pieces of my vacation

Hey there faithful readers!
Surprise surprise! I'm here to update again.

I'm enjoying what seems to be a never-ending vacation. I've been traveling since June 23, and every moment, every place has been perfectly perfect.
I told you all that I'd update along the way and I've done a very poor job of that. I just haven't wanted to set aside time to update my blog when I'm surrounded by wonderful friends, people whose company I am rarely able to enjoy.

Where have I been?

From Korea I flew to Melbourne, Australia. I posted a blog about that.
Then I flew to Sydney. I posted a blog about that as well.
Then I flew to Brisbane, met my brother, rented a camper and drove for 1o days up the Queensland coast.
I spent 2 weeks in Cairns and Port Douglas.
Then I returned to Sydney.
After 5 weeks in Australia I flew to Honolulu.
And now, I'm in Seattle.
Whew... I've covered a lot of ground!

I have heaps of photos and even more stories and memories. And I want to share them all with you! But instead of trying to put together a timeline presentation of the entire summer, I have decided to just share random memories and photos.

I'll post every few days and tell you a bit about a certain place or experience and I'll throw in some pictures.
So today I'll tell you about my first scuba dive!

Nick and I drove up the coast of Australia in a campervan. We had such a great time and couldn't have asked for better weather or scenery! We took two fantastic boat tours, the second one was in Cairns, Australia- a city right along the Great Barrier Reef.

We boarded an old lugger ship called the Falla. Though we were on a tour, it didn't feel like a tourist ship. It was more like going out on the water with a bunch of friends. The owner/skipper Doug Meyer was very welcoming and very eager to teach us about the reef and the coral and life at sea. Nick and I hadn't planned on scuba diving, but something changed our mind at the last minute. I think it was just the perfect setting, great people, perhaps some unexpected inspiration.

Now, I have always had a fear of the underwater world. I've always been paranoid of sharks and jellyfish and other such creatures. Somehow though, my fear disappeared as I was guided down below the ship. We saw all sorts of fish, big and small. Take the wonder of snorkeling and multiply it! The colors of the coral were unlike any color I've seen on land. The life, the way things mingle, the traffic of the fish, the movements of the plants, the sounds, the feelings... Going under the sea is like visiting a foreign country. But it was also like entering a sacred temple. It was perhaps the most beautiful place I've ever been. I didn't want to close my eyes. I didn't want to leave.

I don't have any photos from the dive, so I'm sorry I can't share any of the wonder with you. But an underwater camera, though pretty cool, just can't fully capture it. I did however take some pictures while we were on the ship. You can see the amazing color of the water, the cool ship, and hopefully you can imagine what it was like.

Sadly, 2 days after our tour the Falla sank. The ship accidentally hit the reef. No one was hurt, but my heart was really sad! That particular tour was impressive. Doug Meyer (owner/skipper) poured his heart into that ship and he was doing such a swell job. The good news is that the boat was repairable and I think it's already back and running tours.

Cheers to the Falla! And may her sails lead many more people to be inspired by the wonders below the waves!