By Zachary Brumback
Day 7: After waking up at 5 a.m., our tour group took the ferry back to the mainland and boarded our tour bus. Following our two-hour drive, our group arrived at the Tully River. There, went white water rafting in groups of six and enjoyed a wonderful day in a tropical rainforest. Although forty-eight hours had passed since my injury, I was still super cautious and tried to keep my stitches dry. Luckily, I was only one of two individuals who did not fall out of the raft. After we reached the bottom of the river, our group boarded the tour bus for the last time. After another two-hour drive, we arrived in Cairns (our final destination), unloaded the bus, arrived at our rooms, and headed to dinner. Following dinner, we had an early night.
Day 8: Today, I made multiple leaps of faith. At 7 a.m., I boarded a bus with a number of individuals to go skydiving. Following an hour drive, we arrived at the airport and met our tandem instructors. The instructors suited each individual with a harness and together we later made our way to the plane. When boarding, I was the last individual on the plane. Therefore, I unknowingly volunteered to be the first group to jump. While we were ascending, a clock was counting down till it was “showtime.” Although I fully understood that I was about to jump out of a plane at 15,000 feet, I was surprised at how calm I was. When the clock hit zero, I quickly made my way to the door of the plane and before I knew it, I was freefalling towards the earth.
For most individuals, they probably would not push their luck a second time, especially in less than four hours. Following my skydive and trip back to the resort, our tour group headed to go bungee jumping in a tropical rainforest. Since I had just gone skydiving, I thought bungee jumping would be a breeze. However, I was greatly mistaken. After making my way up to the platform and looking down, I began to grow nervous. My anxiety kicked in when I waddled to the edge of the platform and received a countdown. Although I was nervous, I made another leap of faith and did not regret it.
Day 9: After jumping out of a plane and off of an elevated platform, it was time to jump into the Coral Sea and go scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef. Before it was my group’s turn to go scuba diving, we spent an hour snorkeling. Once we returned to the boat, my group and I received our gear and suited up. Before jumping in, I had always wanted to see the Great Barrier Reef up close. However, after I jumped in and began seeing the bubbles exiting my respirator, I panicked and returned to the surface. My instructor immediately came to the surface, and I told him that I did not think I could do it. He reassured me that I would be alright and informed me that one or more people in each group tend to panic, initially. Once I had calmed down, my instructor and I re-joined the group and began our descent to the seafloor. While I was at the bottom of the ocean, I saw a number of clownfish (Nemo), a turtle, a blue starfish, a shark, and various other breathtaking species. Once again, I stepped out of my comfort zone and I did not regret it.
Day 10: Following multiple action-packed days, it was time to catch up on our sleep and then explore Cairns on our own. At 1 p.m., our tour group boarded a double-decker party bus and headed to the Crystal Cascades. Once we had arrived at the rainforest, our group walked along a number of waterfalls in search of a location to go swimming in the fresh water. Once we had found our spot, we spent the afternoon swimming, sunbathing, and jumping off waterfalls. Following our time there, we boarded the party bus and headed to a group dinner followed by a farewell party.
Day 11: With our trip concluding, I packed my bags and checked out of my accommodation. Before heading to the airport, a few of my new friends and I enjoyed a lovely breakfast, together. After breakfast, we parted ways. Once I had arrived at the airport, with my two friends from USYD, we learned that our flight back to Sydney was delayed. Luckily, Qantas only delayed the flight by an hour.
Now that Mid-semester Break has concluded, I have less than two months left of my study abroad. As I begin to enter the second stretch of the semester, my remaining assessments range from 30-50% of my final grade. Spring Break is over, and it is time to hit the books.