just part of being a zoo keeper. Then we shoveled clean sawdust into rubbish bins that would be emptied into the enclosures when needed. We spent a few minutes grooming the farm animals. I got to brush goats. My day as a zoo keeper was the best day ever!

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Posted by RTMM 23:57 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Scroll Down for New Entries

Due to the lack of a reliable internet connection, we have just now added our posts from the Daintree Rainforest and Eungella National Park. They are located just after the Heron Island entry.

Posted by RTMM 23:12 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Heron Island

by: Ryan

Heron Island is a small coral cay on the southern part of the Great Barrier Reef near the Tropic of Capricorn. We visited the island back in 2006 and enjoyed it so much that we decided to visit it again. Our previous visit of four nights on the island just wasn't enough time. This time we decided to spend eight nights so we could experience everything that we desired.

After a short helicopter ride from Gladstone we arrived on the island and I immediately thought that we had made a mistake in choosing to spend so much time there. Last time we visited the island in winter and this time we were visiting in the late spring. Heron Island is a natural nesting site for a few species of sea birds, so now the island was overrun with tens of thousands of birds with all of their accompanying sounds and smells. There were so many birds that it was not a matter of “if” you were going to be pooped on, it was a matter of “how many times” you would feel the soft plop of bird poo on your head or shoulder.

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bird

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poo

My apprehensions, however, soon faded away. It is quite remarkable how soon people's senses adapt to their environment. After just a few hours the smell from the birds became negligible and I even found myself enjoying all of the different sounds the birds made. It is amazing what you can hear when you listen (and when there is no television available).

As I said earlier, Heron Island is small. It is so small that one can walk completely around its perimeter in around 45 minutes. Some people might think that one would get bored on such a small island, but for me nothing could be further from the truth. This is most likely because even though the actual land mass is small, the island is surrounded by a coral reef. The reef itself is actually quite large and this makes it a snorkeler's and diver's paradise.

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I could not wait to get into the water and start exploring. I was not disappointed. While snorkeling I saw thousands of brightly colored fish, turtles, sting rays, shovel nose rays, and reef sharks. Swimming with sharks and sting rays may sound dangerous, but in reality it is quite safe. The most important thing that you have to remember is to “look but don't touch” anything. One of my most exciting moments came when I was swimming about 20 feet from the beach and I noticed that I was surrounded by about 10 to 15 reef sharks. As none of the sharks were over four feet long I felt at ease, so I stopped swimming and just floated by observing their behavior. They seemed to ignore me completely, swimming under and around me, giving me the ability to get a very close up view. What a wonderful experience.

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shark

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On our fifth day on the island I decided to take the “Exploring SCUBA” course offered by the resort. After a short classroom and pool training session I was diving in the open ocean. I was accompanied by a certified dive instructor who basically did everything for me so I could really pay attention to my surroundings. We dove to a depth of about 30 feet and saw turtles, fish of all shapes and sizes, and lots of coral. I had so much fun that all I can think about is getting dive certified so I can do it again.

The last thing I'll write about is turtle watching. Besides being a nesting site for birds, Heron Island is also an egg laying site for Green Turtles and Loggerhead Turtles. The turtles come ashore during the evening's high tide, which was midnight or later during our time on the island. I will not go into specifics, just in case Maya wants to write a more detailed post (she absolutely loved the whole turtle experience), but I will say that we saw turtles coming ashore, laying their eggs, and returning to the sea.

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Turtle egg

In the end I felt that eight days was just about the right amount of time to spend on the island. I was never bored, which is saying a lot for me, and I had plenty of time to enjoy the many great things Heron Island has on offer.

Posted by RTMM 14:47 Archived in Australia Comments (5)

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