Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Hyams Beach - Boogie Boarding and Our First Shark Sighting!

After returning from our trip to Sydney - we decided that we needed to make our way to the beach and enjoy some more of the beautiful sun and sand that we have nearby. 

Liam and Bryce were keen to return to Hyams Beach - because of the fun they had exploring the rocks near the beach. Little did they know that they would have WAY more fun trying out the Boogie Boards left for them by Stephanie and John when we arrived in Oz. There were some really good waves coming in and it wasn't very busy at all. A perfect time to give it a go!

They did a really good job of watching the waves and deciding when it was time to jump on and let the wave bring them in to shore! 

Pretty sure they both swallowed a lot of salt water, too. 

An incredible beach!


Liam and Bryce doing their best "Mitch Buchannon" impersonation!

So, I brought the binoculars with us to see if I could spot any marine wildlife in Jervis Bay while we were setup on the beach. I say to Chy, "It's really weird that there are NO boats on the water right now - must be because it's rough right now." And she replies, "It's really weird that NO ONE is in the water right now. Look at the beach! What's going on?"

Sure enough, a couple of sharks were spotted really close to the shore and everyone had to get out of the water to keep safe. Likely, bronze whaler sharks - apparently they hunt for fish along the coast at times (better fish than us!)

It made for a memorable afternoon!

Just like everything else in this amazing country...it seems with incredible beauty comes danger!

You can see just a bit of the shadow of the shark in this photo (follow the hand pointing)

It certainly helps to have a beach with other people around - 
that way someone else can spot it before it gets close to you, I guess:)

Another Sydney Weekend - Exchange Conference and Climbing the Bridge

Our weekend was filled with excitement! 

A train ride, exchange teacher's conference, dinners out in the Rocks and Darling Harbour, a Sydney Harbour cruise and climbing to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. 

Another eventful outing in the Big Smoke!

Climbing up to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge!

We took the train from Wollongong ("The Gong") to Town Hall Station near the Royal Victoria Building (very posh!)

A cool name for a train stop - but the waterfall wasn't AT the station unfortunately 
(another great name nearby is Fairy Meadow)

The Chinese Lunar New Year Celebrations were in full swing! (Lots of people wearning red as we walked around Darling Harbour (for good luck)

The view from just outside the Indian Restaurant where we had a terrific dinner.

We took a "lover's walk" with Valentine's Day lights and hearts still on display. For dinner, I believe we may also have had some "lamb shanks" - everything but "zee hot-tub!"

As we walked around, we noticed some bright, red lights coming from the square - so we ventured over and come up on this amazing display!

Chy is looking forward to HER YEAR (Year of the Sheep/Goat)

A lovely walk!

This is the walkway over the highway from Darling Harbour back to our hotel - the Park Royal is just to the left in the skyline. 

The next morning, we walked to the Exchange Teachers Conference at the Department of Education building (30 min walk). On the way, I spotted this fountain in downtown Sydney and immediately recognized it as the fountain in the "Woman in the Red Dress" scene of "The Matrix." Very Cool!  

A grand bulding!

New South Wales seems to be focused on the same kinds of things that we are exploring in Ontario's education right now. In fact, when I speak to educators over here - they have very complimentary things to say about our Ontario teachers and Education system! Great to hear!

A huge cruise ship in the harbour where we will depart for our Sydney Harbour Cruise 
(our ferry was a little smaller:)

We made our way to the Rocks and enjoyed a historic piece of Sydney at our own pace. 

The Orient Hotel was where we had dinner and drinks with a large group of exchange teachers and returning Aussie exchangees! The conversations were alot of fun! We spent a good part of the night speaking to teachers from all over Canada, the US and Australia. Can't wait to catch up again with Jean from Dildo, NFLD! (and maybe get screeched in properly sometime down the road!)

Before dinner, we had a well-deserved beer at a German Beer Garden in the Rocks 
(and a fresh pretzel!)

The city lit up at night is incredible!

We'll be climbing you tomorrow!

The view from our breakfast table at the Park Royal Hotel

Unique building designs 

Later, on the bridge climb, our guide told his that he reckons Aussies are the only country that eats their Coat of Arms! Kangaroo and Emu -  yummy!

The Cricket World Cup is happening right now

The history of this city is so intriguing! 
The 'more recent' settlement of Australia by colonials did not happen that long ago (under very unique circumstances) - but the physical environment and aboriginal history is among the oldest in the earth's and human history!

Our 4-hour Habour Bridge Cruise is ready to depart

The "Lanterns of the Terracotta Warriors" are another example of the 
Lunar New Year spectacle in Sydney right now

Having a great time on the water and able to see even more views of the Sydney landmarks

Another great photo with a world-renowned landmark! So lucky! 

Cockatoo Island (where the bad boys were sent in the colonies early beginnings!)

Now, you can camp there in tents and enjoy a piece of Sydney history.

This is where we are gearing up for our bridge climb and realizing just how far up it will be! 

Great views of the city skyline from the harbour

A Canadian Flag flying in the Sydney Harbour?!? 
Lots of cheers from the Canadians aboard the cruise when we saw this! We got a big wave, too!!

The Anzac Bridge

Impressive ships outside the National Martime Museum

Others on the "express" walk of the Harbour Bridge

A popular thing to do in Sydney! 

 Can't seem to take too many photos of the Opera House - it is so inspiring from every angle!

Sydneysiders are a very proud people for sure! (and should be!)

The tour guide announced that there had been some little penguins spotted in the harbour right near us. Hard to see - but they're in the photo below.


We made our way for a beach picnic lunch

Great to connect with other 'like-minded' people about the life of an exchangee in Australia. Thanks to the Exchange Teachers League for planning such great events!

These kookaburras were swooping in and stealing people's sub sandwiches right out of their hands! They're bad! (but we love the calls they make)

A brief stop at the Sydney Harbour Bridge Exhibition to learn about the history 
(while we waited for our time to climb!)

We survived the climb - and there was only 1 other person in our group (she was from Scotland) - 
which made it really relaxed and personal. 
Thanks to Alessandro (our bridge climb guide) for making it a great memory!