Today I woke up a bit later than normal but I wasn’t in much of a rush. I planned on waiting a little while for the friends I made yesterday to respond to my message on Facebook about going to the beach. When I found out they had other plans, I headed out for my own adventure. After stuffing the bare essentials into my backpack including a snorkel and mask, I took the train away from the city. After leaving the train station, I took a bus that led me to Bondi Beach. What an incredible initial view! Now I can see why the Australian beaches are so famous. After eating a sandwich while watching the waves crash into the surprisingly empty beach, I was too full to swim just yet. Since I was dedicating the whole day to the beach life, I wasn’t too concerned about time and decided to begin the walk to Coogee. Thinking back on it, I am surprised I only spent one legitimate day in Sydney. I may have missed out on a few worthwhile sights but I already crossed off the main places I wanted to see and found out I prefer the nature outside of the city bounds compared to the busyness of city life. First off, let me talk about Bondi Beach itself. The Beach is renowned as the most famous beach in Sydney and for good reason. It has clean clear sand with a slight hue of yellow stretched wide across touching both sides of the expansive bay. The sand acts sort of like bleachers to the watery arena before it giving its spectators a show put on by both man and nature. Streams of white glide across the surface of the water gaining strength as they are pulled to the shore by the sand’s magnetic force. Braving these natural beasts that dare approach land, the surfers become one with the flow of the blue and white. I continued my walk weaving in and out, approaching the beach and sand and departing the steep rough cliffs and vice versa. In the distance all I could see was pure water. On land, the rocky cliff face has some distinct features. It is quite impressive over time how water has been able to eat away and cut into the rock creating unique divots that almost resemble dimples on the rock face. All the way at the end of Coogee beach I took a break to cool off in the surprisingly cold waters of the ocean. Leaping over and ducking under waves I moved in deeper and away from the friendly shore as I pursued the beckoning beasts that awaited me. Spotting my chosen foe, I prepared for lift off. I rode those paled giants back towards the shore as I felt them try to suck me in but I held tight becoming one with the wave. I continued this sometimes losing battle to leave the shore but it was well worth the rush and refresher. Wet and energized I began the journey back to Bondi. On the way back, I decided to make use of my snorkel gear. I saw a sign saying that there is a well know scuba path in Gordon Bay but snorkelers use it as well. I once again jumped into the freezing water and looked down carefully for what lay below me. I didn’t see much for the most part, basically a lot of large sea urchins sporting their elongated needles tucked within the rocks and some occasional foot long fish. The only noteworthy sight during this plunge was a four foot long grouper, which I might say was pretty neat. After seeing enough of the same stuff, I climbed out of the water onto a rock outcropping to sit back, relax, and enjoy the sound of the waves and the smell of the ocean while I closed my eyes in perfect peace. I saw another snorkeler get out of the water and chatted him up a bit. I wanted to learn more about what lived in and visited this bay. He told me stingrays frequently feed here and especially around this time of day, I should be able to see them. On one rare occasion, he saw a six or so foot wide stingray where the bay meets the rest of the ocean. Dang, I don’t know what would have run across my mind in that eye opening moment. With that, I thanked him for the advice and hopped back into the unrelenting waters. I kept scanning the sandy bottom not sure what to expect. I kept seeing the same old urchins and fish but I wanted more. Further along as I moved into the bay and closer to the distant shore, I saw something wriggle and flap ever so slightly its outstretched wings, or whatever you want to call them; I now found what I was looking for. I swam deeper and closer to the stingray following its path as it hovered over the sand trying to hide its presence from its prey. What a beautiful creature it is. Eventually I stopped stalking it and tried to see if I could find any others. With a little patience and luck I found a couple more, one especially cheeky, camouflaging itself quite well. The whole underwater experience is so peaceful. You are truly inhabiting another world, intently watching the circle of life. After that adventure, I kept heading back to Bondi Beach. The only things that could possibly distract me from the incredible views that awaited me at the edge of these cliffs were the beautiful women jogging past me on this prime path. I took the return route to Sydney and to my hostel before talking to my roommate Adam. He asked if I was going out and I said sure but not late since I had to wake up extra early for my flight to New Zealand. While I consumed the sandwich that I hastily scrapped together, I chatted with a couple guys from Sweden. We kept chatting until the drinks came out and I experienced the phenomenon called Goon. It is not the name of the drink but I guess it is aptly named; it is the Australian version of cheap boxed wine. Somehow it tasted halfway decent. After drinking enough of that, a good sized group from the hostel including myself left to go to a bar that had a free first drink for backpackers. I heard the bar had three floors but had no idea nor cared to know what could be on the upper floors. The first level had the standard bar setup with the bar on one side and a small area opposite. After that got boring and too crowded, Adam and I as well as a few others climbed to the second floor. This bar was practically the same as the first but this time we were able to get our lemonade vodkas (not my choice; the special had limited options). After that got old, I heard growing talk that there was a silent disco on the top floor. I gave them a confused look since I had no idea what that could possibly be. As it was explained to me, you are given headphones with multiple radio signals (in our case two) from which to listen and the sounds that echoed in your ears came from the DJs that competed for your attention. I walked into the dance area, which was fairly dark, and noticed that my headphones shined a bright neon green. Others came in with the same green or a bright blue; each color had their own sound, so different people could be listening and dancing to different music. The music ranged from hard core raving to easy going music to remixes of classical songs, including a couple from Disney movies. I had an all out blast; I threw my body around not caring how I danced, but then again I’m a pretty good dancer :). It was wild and everyone was getting into it. After exhausting myself, I realized how late it was and joined Adam back to the hostel. I packed up everything and tied up any loose ends before climbing to the top bunk. Adam and I talked for a little while longer and before I called it a night he told me to wake him up in the morning to say goodbye. I thought he was crazy but if that’s what he wanted I would do it. Great mate. Jeez those five days flew by.
Down Under Day 5: Snorkeling, Cliffs, and a Silent Disco