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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Animals and a Wreck: Sunshine Coast

After two days on the Gold Coast I headed North again, this time for the Sunshine Coast. I stayed in a Hostel in Mooloolaba, from where I made a day trip to Australia Zoo, renowned as the former home of Steve Irwing, the Crocodile Hunter, and for its large collection of indigenous animals.

I had a great time patting a Koala, watching Cassowary, Kangaroos, Koalas, Dingos and other animals. The highlight was the Wildlife Show at noon, where they tried to feed a whole (dead) pig to Mossmann, one of the biggest Saltwater Crocodiles in the Zoo. However, Mossmann was not willing to feed in public and was instead playing with the pig! After a while the trainers got hold of the pig again and tried to simulate a death struggle with a rope tied to the pig, Mossmann did not give up there and showed us three death rolls, nevertheless, once the pig was "dead", he still wasn't willing to feed. Still, this was a great experience!

The second reason for staying at Mooloolaba was the wreck of the ex-HMAS Brisbane, a former warship sunk on purpose to form a natural reef. This means that it is possible to penetrate the wreck and explore its interior. Even though the visibility was very limited, only five meters in very murky water, we still saw many interesting features of the ship as well as marine life. The most surprising thing was that there were beautiful Soft Corals growing inside the wreck! Unfortunately, we had a very inexperienced diver with us, and thus we had to end the first dive after 30 minutes :( (I had more than half a tank left at the surface!). So for the second dive I buddied up with the third, more experienced diver, and we went our own way. And so I ended up leading my first dive, on a dive site I have only seen once! We penetrated the wreck in three separate places, unfortunately not finding the engine room, but I did find the way back to the correct mooring line and the boat (which in the poor visibility wasn't that easy) and even though the dive had to end after 40 minutes it was still a great experience! If I happen to visit Queensland again, then a trip to the ex-HMAS Brisbane will definitely be on my itinerary again!

More pictures can be found in my web album.

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