Climb to safety, safety ....
Mar 17, 2010
|I promise you'll be dry and never be alone
Climb to safety, safety ....
Happy St. Patrick's Day! I'm sitting here in Sydney, Australia in the infamous Kings Cross area watching the two kinds of people in the world go by - the Irish and those who wish they were! Thanks Mom! There are lots of colorful people wandering around and lots of wearin' of the green going on. My friends Pete and Danny are out on a St. Patty's Party Cruise Boat, I'm looking for some corned beef!
I've had another incredible week and have seen and done more then I could ever find the words or the time to type about. I'll do my best to recap it all for those of you travelling along with me via this journal. I have had the pleasure of sharing my adventures with some of you live and in person lately too which has been absolutely amazing. Nothing like familiar faces in unfamiliar places.
When we last met I was driving up the south coast of New South Wales with my friend Kevin. We continued the journey into an area called the Sapphire Coast and stopped in many amazing little seaside towns along the way. The first stop was a place called Bermagui which had the most amazing Blue Pool cut into the rocks along the ocean and is filled to overflowing with each hide tide. We enjoyed dinner overlooking the harbour and headed out the next day to Narooma.
In Narooma the highlight was a walk on the Boardwalk along the river and the bay and the ocean. We saw an abundance of different bird life and in the crystal clear waters we watched Seals play and Sting Rays feed. It was tough to keep moving up the coast as each town was trying to seduce us to stay a while. We spent a night in Ulladulla devouring a delicious meal at Cupitt's Winery and staying at the Traveller's Rest Backpackers. I was trying to ease us into the shared accommodation thing. Sleeping in bunk beds and sharing bathrooms and showers is a bit of a shock to the system when you are used to the Hilton! The practice proved to be a good start because we then drove into Sydney and checked into the Jolly Swagman Backpackers, www.jollyswagman.com.au ,which is a non-stop party hostel in Kings Cross, Sydney.
Our introduction to Sydney - the Jolly Swagman/Kings Cross - was soon followed with a more refined and enjoyable experience. My friends Sarah (from the UK) and Gemma (also from the UK but now living in Sydney) met us for dinner down at the Darling Harbour. We dined at Jordons Seafood Restaurant and had an incredible meal accompanied by a Fireworks Display over the Harbour. I couldn't think of a better way to start our stay in Sydney! The night ended with a walk back to the hostel through a Saturday Night crowd in Kings Cross and it was so interesting that I had to loop back around twice! Think NYC, East Village, early to mid Eighties. Absolutely off the hook crazy! I love a good freak show.
Sunday morning my friends Pete and Danny arrived from Jersey. They too flew half way around the world to join me for a few weeks of this excellent adventure. We all - Kevin, Pete, Danny and I - spent the day taking in Sydney. We walked around Kings Cross then through the city and down to Darling Harbour for a snack and some drinks overlooking the harbour. We then wandered over to The Rocks Market for a look at all the vendors and some lunch and some more drinks. It was then down to Circle Quay for some photos of the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. We caught a ferry to Manly Beach where the Jersey boys got to dip there feet into the Tasman Sea for the first time. After some drinks and cafe and bar hopping we had a nice Thai Dinner. Eventually we managed to catch the ferry back, taking in the sunset and the lights coming alive in the city. A cab ride delivered us to the Jolly Swagman exhausted and with sore feet - it was a 12 hour day of touring around. No stopping though, the boys showered up and out on the town we went. Whew. I'm going to need a vacation after they all leave!
Monday we did manage to catch up on a little sleep which was good because we were going to need it. After a late afternoon Chinese Fire Drill trying to get a Marlin Fishing Trip and a Rent-a-Car booked and the car safely parked we rushed down to The Rocks to meet up with Sarah who joined us all for the famous Bridge Climb. I had booked us all in for the Twilight Tour which found us with 9 other brave souls and a humorous guide to do the climb. After a briefing and signing my life away we got into some really nice grey and blue jumpsuits, strapped on safety belts, head lamps, radio/headphone sets and whatever else they could securely fasten to you (fleece jackets, handkerchiefs, hats, you name it but NO Cameras! they have to be able to sell you the ones they take for tons of money afterwards!). There was a quick training session and off we went. The climb takes you through the inner portion of the bridge and then out underneath the roadway traversing catwalks until you climb up past the car traffic to eventually wind up on top of the steel girders. We then walked to the TOP of the bridge were we watched the sunset over western Sydney. WOW! After our photo session we walked back down watching the city light up before us. This was an experience that I will never forget! To share it with my friends made it that much better. We even wound up with a new friend, Blue (not his real name, we nicknamed him Blue because we had no idea how to pronounce his real name), from Korea who now lives in Vancouver. Blue was in every picture and even joined us for dinner in The Rocks afterwards. Amazing.
After only about 3 hours sleep we jumped up at 3 AM to leave in our Rent-a-Car for Port Stephens which is about a 3 and a half hour drive from Sydney. The directions, or should I say the lack of directions made the trip an adventure but after stopping to watch a spectacular sunrise we found the Marina. Capt. Ross and Mate Emu welcomed us aboard the Broadbill for a day of Marlin Fishing. The ocean was calm and the most incredible blue color I've ever seen. Not long after reaching the fishing grounds Kevin was the first to battle a Marlin. He put up a great fight but unfortunately the line snapped with the fish close to the boat and the Marlin won that round. We had a heck of a long dry spell between fish but I eventually fought a Hammerhead Shark to the boat. After setting the hook it made a run at the boat and then turned and took off for what seemed like a mile. It took a long time to reel that sucker in but I managed it with a minimum of swearing and whining. The day ended back at the marina for the sunset. We didn't catch a Marlin but we had one of the best days of our lives.
So, it is off to find some corned beef and then to bed for me. We have a jammed packed schedule ahead of us. Tomorrow it is off to the Blue Mountains (we need to be on a 5:28 AM train) to go Canyoning and Abseiling down the mountains and waterfalls. Friday we are all taking Surf Lessons. Saturday we are hopping flights to Cairns for a Great Barrier Reef adventure. Pete and Danny are going to get Scuba Certified while I lay at the pool and then we all three are doing a 3 day 2 night Live Aboard out to the GBR. Whew, I need some sleep!
I love and miss you all.