My little sunburnt angel. Cairns, Queensland, Australia

This is a photo of my wife (Engogirl) having the first decent sleep she has had for the last week or so. We went to bed at 9:30 last night and this photo was taken at 9am this morning.

Engogirl is a real trooper and not a party pooper

Sometimes, travelling can be so exhausting and daunting. We came up to Queensland for a conference in Surfers Paradise, on big dams here in Australia. We thought we may as well go all the way up to Cairns to do a couple of days diving on the Great Barrier Reef (before global warming kills it off) . We also thought it would be a good thing to travel up the coast by train in a sleeper.

What with all the conference schedules and dam tours (or should I say, “tours to dams”?), early train departures and poor sleeping conditions on train and boat, complete with recent strenuous physical activity, we are totally worn out and ache all over. Today we were supposed to be going on a trip up to Kuranda on an old steam train but we both decided that we’d rather sleep in and have a relaxing day resting before we fly back home tomorrow.

Engogirl has been a real trooper over the last couple of days. Unlike me, all this full on travel and outdoor experience thing is still quite new to her.

I grew up near the ocean and learnt how to scuba dive when I was 14 years old back in the days when all you were really told was, “don’t come up faster than your air bubbles”. I couldn’t even tell you how many times I’ve snorkelled and spear fished, because I’ve done so much of it over the years. I also backpacked around various foreign countries for 11 years roughing it, before going home.

Engogirl grew up, a little back from the coast, and going to the beach was not a part of her upbringing. The ocean is still “terra incognita” to her, and uncomfortable travelling hasn’t been on Engogirl’s agenda either. The first time Engogirl had ever snorkelled was on our honeymoon in Bali, four years ago.

Two days ago, my wife tried scuba diving for the first time out in the open ocean about 30km  (about 20 miles) off the coast. Scuba diving isn’t all that difficult but it is a bit disconcerting breathing underwater. “It just ain’t right, I tell ya!” Never mind that the ocean is full of things that can view us a food and there was no land in sight.

I’ve never thought that scuba diving was that interesting and I just went along with Engogirl to keep her company and to reassure her. We did our dive together and Engogirl said to me afterwards that she thought that snorkelling was much better. I so totally agree. So we spent the rest of our time on the reef snorkelling.

I can’t really describe how glorious it is to share amazing experiences with people you care about, but I can tell you that I love it. After two days of diving, it was difficult to get Engogirl out of the water she was loving it so much. There was no more fear or hesitation, just joy and I was glad to be a part of it.

Unfortunately the sun was so hot and Engogirl didn’t put enough sunscreen on the back of her legs and she got a bit sunburnt. To make matters worse she slipped on the deck and barked her shin.

So as I looked at Engogirl sleeping so peacefully this morning I was taken by how strong she had been over the last couple days breaking through various fears, dealing with discomfort and pain. It’s times like this morning when I realise that I married the right woman and I know how lucky I am.