Down Under With Ciara Michel: Part Two

Down Under With Ciara Michel: Part Two

April 15, 2008

<?xml:namespace prefix=”st1″ ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags”?>University of Miami’s senior middle bocker  is about mid-way through her semester abroad in Australia and has another update from UM’s all-time blocks leader. She began attending classes at MonashUniversity in Clayton, Victoria — a suburb of Melbourne – in early February and will be there through the end of June. This is the second of five posts from Ciara as she will be blogging from “Down Under” the remainder of her stay, giving UM volleyball fans an inside look into her experiences over the coming months….



Hi again Bloggers and Bloggettes!


Well the past few weeks here in Australia have been pretty adventurous for little old me and I spent way too much money but I was up to some pretty cool things. It was the equivalent to spring break over here, even though it’s actually fall, so I took off a week early from school with a group of Americans and flew up to Cairns, which is on the northern coast of the continent. The weather was beautiful. It was a bit touristy for my taste, but plenty of things to do. We booked a trip out to the Great Barrier Reef for the day to go snorkeling and scuba diving, and it was absolutely amazing. The reef itself is gorgeous; the fish are straight out of Finding Nemo, every color, shape and size under the sun. We were also lucky enough to see a few turtles, starfish, octopi, and little harmless reef sharks, which surprisingly didn’t appear harmless or little when I was five feet from them! 


The next day a few from our group went white-water rafting, but three of us went skydiving over MissionBeach. That experience was a little bit of a let down, considering all the build up there is for a 60-second jump. There was a tiny rush immediately after falling from the plane, but after that it’s just a lot of wind in your face. I would definitely do it again, but not for that much money!


From Cairns we flew to the Gold Coast, and stayed in Surfers Paradise, which reminds me a lot of Miami Beach, with high skyrise buildings and shops and restaurants along a road and strip of sandy beach. Contrary to the name, Surfers Paradise was actually not a great spot for surfing, but we did try our luck at boogie-boarding which was fun. One night there, we checked out a small local bar called the Cheeky Monkey, and just as I walked in I looked up at the TV to see none other than our very own Miami Hurricanes Men’s Basketball team playing Texas! I only caught the last couple minutes — tough loss — but still very exciting for me being on the other side of the world to see familiar faces, even if only on the screen.  I guess March Madness is a bigger deal than I thought!


From Surfers we headed to ByronBay, which is a much quainter little town, with a much more laid back atmosphere than the other spots we had explored. Instead of staying in hostels here, we booked a seaside resort, which worked out to about the same price with five of us in a pretty spacious and secluded cabin.  Immediately outside the cabin, we were greeted by enormous spiders and webs, big loud bats in the trees, and even a large python which by the looks of it had just had a pretty big dinner. Then the grounds keepers showed us a picture of a python which was found with a human body inside, so we slept really well that night……The next day we had surfing lessons, and they put us on these huge long boards which make it super easy to learn, and I caught some pretty killer waves dude! Surfing was definitely a blast and I plan on being pretty good when I get back to the states. We took a tour bus the next day to a little town called Nimbin, and hiked up to a waterfall and jumped off about 30 feet high. 


Well that’s about it for now, it was a great spring break but now I it’s time to get back into school mode. I’m going camping for a class field trip coming up so I will keep you posted when I get back. 

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Hope life is good, GO CANES!


G’day mates! 




Check back with for Ciara’s third post from Australia the week of May 11-17.