|This morning we woke up at 5:30 and had breakfast at six thirty. We left Yeppoon for a long day of driving. We drove to the Capricorn Caves(I forgot to tell you, we passed over the Tropic of Capricorn). We pulled into the parking lot and got off the bus. We met our cave guide, a very energetic young man who gets up every morning at five to go for a jog. Marie and I were right behind our guide. The caves were limestone caves accessible from the surface. We walked through a cave, up some stairs and across a bridge to an open topped cave where some ferns were growing. Apparently, this kind of fern only grows in three places in the world. In a dry season the fern fronds will turn brown and fall off. These fronds will lie dormant for up to thirty years. If anytime during the thirty years there is torrential rain, the fronds will sprout into a new plants.
We went down steep stairs that reminded me of what the ranger in the Jewel Caves said about the domino effect(see previous trip journal-/wightalaska). We went through a narrow crevice and saw a big Huntsmans Spider on the wall. The boy next to me started freaking out and we quickly climbed the stairs. We then entered the Cathedral Cave where weddings and choir and theatre shows happened. The acoustics in the natural cave were as good as the ones in the Sydney Opera House, and that is saying something. We sang a song and then our guide put on some music and gave us a light show. He ended the light show in total cave darkness. I really wanted to go over to some one and start breathing heavily in their ear and place my hand in front of their face, so when the lights came on they would have a hand over their face. I didn't though, but I really wanted to. We took a picture on the choir steps before moving on.
In the next cave we were given three choices on how to get out; easy, medium, hard. I was going to do hard, but then they said you needed to be able to do a pull up(I can't) and the medium involved commando(army) crawling. Therefore I did easy. Easy was a zigzag path through the rock with low ceilings and only candles to light the way. We were back a long time before the other two groups. I saw a kangaroo up close while it was eating from log surrounded by people. It had a little cute Joey in its pouch. It eventually hopped off. One of the cave staff was holding a carpet python named Andy. I got my picture taken holding him. His skin felt like the croc's and his spine felt flexible and strongly gripped around my hands. Not everyone got a chance to hold it before we had to go.
We drove for a long long time and kept getting slowed down by work areas. It was three by the time we got to the sugar cane farm and we were all starving. We had lunch first. The people there were really nice and there were big chucks running around (chickens). We got on a trailer behind a tractor for our tour. We all got pieces of raw sugarcane to chew on and they were very good. We learned a lot about sugarcane uses and how it's grown. We saw how a cane thresher cuts stalks. The nice man who was giving the tour showed us how they get the sugar juice out of the canes. Every part of the process is used. The dry chaff that has been juiced is used to heat the sugar boilers. Various qualities of sugar are ordered from different countries and when nothing more can be obtained from the mixture, it is returned to the ground as fertilizer. The parts of cane we had dropped on the ground would eventually be covered by dirt and grow into new sugar cane plants because sugar cane is part of the grass family. We finished our tour and got back on the bus and drove to our hotel in Airlie Beach. We had the same roommates as last night and had to sit with them at dinner. After dinner, I hung out with a bunch of people in the chill out room before we got kicked out by Renee. Our rooms had two twins and a bunkbed. I slept on one of the twins.