Location: Cairns, Australia

An early wake-up signaled the beginning of a long day on the road touring the land that surrounded the city of Cairns. We began the day meeting our tour guide, Tom, near the dock. From there, we drove in a bus to the Daintree rainforest. Keep in mind that this is the oldest rainforest in the world. On the way, Tom explained to us the numerous species of plants and animals that could either really ruin our day or kill us. As we stepped off the bus, of course, the first thing we asked was if the fruits we were just told could kill us were edible. Tom informed us it had an estimated 100 million years on the Amazon rain forest. Upon our arrival, we were guided through a smoke ceremony by a man indigenous to Australia. He showed us the weapons his people used to hunt, the plants they used for medicine, and the clays they used for paint. He then followed with a prayer to the forest, requesting our safety throughout the remainder of our time exploring the forest. We continued down the path to Mossman Gorge, which some people jumped into and swam in for some time. Others remained dry and visited the suspension bridge not too far down from the trail. We left the rain forest for the bus to drive to the next stop of the day.

After a short bus ride, we arrived at the Daintree river tour. On the river tour, we saw saltwater crocodiles as well as several unique bird and plant species. The biggest croc we saw was a male named Scarry, who had recently added a new scar from defending his territory from encroaching, younger males looking to take his spot as alpha croc. From the river tour, we headed to grab a bite of lunch and then continue the day with a beach tour. Tom informed us of numerous different plant and animal species along the boardwalk to the beach. The beach was beautiful. At the end of the beach was a point called Cape Tribulation. The famous English explorer James Cook wrote in his journal that at that location, he became one day stuck on the reef, and all his troubles began. In case you didn’t know, he got off the reef and returned to England. Shortly after that, he was eaten by cannibals in Hawaii. Talk about a rough patch.

We then went to grab a bite of ice cream at a shop that offered a cup of ice cream that had a taste of four different flavors from exotic fruits. Most people agreed that their favorite flavor was wattleseed, which reminded us of hazelnut. The treat hit the spot. We finished the tour with a trip to Alexandra Lookout with a beautiful view overlooking the water. We ventured back to Argo for a great meal prepared by the staff members who remained on the boat for the day and took care of a variety of different boat chores. I can speak on behalf of the crew that this place, Cairns, is pretty freaking cool. Leaving this place is going to make leaving the ship that much harder in the next few days. This trip has been, without a doubt, the coolest thing I’ve ever done in my life. The friends I have made in the past 80 days will last me a lifetime. Thank you to the staff and my parents who have made this experience as awesome as it has been.
Signing out for the last time.
– Sam Mills
Tahiti to Australia Summer 2019

Pictured: Group photo at Alexandra Lookout; smoke ceremony where the guide burned some melaleuca bark and had us walk through the smoke while we asked for blessing and protection for us; Frank, Henry, Lucy, and Raul at Mossman Gorge; Maddie, Cat, and Ryan at the gorge; Maddie getting some sunshine; Sam and Henry at the gorge; Raul, Frank, Kari, Garrison, Anastacia, and Emily on the suspension bridge; Scarry the alpha male crocodile; beautiful Daintree River; Raul enjoying the river tour; a golden orb weaver spider near where we ate lunch; rain forest views and Tom teaching us about the local plants; the beach at Cape Tribulation; Rhea and Emily relaxing; our ice cream made with different tropical fruits (coconut underneath, passionfruit, wattleseed, and black sapote); view from Alexandra Lookout.