Hiding from the Heat and Dreaming of the Sea

A heat wave has hit, and I’m cowering in the shadows with the shades drawn, grateful that our home tends toward the cool.  I dislike hot weather, although I do handle it better than I did back when I had actual hormones coursing through my body, heating things up. I have to go start closing windows here, shortly, to hold back the heat. Air-conditioning is something we left behind in the U.S. Mostly it’s unnecessary. Perhaps even more than heat, I hate being closed up, so I don’t miss the A.C. too much. Yet.

After reading about how we just had the hottest October on record, worldwide, and 2015 looking to be the hottest year, I’m actually quite frightened. I lean more toward The Day After Tomorrow version of the end. You can always put on another sweater, but there are only so many clothes you can take off in public before getting arrested. Besides, I hear that hypothermia is one of the more pleasant ways to expire.

Even without the excess heat, it’s odd to see Christmas decorations and hear Frosty the Snowman playing in the Queen Victoria Building. We’re joining some other American immigrants next week for Thanksgiving dinner. I really hope it’s not too hot to bake the pies I’m in charge of. In a “we’re not in Kansas anymore” moment, it finally occurred to me that my husband doesn’t automatically get next Thursday off.

~

I’ve fallen behind on beach photos, so here ya go!

Collins Flats (1 of 1)

Several weeks ago, we visited Collins Flat beach, over on the harbor side of Manly. I have to say, that while we did manage to have a relaxing afternoon, I wasn’t impressed. The beach was somewhat littered, and the water smelled like fuel from the boats. Hmmm.  Not what I want on my skin, thank you. There are also no restrooms here. I think that only encourages people to pee in the water, something else I don’t want on my skin.

Manly (6 of 56)It was fun to watch the ice cream boat come in! Perhaps it would have been even more fun to eat ice cream, but I think we were attempting to be healthy that day. It didn’t last long, if I remember right; I think we stopped for burgers and beer on our way back to the ferry.

Manly (5 of 56)It’s always fun to watch the little ones! They don’t have to worry about catastrophic climate change yet.

Manly (4 of 56)I couldn’t watch these guys, though. I was sure someone was going to break their neck.

Manly (3 of 56)Don’t you wonder what people’s stories are? I hope those bruises came from learning to surf or extreme tango.

Manly (1 of 56)I like rocks. Massive rocks that say, “I am the Earth! I am your mother! Why do you kids have to cause so much trouble? I brought you into this world and I’ll take you out.”

 

Sunny Memories

We are in the death grip of winter down here, and while I am grateful that there is no snow on the ground (there was frost this week in some local areas) and it is not 104°F like I heard it was back in Utah last week, it is cold here.  And it is damp.  That’s the worst of it.  The damp breeds mold, which even after obtaining a dehumidifier I’m still cleaning off the ceilings and walls.  Apparently wicker is extra susceptible to mold.  I didn’t know this.  I do now, and have had to dispose of a favored straw tote, three perfectly good wicker baskets that I used for organizing my art and craft supplies, plus a large wicker clothes hamper.  I discovered them all yesterday looking like something forgotten in the nether regions of the refrigerator.

As the sky threatens more rain, I’m choosing to remember a warmer, sunnier day when we journeyed south to Bundeena.  Come on; let’s go!

Bundeena-(1-of-16)We took the train down to Cronulla, on the coast, and from there hopped a small ferry across the water to the village of Bundeena.

Bundeena-(2-of-16)How would you like to live there?

Bundeena-(4-of-16)We walked through the village, skipping the Sunday Art Trail this time around, on our way to the beach and coastal walk.  Along the way, we discovered this poinsettia tree.  Can you imagine those potted Christmas-time plants you buy getting this big?  I was always lucky if the leaves would even stay on.

Bundeena-(5-of-16)Royal National Park, established in 1879 is the second-oldest national park in the world.  Bundeena sits right up against the park, and the coastal walk cuts through the forest.

Bundeena-(8-of-16)It was exciting to view rock carvings created by the Dharawal people, the first inhabitants of the area.

Bundeena-(10-of-16)It was easy to imagine the Dharawal people looking out over a similar landscape.

Bundeena-(11-of-16)Peering back at the village.

Bundeena-(12-of-16)The views were food for the soul.

Bundeena-(14-of-16)We made our way to the point of Jibbon Head that looks out to sea.  Gazing out in the distance, I saw a patch of water that was behaving differently than the water around it.  Then I realized it was a whale tail!  Soon after we saw spouts.  Our first and only whale spotting was a spiritual experience for me.

[An aside – we went on a whale watching cruise a couple weeks ago.  It was a rainy, stormy day, but the boat was going out anyway, and we were game.  We didn’t see a single whale, but we did have a whale of a roller coaster ride in that boat, riding up and down the waves!  Some people didn’t enjoy the ride quite so much. The cruise company gave us vouchers to return again in hopes of seeing whales.  We’re going to try again this Friday. ]

Bundeena-(16-of-16)As the sun set on a beautiful day, we made our way back to the ferry.  While on the ride back, we were discussing options for eating dinner in Cronulla or back in Balmain.  A woman sitting beside us said, “oh we’re going to dinner in Cronulla; come with us!”  Australians are just so cool.

A Mother’s Day Excursion

Palm Beach(12 of 13)Continuing in my effort to visit every single beach in the Sydney area, and to document each and every wave, we set off on Mother’s Day to visit our primordial mother, the Sea.

bus tripOur adventure began with a ferry ride to Manly, where we picked up a bus going north, with one quick transfer.  It was about an hour’s ride along the coast, with gorgeous water views along the way, interspersed with woodsy areas and homes surrounded by trees and gardens.  I noticed the air change as we traveled north; it took on a woody aroma.

Palm Beach5 of 13)We took the bus as far as it would go and landed at Palm Beach.

Palm Beach13 of 13)Our original plan had been to hike up to Barren Joey Lighthouse,

Palm Beach(11 of 13)but there were no waves up there!

Palm Beach (9 of 13)I’m pretty sure between the two of us, we took about seventy-five million photos.

Palm Beach(7 of 13)Don’t get your camera wet!

Palm Beach (2 of 13)While a little chilly for swimming, it was still a beautiful day for the beach.  In contrast to Bondi and other more popular beaches, this one was mostly deserted.  There were a few families there picnicking and playing in the sand.  I got overly nervous about little kiddos too close to that surf.

Palm Beach(3 of 13)This sneaky fellow was pretending he wasn’t just snooping through our bags!

Palm Beach (10 of 13)It was one of those perfect, peaceful days when you can just feel the serotonin whooshing through your brain and you thank the Universe for putting you here.

Are you tired of beaches yet?

On Finding One’s Strength and a Quick Trip to Bondi Beach

Bondi Beach (3 of 7)I have a dream of learning to surf.  On our very first beach visit here, I formed an image in my head of a woman, about 60-65 years old, walking along the beach in her wetsuit, carrying her surf board, with her long, sea-water-soaked, grey hair flying.  That woman is future me.

I was thinking about this dream the other day.  Thinking about the practicality of this dream, and coming to the conclusion that given my age, fitness level, and the time we’ll have here by the ocean, maybe this is more of a fantasy.

At that moment, I felt future me’s heart break in two.  How could I just dash her dreams like that?  I felt her reach back through time, pleading with me.  I was being so unfair.  I continued to ponder all this, weighing reality against wishful thinking, and reminding myself that just because today I have one reality doesn’t mean that can’t change.

Now I don’t know if I’ll ever really get to learn to surf.  I do know that I have lots of ocean waves I can play in while I’m here.  AND, and this is the most important truth I came to, even if I don’t learn to surf, that image of the strong woman with her grey hair and surf board can be a power symbol I can use to focus on in visualizing success in attaining my goals.  She can be my guide.

I’m not going to let go of the dream of surfing.  I’ll start by taking this course next summer, then move on to this one, and build from there.

I’m curious, what kinds of symbols, imagery, or positive self talk do others use to help spur them on in their goals?  Please share; don’t be shy.

Here are some quick pics of our visit to Bondi Beach:)

Bondi Beach (1 of 7)

Bondi Beach (7 of 7)

Bondi Beach (6 of 7)

Bondi Beach (4 of 7)

Three Month Mile-marker and Another Beach

It’s hard to believe, but we have been in Sydney for just over three months.  It feels both like we just got here and like we’ve been here forever.  Our shipment has still not arrived.  Well, let me rephrase that; it hasn’t been delivered to us.  Our bed and my kitchen is in Sydney.  In quarantine.  They do that.  It should be released soon and I’ll be doing a happy Christmas-in-May dance while I unpack the boxes and discover just what I put in there besides a bed and cooking utensils.

It’s been weeks since I’ve posted here, I know.  I’ve been up to something I’m sure.  Let me see…. we’ve been visiting and been visited by fun friends.  We had our first American sort-of-guests.  Our Utah friends’ son and his girlfriend borrowed our floor.  Unfortunately for them, they arrived the week of the worst storm in a decade here.  For three days we had gale force winds and rain falling in sheets from the sky.  I’ve seen Texas rainstorms, Iowa rainstorms, and blizzards from Utah to Wisconsin, but I’ve never seen a storm like this one.  We are still trying to dry out in here.  I had to wipe the walls down, it was that wet.  Thankfully the sun came out again.  At last.

I’ve been in a really good writing zone, finished two short stories.  The rain helped with that!  Nothing like being shut up for days to get you in the writing mood.

It’s been over a month now since I’ve been to a beach!  This Sunday is looking promising.  I do hope so, because I’m having withdrawals something fierce.  So, on that note, I’ll share more of March’s beach visits with you!

Coogee and Wylie's Baths (9 of 13)I set out one day to visit the McIver’s Baths at Coogee (I love the names of places here!), the only remaining women and children only ocean pool.  Wouldn’t you know, I went on the day they were revamping the pool.  So, I trekked on down a ways to Wylie’s Baths.  I did have to pay $4.80 to get in, but it was worth it.

Coogee and Wylie's Baths (7 of 13)The pool is located just south of Coogee beach in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.  It sits in the rocks overlooking the open sea.  There is plenty of room to sun yourself, and there are also shady spots with rocks, benches, and even chairs to lounge upon.

Coogee and Wylie's Baths (1 of 13)It was a warm day and the water was perfect.

Coogee and Wylie's Baths (5 of 13)It fit my specifications because I could swim laps (ha ha!) and watch the waves.

Coogee and Wylie's Baths (4 of 13)The bottom of the pool was a bit rough.  I discovered I’d drifted into more shallow water when I scraped the top of my foot across the rocks.  Oh and apparently a sea urchin.  I found the tiny tip of a spine sticking out of my toe when I got home.

Coogee and Wylie's Baths (11 of 13)You can’t deny it’s a beautiful setting, though.  As I was walking back to the bus, I kept having to stop for one more peek at the views.

Coogee and Wylie's Baths (12 of 13)A smaller ocean bath is situated just off of Coogee Beach.  This one appears to be free admission.  It is a lot smaller.

Coogee and Wylie's Baths (13 of 13)Having a tough time tearing myself away from the water, I stopped to watch the surfers and swimmers at Coogee Beach before I left.  (Shh!  Don’t tell anyone, but I have a secret fantasy of being an old lady surfer one day.)

I only have one more beach up my sleeve to share with you.  I should do that before Sunday, because I have every intention of taking advantage of the $2.50 travel cap and adding another beach to my collection.  I seriously doubt we’ll be swimming!

A Trip to Shelly Beach

manly and shelly beach (1 of 12)Our journey to Shelly Beach began with a ferry ride, another perk of visiting the northern beaches.  I fully support adding as much water to the day as possible and the views from Sydney Harbour are enchanting.

sailboats (1 of 1)Does this look like work or fun to you?

manly and shelly beach (3 of 12)Shelly Beach is a short walk south of Manly Beach, with some interesting views along the way.  This fellow was doing push ups.

manly and shelly beach (4 of 12)I was curious and concerned about these padlocks and especially the pacifiers we saw attached to the fence along the way.  A Google search after returning home allayed my fears.  The locks are love locks, a tradition, according to Wikipedia, dating back to WWI in Serbia.  Today, young lovers (or old, I suppose) attach the padlocks as both a proclamation of and a talisman to protect their love.  The pacifiers seem to be from couples hoping for babies.

manly and shelly beach (5 of 12)All kinds of folk visit Shelly Beach.   Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve is there along the walk.

manly and shelly beach (7 of 12)While Manly Beach has its surf, Shelly’s waters are more calm.  It’s a protected cove with mellow waves.  (Lisa, it’s good for families and others who don’t want to drown.)

manly and shelly beach (6 of 12)There is a lot of interesting stuff going on at both Shelly and Manly beaches.  This guy and his mate were showing off for their female companions.  They raised their bodies into the air using only their upper body muscles.  They didn’t jump into this position; they slowly lifted themselves up.

manly and shelly beach (9 of 12)This area is popular with scuba divers and snorkelers.

manly and shelly beach (8 of 12)The Fairy Bower pool is situated between Manly and Shelly beaches.  We didn’t go in here, but it looked fun.

manly and shelly beach (10 of 12)These young naturalists were having an exploration.

manly and shelly beach (11 of 12)Now I have to say, this fellow wasn’t displaying very manly behavior to those cold waves.  Ok, I’m just mean, but really, if you’re gonna wear a suit like that (excuse me, bathing costume) you need to live up to the hype.

manly and shelly beach (12 of 12)Another one to be filed under “only in Australia”.  This lady managed to completely change out of her clothes and into her swimming costume all underneath that blue wrap, without flashing anyone.  I was impressed.

manly and shelly beach (2 of 12)I still have photos from Bondi Beach and Coogee, and there are so many more beaches to visit!  It’s starting to get a bit cool for swimming, but whale watching season is coming and we have our whale cruise tickets ready.

More Sydney Beaches – Bronte Beach

Bronte Beach (15 of 20)After being landlocked for so many years, I find I cannot get enough of the sea. Craig calls me obsessed as the weekend rolls around and I say, “oh guess where we’re going, honey!”  You can travel all over the damn place here on a Sunday for no more than $2.50 for the entire day. That’s a lot of beaches to visit, and I’m working on seeing them all.

Bronte Beach (13 of 20)A few weeks ago, we went to Bronte Beach, one of the beaches of the eastern suburbs.

Bronte Beach (19 of 20)It was a windy day, with lots of surf.  We thought we’d just dip our toes in.  After being slammed into the sand a few times, I insisted I’d had enough!  As much as I wanted to swim, I knew that was beyond my abilities.

Bronte Beach (10 of 20)Those waves belonged to the surfers.

bronte calm (1 of 1)After getting ourselves settled in the sand, we noticed that further south down the beach was this more sheltered area.  There is a rock break that helps create the larger waves to the north of it, while holding back the surf to the south end of the beach.  It was perfect for floating and bobbing in smaller, more manageable waves, great for families with children and others who would rather not drown.

Just on the other side of this is a salt water lap pool built into the rocks.  We didn’t swim there, and for some odd reason I didn’t even take a photo of it.  I was too busy watching the waves from a safe vantage point!

Up next – Shelly Beach:)

 

 

Trip to Manly Beach

trip to Manly Beach (17 of 18)“I must go down to the seas again; to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by” ~ John Masefield, Sea Fever

Opera House (1 of 1)I got my first glimpse of the Opera House last Sunday, as we rode the ferry to Manly Beach.  Unfortunately, there were too many heads in the way to get a good photo.  This will do for now!

trip to Manly Beach (1 of 18)My favorite “fellow-rover”. He got some great photos!

trip to Manly Beach (4 of 18)The view from the ferry was lovely.  On Sundays, you can travel all over by bus, train, and ferry for a maximum cost of $2.50 with the Opal prepaid transport card.  That’s a good deal!  Many others were traveling to Manly that day, as it was the Australian Open for surfing.

trip to Manly Beach (9 of 18)This little guy is inspecting a pile of jelly fish.  Another helpful young man was going around with his shovel, picking them up and placing them in a marked off area so people wouldn’t get stung.  Luck was definitely on my side; as I stepped from the water, I felt the slightest sting, just as I glanced ahead to see this collection.  I think one must have just barely brushed my foot.  I got away easy; I saw what happened to a small child who didn’t.

trip to Manly Beach (13 of 18)These guys were fun to watch with their soccer ball.  They bounced that ball off their heads, hips, knees, and never touched it with their hands.

trip to Manly Beach (14 of 18)

trip to Manly Beach (15 of 18)I couldn’t help but notice a relaxed attitude toward beachwear.  I saw women much older than myself, and not what I’d call fit, wearing bikinis.  It got me wondering about how body image issues are experienced here.  After asking around and paying attention to what I saw in the media, it became apparent that while the same media messages are being sent, and people do have body image issues, with the beach culture here people are simply more relaxed and uninhibited.  I will not be putting on a bikini any time soon and most likely never.

trip to Manly Beach (18 of 18)“And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.”
~ John Masefield, Sea Fever

I may or may not disappear for a few days if I lose internet.  We may or may not be moving into our new place this weekend and apparently it will take awhile to get the internet hooked up.

Anyway, you have a great weekend!