Port Douglas

After the Kuranda trip I spent one more fairly uneventful day in Cairns and then moved on to Port Douglas on Saturday. Port Douglas is pretty much the furthest North you can easily get along the Queensland coast without relying on private transport or guided tours. The drive up there is pretty interesting too, after exiting the suburbs of Cairns the road follows the coastline quite closely. The views over the tropical coast are quite spectacular, it was just a shame our mini-bus transport didn’t do any stops along the way.

Port Douglas itself is a small town that acts mainly as a holiday resort. Apart from the usual tourist shops and the beautiful Four Mile Beach there’s pretty much nothing to see or do in the town itself and I found myself bored to tears pretty much instantly. However, the town is right next to both the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree rainforest, two world heritage sites. My main purpose was obviously diving, unlike Cairns you can reach pretty decent sites even on day trips. There are few different dive operators in the town, after some research I decided to go out with Poseidon. Unfortunately they were booked for the next few days so I ended up booking my dives for Tuesday.

With some time to burn on Sunday I was hoping to rent a bike and do a bit of exploring of my own, at least Mossmann Gorge is easily reachable on a day trip. Unfortunately the hostel I was staying had all their bikes rented out and on Sunday the few rental shops in town were also closed. So I had to abandon that plan and come up with something different. With little else to do in Port Douglas I decided to go for a long swim along the Four Mile Beach. This proved to be a big mistake!

It was a great day for swimming, weather was sunny and sea was pretty flat too. Unfortunately I got way too ambitious and decided to swim from one end of the beach to the other! The beach is not quite four miles long, but it’s close enough so this was a really long swim. I put a thick layer of sunscreen on and started the swim from the North end of the beach. I haven’t done that many long swims in ocean so I stuck close to the shore. Progress was little slow but steady, I was in no rush anyway. Eventually I started to feel somewhat exhausted as it was a hot day, particularly as I was doing the swim in the middle of the day. I pushed on a little further and got out at the first clear landmark, a bulge on the coastline around three fourths of the way.

In hindsight, three mile swim (which obviously took several hours) in direct tropical sunlight is not the brightest idea, particularly for someone with my complexion. Even with sunscreen on I figured I’d get some sunburns. However, in the evening my back was feeling only slightly burned and I thought I had gotten off easy. Next morning was a different story, unfortunately. I woke up with my back giving me agonizing pain whenever I moved even little bit on the bed. Additionally, whenever I got up I started feeling really nauseous after only a minute or two and had to lay down again on the bed.

I quickly had to abandon the plan of doing the bike trip on that day either, I could barely walk more than a few minutes so riding a bike was totally out of question! I ended up spending the day totally miserable in my bed. To make matters worse I had booked my dives for the next day and I was getting quite worried I wouldn’t be in any shape to go out on a boat by then. Luckily my condition started slowly to improve and by the late afternoon I was already able to walk to the town center to grab some quick dinner. To be fair, I had to lay down for a while in the park to feel well enough for the return walk, but at least things were improving!

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