Cairns: Turtles in the Tropics

I arrived in Cairns, Australia on Sunday and began my volunteering at the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre on Monday. The Centre is located on Fitzroy Island, about 45 minutes from Cairns on a fast ferry. This tropical island is in the Great Barrier Reef, and a popular location for snorkeling and scuba. The volunteers leave Cairns at 8 am, arriving at the island’s resort. Then it’s just a 10-minute walk to reach the facility which hosts a variety of turtles in need of care. Most of the turtles here will be released as soon as it’s possible.

The work (so far, at least) has included cleaning tank filters, preparing food, feeding the turtles, and cleaning the tanks with skimmers and suction. It’s pretty easy work, made easier by the number of volunteers on site. I’ve been here two days, and both days we’ve been done by noon. After that we’re free to return to Cairns on the 12:15 ferry or stay and enjoy this tropical island and leave at 5 pm.

Today I wandered down to Nudey Beach (and, no, it’s not a nude beach, despite the name). This is a lovely island, and a great place to spend a couple of weeks.

And now for a a confession: I bailed on the housing arrangements. I was scheduled to stay at a local hostel. Even though I did request a single room, I’ve seen monastic cells with more amenities. I had a small bed, a chair, a shelf, a coat rack. And a toilet down to the right, then turn left, then turn right again. Not exactly convenient. The hot tub, however, was very convenient, located just a few feet from my door. This was nice for many of the guests who enjoyed soaking and chatting and laughing until the wee hours, but not so nice for me.

So after one night I found a great deal on an apartment: I have a large and comfy bed, a living area, a full kitchen, washer and dryer, TV, and more — all in my unit. This is much better!

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