Holy big bats, Batman!

Location: Uluru/Cairns

Today was our last day in Uluru. We didn’t make our way out to the park today, but instead caught up on some needed sleep and viewed the rock from a distance. We did some light shopping, got lunch and prepared for our flight to Cairns.

The flight to Cairns was uneventful. We arrived into Cairns in the evening and immediately noticed three big differences that set it apart from central Australia: 1) It was very humid, 2) It was extremely green, lush and full of life, 3) It had a coastline. The city 10,000 ft view reminded us of many of the lush tropical island we visited a few weeks ago. Ryan was very happy to be in the tropics. Rachel mentioned that she now had to mind her frizzy hair.

The biggest surprise awaiting us were the huge bats that make the city home. Ryan first spotted one not far from the airport. It’s wingspan seemed nearly a meter long! Aside from the distinctive wing profile, it could have been confused for a great sea-bird. When we were dropped off at our hotel, we noticed numerous colonies flying around the city.We googled it and learned that the creatures are actually the Spectacled Flying Fox and that they are common to the area. No need to worry about them though, they like to eat fruit and nectar, and more importantly we don’t have a car to park under one of their trees.  Fun fact: unlike most bats, flying foxes (aka megabats) don’t have echolocation and instead rely on the traditional senses to get around.

Flying foxes
Flying foxes
Flying fox
Flying fox
The flying fox parade?  Hundreds (maybe thousands) of these fly around Cairns every night.
The flying fox parade? Hundreds (maybe thousands) of these fly around Cairns every night.

The rest of the night was spent at the hot tub and enjoying the fact that we have internet access again (yay!!).

Later that night, Rachel played around with her camera and put on the x1000 zoom lens.  Aiming at Jupiter, we were able to see two of Jupiter’s moons (Callisto and Ganymede). Strangely enough, we didn’t think to try this at home when we first got the big lenses. Ryan only realized the previous night that the lens was about the same size as what Galileo used for his telescope.  Rachel was not able to get a good picture because the exposure time needed required a computer to track Jupiter’s movement and move the camera automatically.  These are available with telescopes, and maybe one day we will invest and get more into astrophotography.

Tomorrow we see, snorkel and dive the Great Barrier Reef!

Word drops: 1

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