02/27/2009 83 °F
Greg, Jason, and Will have arrived in Sydney. What's the first thing to do? Head to the beach!
I had read the best way to combat jetlag was to begin eating on your new time schedule, get out into the sun so your body knows it's time to be awake, and keep the blood pumping. Dawn and I figured a walk to the beach would keep our new arrivals awake for their first day.
After making a quick stop at the mall for a couple haircuts, we walked the long (and I mean long) way to the wharf. We walked the entire length of downtown, but it was perfect for a first impression of Sydney. Lots of people, lots of walking, lots of new sights kept the guys moving. Our destination was Manly Beach, the closest beach on the north side of Sydney Harbor.
The best part about Manly Beach is the scenic route in which we take to get there. The beaches on the southern side of the harbor are a bus ride through the suburbs with nothing really to see. However, Manly Beach requires a walk through downtown and then a scenic ferry ride across the harbor with awesome views of the Opera House and Harbor Bridge.
Slowly chugging across the ferry you can take in the entire city from the water (the best way to view Sydney). You pass by the naval shipping yard, past the island once used as a base for protecting the harbor, past the huge houses on the north shore, past the zoo, and past the opening to the Pacific Ocean. Sailboats and yachts zigzag in front of the ferry. We even saw a submarine headed back out to sea! We landed on the harbor side of Manly and made our way through the beach town.
While the rest of us were focused on getting to the beach, Jason bolted down the street. He was the first to notice the fountains along the walk to the beach, and before anyone could stop him, he ran right through the middle of them.
Jason didn't just run through the fountains once, twice, or even three times. He repeatedly charged back and forth through the water. Notice that the only other participants were a 4 year-old and a 6 year-old (whom had to dodge Jason as he barreled past them).
After dragging Jason away from the fountains, we made our way to the beach. Manly beach is larger than the beaches south of the harbor (Bondi, Coogee) and has more of the feel of the beaches in North Carolina (long, straight beaches versus beaches lining the inside of a cove). Jason crashed on the blanket, Will made some friends on the volleyball court, while Dawn, Greg, and I took a dip in the ocean.
A good thing about Manly is that portions of the beach are shaded in the afternoon by the giant pine trees that line the beach (which was good since it reduced the chance that Jason would bet burnt after passing out on the blanket). We spent the afternoon relaxing on the beach and catching up on stories from back home.
Once the sun started to set, we made our way back to the ferry for the ride back into the city. A beautiful sunset over the city completed a great day at the beach.