Sunday, February 12, 2012

Visitor #4 loved it so much he came back for more

Chris's cousin Joe was able to trick his company into another trip down under and we were very excited to show him another great weekend in Sydney.  Since we did all of the touristy stuff like boating in the harbor and wandering around the city the last time that he was here, this time Manly put on their first ASP World Tour Surfing Competition so that he'd have something to do.

Chris and Joe debating their odds in the competition
Although the waves were quite a bit smaller than ideal, the juniors surfing that kicked off the weekend was still extremely impressive and we were lucky enough to see one young grommet score a 9 on a wave.  Added to that, after weeks of relentless rain we also got extremely lucky with some sunshine and only an afternoon thunderstorm which we sat out from the safety of the pub. 

We followed up our pub stop with some more time on the beach, where we saw the girl who's arm was bit off by a shark paddle out and catch a wave without any hassle. If she can do it with one arm, why is it so hard for us to catch them with two??

Are they trying to push me off of the ledge?
The first evening was wrapped up with some beers on the rocks, a yummy steak at Honolulu and some live music back at Murray's.

Shockingly, Sunday morning also dawned bright and sunny so Chris and Joe set out to catch dinner.  Although I'd ordered several kingfish, the obligatory thunderstorm came through before they were able to deliver.

Around 6 pm the clouds had passed and the waves had cleaned up so we brought some beers down to the rocks to watch the surfers.  With the world tour event in town there are a ton of amazing surfers around and there were a lot of great things happening out there.

Once the mosquitos had about sucked us dry we walked back up to the apartment to a spectacular sunset.

Unfortunately Joe is off traveling around to more of Australia - but just remember, this is how nice the sun looks rising over the ocean in the morning...

 You are welcome back any time.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Visitors 5 and 6: Oakley and Amy

Do NOT feed the animals!

 We were very excited to have our first NYC representatives, Oakley and Amy, visiting us for a quick 5 days down under as part of their tour of the region.  After a pretty rainy two weeks the weather played along and gave us some much needed sunshine for our camping trip.  We'd scouted out Cave Beach a few weekends before and were happy to show them how great camping in Australia can be.

About to step on their first deserted Australian beach
Unfortunately along with the sunshine came some pretty impressive winds so we decided that instead of getting sandblasted we'd go back to the main beach.

Bherwerre Beach

Cave Beach

After some relaxing time on the beach some storm clouds rolled in and we hid under the tarp while a quick storm passed leaving us with a rainbow.

Amy was determined to get the perfect kangaroo picture and Chris was happy to help after assuring us that the signs asking you not to feed the animals only apply if you aren't taking a picture.

Anything for the picture
You looking at me?

The next morning was sunny again but the wind was still blasting so we went in search of some adventure elsewhere in the park.

Who needs a fence?
Miles and miles of untouched coastline

How close is too close?

The ruins of the old light house
Turns out that this lighthouse was built in the wrong spot and was full of nothing but issues and tragedy to the point where they actually had to blow up this lighthouse once they built another one.  The sign for this was one of the funniest ones that I've ever seen with a whole section on "woe, disaster and misery".

The new light house is on the headlands behind us

We decided to escape this cursed place and check out another beach that would hopefully be sheltered from the wind.  Steemer Beach turned out to be the perfect solution.  We walked about 45 minutes through the bush to stumble on this gem of a beach.
That 300 meters straight down to the beach was a good deterance from other people

All ours!
A far cry from NYC

 After an awesome afternoon on the beach topped off by some ice cream we headed back to the campsite to judge if s'mores with plain chocolate are better than those with a resees peanut butter cup (more testing will be required).  The s'mores were that much tastier with the fresh graham crackers that they had carried through three countries and customs inspections like heros.

Relaxing as hard as possible

The following morning we had blue skys and sunshine and finally a break in the wind.  We took advantage of that and spent some time in the water catching waves before heading back to Sydney.

The boys enjoying the water

Back in Manly we enjoyed a beer on the rocks overlooking the beach before meeting up with our friends to try our hardest to convince Oakley and Amy that they should stay forever over a few beers at Wharf Bar.

Saturday morning the weather gods decided to smite us a bit and instead of a sunny day of boating on the harbor we woke up to some rain.  Instead of getting soaked all day we decided to ditch the boat and head into the city on the ferry to check out some of the sights.



 Once we'd exhausted the tourist sights we went home to host a farwell bbq.  Unfortunately despite our best efforts Oakley and Amy decided that they did in fact want to continue their trip onwards to New Zealand and Thahiti so we begrudgingly brought them back to the airport on Sunday morning.  Hopefully now they are shivering in winter and wishing that they were back in beautiful Australia in summer time!