Location: Townsville

Today was quite the eventful day; full of lots of activities and fun. I was shaken awake at a brisk 5:30 A.M., and we started the day off with some yogurt and assorted cereals. It was now that we’d have to say goodbye to our temporary home, the Eureka II, and set off on land once again. We thanked and said goodbye to our skipper and mate and set off. We lugged our bags up to a taxi and drove over to the bus stop to get on our Greyhound Bus. I have never been on a Greyhound Bus before, so this was going to be a cool new experience. I hopped on with my ticket and assigned seat and got comfy for our ride. What came next was five long hours of uncomfortable sleep and sitting, but it seemed to go pretty fast. We arrived at our destination, Townsville, around thirty minutes early, so we had some time for a bathroom stop. Then, we took another short taxi to our next temporary living space, Civic Guest House. We got some time to unpack before our main event of the day: the aquarium and turtle hospital! My group and I were particularly excited to see some of the Australian marine life up close. We saw all types of fish, including Lionfish, Stonefish, and even sharks! We toured around the aquarium for a short amount of time, and then we got to the exciting part: the turtle hospital. The guide informed us that there were currently two “patients” in the hospital, both of which had been suffering from flotation syndrome, which makes turtles float involuntarily. It’s caused by intestinal blockage, stress, and many other things. It can be lethal to many turtles because it obstructs their ability to dive for food or evade predators or boats on the surface. The guide also showed us some examples of things that had gotten caught in turtles’ intestines, such as tangled fishing line and small pieces of plastic. It was a sad sight to see these animals in such delicate condition, but still satisfying to know that they were healing and would soon be back in the wild. After our visit to the aquarium and hospital, we headed back to the hostel for one of our forums. We prefaced with a short story and had an in-depth group discussion about our values. We shared some intimate stories and ideas, but I feel like we’ve grown a lot closer, and we all really trust each other. We ended with some of James’ famous chili, which by the way was DELICIOUS! Some of the best I’ve ever had. All in all, it’s been a busy day, but we had some great positive experiences together as a group. Now it’s time to get some rest and rejuvenate for tomorrow because it sure holds more exciting things!