We never thought we would ever go to Australia, so it was quite exciting to arrive in Cairns at the start of our adventure. The first thing we saw, however, was a sobering reminder of everyone’s vulnerability to disease in these days of international air travel.
I was very glad that I didn’t have to “seek help from a border security officer”, given the hysteria that there had been in Australia surrounding the outbreak of ebola in West Africa. I would probably have found myself back on the next plane to PNG.
The current Australian government refused to send any health workers to help in the international effort to combat ebola, arguing that, if they fell ill, it was an awful long way to bring them home. The idea that an Australian health worker, who had contracted the deadly disease, would be upset at the prospect of being treated in the UK didn’t seem to occur to them.
This from the government that has just told the asylum seekers who have been protesting at the detention centre on Manus Island (PNG), and who have been asking to be handed over to the UN rather than be resettled in PNG, where they believe that their lives would be at risk, that if they don’t want to be re-settled in PNG, they can be returned to their countries of origin.
That must be such a comfort to those people who risked their lives, and the lives of their families, to escape from those countries in the first place.
Anyway, back to the Australian odyssey, (defined in my dictionary as “a long journey with lots of adventures.”).
Although we had planned to drive from Cairns due south to Sydney, our first trip took us north to the Danetree Rainforest. (I had no idea that Australia had such things as rainforests!) Along the way we passed what seemed like hundreds of miles of beautiful beaches, – all of them empty
On closer investigation we discovered why. This whole coast is prey to a whole range of jellyfish that can do horrible things to you, including, if you are unlucky, kill you.
Even in Sydney harbor, when we looked over the side of our boat, we saw that the water was full of jellyfish. Not a pretty sight.
In some of the coastal towns the local authorities have netted off large areas of the sea, off the popular beaches, so that people can swim safely, without fear of being stung by these nasty creatures.
But, on the up-side, if you found yourself on one of these beautiful, isolated, empty beaches with a plate of chips, there was never any shortage of …