The journey to Sydney!

Today I traveled to Sydney!

The morning I had set the tone for the entire day!! All of my problems wouldn’t have even happened, had I done my research and planned this trip a little better. First, I forgot to put my computer (my alarm clock) on sleep… so the battery died! I was supposed to wake up at 6am and finish packing because I had a taxi coming to take me to the airport at 8am, and that didn’t happen! Jessica woke me up at 7:40 asking if I was okay, which was really sweet of her because I would have missed my taxi!!

I finished packing and got dressed all in the next 20 minutes, and just happened to zip up my jacket just as the taxi driver rang the apartment.

I arrived at Tiger Airways about an hour before check in, just in case I had a problem. Which was good planning because I found out they only allowed 10 kilo’s with carry on bags. My camera case weighs almost 19 kilos, so about forty pounds. That wasn’t going to happen! I refused to check my camera stuff; I’m afraid everything will get broken, or stolen, or lost. So I canceled my flight and had to take another taxi to Virgin Australia, because I learned they had flights going out to Sydney today, when I booked with Tiger.

Now at Virgin Australia. I bought a ticket, and literally after the women ran my card she told me about their carry on rules. Only allowed 7 kilos. Three pounds less than Tiger!? I don’t want to be completely unfair to the women, because she was very helpful and nice, but why the hell would you not tell people that before you run their credit cards? It was painfully obvious my carry on bag was not small or light.

So now I am sitting in front of a scale, literally everything from my camera case is all over the floor and I am repacking everything! The girls said to take out the camera’s and lenses that were heaviest and just hold them on the flight. I guess they don’t want too much weight in the over head bins in case they fall on people’s head. (But I had the same case with the same stuff sitting in the over head on the flight to Australia, so I didn’t really understand why this was such a huge problem).

Once I pulled everything out, we realized my camera case itself weighs 5 kilos (11 pounds). So it was clear I couldn’t pack it in a way to make it cabin safe. I had to check it. I made them put several “fragile” stickers on it and took out my camera bodies. I figured if I had to replace everything, even though it is all insured, those would be the most expensive.

I really care about my camera equipment, so this was super hard to do! Next time I have a domestic flight and I’m carrying this much stuff, I won’t assume the carry on rules are the same for international flights. You live and learn…

The flight was actually really fun. I met some very nice people! The flight attendant was super funny, he loves Seattle and has some friends there. When he found out that’s where I was from in America, he gave me a free chocolate bar that I’m pretty cost like $8. Everyone here is super nice! Whenever I get lost downtown someone is always willing to help, and you can have a conversation with pretty much everyone you meet.

At one point the plane had to go over the ocean, so it could turn around to land. We were pretty close to the water, and I was looking around at the beaches and just in awe of how clear and blue the water is here. This is when I saw them, a huge pod of whales were swimming around below us and I practically threw myself out of my chair to get a better look out the window! It was incredible!!! I’ve never seen anything like it, they were all just free and together and enjoying life. I am so happy I got to see that!

Once I landed I practically ran to baggage claim, it is very obvious that my camera case is for camera gear and I didn’t want someone to steal it. All my stuff was safe and I don’t think anything is broken. I did have to repack all my stuff at baggage claim (because I had messed everything up in Melbourne), but some guy came over and helped me because I was struggling trying to close my overly packed sea bag and camera case.

A volunteer names Mike came and picked me from the airport, thank you Mike!! I am now at the Bob Barker volunteering until the Steven Irwin gets into port. I’ll probably be blogging about once a week from now on because I will be working and most days will be the same.

Looking forward to this new chapter in my adventure! Thank you everyone for being so supportive!

-Elora Malama

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