We travelled to the city via train on Wed. The best, cheapest way to see it. It was just a 10 min walk from our campsite. Over the city harbour bridge, you could see Sydney, shining in the sun. It’s a big harbour and we only visited the immediate – the Opera House, the Rocks (old town) and a quick trip to Manly for a little beach time and a pub crawl. The Opera House, it turns out, shines in the sun with what looks like some modern construction material. But it’s just covered with tiles, mat and shiny, like you might use in your bathroom. Granted, there are lots of them and in a nice herringbone pattern, nothing like the tiling job Leon and I did in Langley. And the concrete work is a masterpiece of engineering.
So on we went to Manly Cove for a quick beer in a German Bier Garden (nothing like Munich). Then a short walk to Manly Beach for a long walk on the sand. It is lovely, but not quite as special as Bondi Beach, in my opinion. Still, we enjoyed the walk and another cocktail at the bar right above the beach, with terrific views.
Back on the ferry to return to the city, we met a nice lady who explained to Leon that the nets on the swimming beaches were indeed to protect against sharks. Leon was curious as to why the surfers don’t seem worried or protected in the same way. She assured us that the nets were out there, but further out and hidden from our sight. Leon was somewhat reassured. However, he was not prepared to swim unless there was a large amount of people in the water that might be more appetizing snacks for sharks. And so, although we were at a lovely beach yesterday called Blacksmiths, all full of noisy sand and all, he refused to consider swimming as so few people were on this lovely stretch. He surmised that the locals knew it was not safe to swim in the shark infested waters.
As we checked in to our campsite in Fingal Shoal, he asked the lady at the reception if any sharks had been sighted lately, since she had just told us about the dolphins and penguins in the area. She seemed taken aback, not sure if he was teasing her. Leon was equally confused when she said there was a shark a few weeks back. It turns out (we found out today at our current site here in Yamba), that Nelson’s Bay (near Fingal Shoal) had been the site of a shark attack 3 weeks ago. Our current campsite host told us her husband and son, both surfers, spotted a huge great white shark just this week in the bay, along with the remains of a dolphin. Hummm, Leon’s shark fears seem to be a reality.
We decided last night to drive further north to Brisbane, even though the weather has warmed up nicely since Sydney. I’ve seen and walked along enough beaches in the past 4 days to satisfy me. Leon decided that he wanted to see some Canadian expat friends a few days ago, but was not clear on his intentions until last night, when he voiced his frustration over my not trusting his judgment over the ripeness of persimmon fruit. But I digress…
Having solved the persimmon resentments and decided to venture north, we set off early this morning, after a walk on the beach (where the girl was attacked by a shark 3 weeks ago). A lovely morning, still no sharks, dolphins or penguins in sight. We drove about 500km until we stopped for the night in the small town of Yamba. It’s a nice campsite but the mosquitos live here a little too happily, along with a million or so lorikeets. Well maybe a hundred or two. It must be the date palms that attracts them. Leon figures they are hyper from all the sugar they get from the fruit trees. You can judge for yourself from the video he took.