Friday, March 31, 2017

City Tour ~~ Sydney


Here's an early morning look out our 21st floor window.  We are right downtown near restaurants, museums, parks, churches and the bay.  It's a nice day - some wind but not cold.

We left right after breakfast on a coach for a four hour city tour with Brad narrating.  We fun to see and get the lay of the land.  Just wish we had one more day to explore.  (We go to the Blue Mountains and an animal sanctuary tomorrow.)

We went to several very good overlooks and were able to get a ton on good pics with the sun and blue skies completing the look!


Most of you will recognize the Opera House and the bridge!  


The Naval  Yard is pretty much right downtown.  There were 7 large vessels lined up along the dock.


There are many here who have lost hope and find themselves suicidal....  Even among the young people who grew up in well to do homes and attended private schools in the wealthy Rose Bay area where the police department uses Porsches as squad cars!  On the other end of the spectrum,  housing is terrible expensive whether you rent or buy.  It's discouraging to young people.

These are two expensive ($30,000+ a year) girls schools up on the hill overlooking the city.  Sure LOOKS like the good life....


Not far away is a very pretty overlook where many have jumped off the cliff - thus the need for the not for profit Lifeline advertised in the picture above.

Beautiful views in every direction!


Over looking the South Pacific Ocean...

Need to find out what tree this is.  Any ideas?  It is different and catches your eye when you go by.
Across the bay....and just down the path.

The next of the  1200 beaches along the east coast alone...


A pretty old lighthouse on the hill overlooking the city.


The large and busy in the summer Bondi Beach.  The waves were really rolling in.  I was sort of surprised there were no surfers.  We were told the current and under toe is very strong at Bondi Beach.   



They have a huge pool of volunteers who are members of this club and help with thousands and thousands of rescues each year.  People who don't know how to swim come from all over the world and think they can just walk out into the water and be okay.


We drove by this Cricket Club - very popular here.


And here's a lawn bowling club - also very popular right now.

Now this picture takes us back to the beach where I offered to take a picture of a young Chinese couple.  After I took their picture, she wanted a picture of us togethet.  Brought me back to our time in China where many Chinese women wanted to touch my hair and take a picture ...


Our tour director took us to an opal sales room he really likes.  They showed us a video of how opal develop.....tracing it back to old dinosaur bones.  They have some very lovely pieces at some very high prices.


We had some lunch at a very nice food court with a huge variety of choices.  Unfortunately it did not include a slice of  🍕.  Not any to be found.  Ended up with a single serving quiche...


Then we were off for a city bay boat tour.  The driver was very knowledgeable and shared a lot of history with us as he drove us around the bay and up the river in his MAXI Taxi.


The Opera House is stunning at any angle...



This is the governor general's home right across from the Opera House. 

When the boat tour was finished we walked back to the hotel.  A few of us stopped by to see the Cathedral.  It wasn't far from the hotel.

Dinner Cruise tonight was a gift from Go Ahead Tours - because they had to make a couple of changes in our itinerary.  

Views were stunning!


I need to get to more details tonight!!!  

Thursday, March 30, 2017

The ☀️ Came Up

Another pretty day in the tropics!  We are headed to Green Island this snorkel for the morning before we fly off to Sydney.  Green Island is only about 50 minutes out from Cairns in the Coral Sea.
Come join us if you like!

We're sitting on the outside deck to make the journey with Bruce and Pam and most of the tour group.  The ☀️ is shining and the sky is blue.


We're leaving from the dock in downtown Cairns .


The flag is flapping in the wind.


Scenery along the shore looks much like it did yesterday.  Layer upon layer, hills and vales off in the distance.

The water turned color several times on the 50 minute ride out to the Island.


Th Island welcomed us....


The water is a different color wherever you look.


We snorkel in waters like this for about 2 1/2 hours.  We had  lycra suits on to protect us from the very small jelly fish that is in the area this time of year.  It's sting is powerful even tho it's only as big as your fingernail.  Several people have died from it, so the suits are highly recommended.  No pictures available! 😀😀😀


The waters were wavy and the wind increased throughout the morning.  The current took us from one end of the beach to the other.

It was fun even tho we didn't see lots and lots of fish of
or coral.  I did get to see 2 large turtles.  One came flying by me,  swimming away very quickly.  The second was was laying on the bottom as I approached.  I stayed very still as soon as I saw him.  He had a beautiful shell with several colors - no slime or growth on his shell.  When he started to swim away I tried to follow, but he was too fast.  It was a fun encounter.

I don't know tropical fish very well,  but I did see several varieties.  One was a pretty white luminous color and quite long.  There was a school of 12-15 swimming together.    Several others were interesting and pretty but I didn't have an underwater camera and didn't have a chart with pictures and names.  The one big area had white coral that was stunning I also saw some purple coral but mostly it was grassy.

After a short break we went to another area that Brad told us has more coral.  Unfortunately, it was just sandy.  We did see one creature who was white, was long, round and slender - he had a small head with big lips - not a great description but fun to see.  Maybe YOU know what he was.

The current in the big area carried us to the right.  This area carried us to the left toward the open Coral Sea.  When we got out past the break water suddenly the current was very strong.  I had to fight the current and use all my strength to make it to the breakwater.  My calves starting cramping and it was a little scary for a few minutes. But, we made it safely...


This is the catamaran we were on coming and going.  Very nice ~~ we were out in the back deck both times. Nice to be out in the ☀️ 


Here we are on the boat.  My hair was pretty wild in the wind.  

I took a 'fresh water shower' outside and just put clean clothes on for the day.  Most of the rest waited until we got back to the hotel and took a proper shower in the gym locker room, as we had checked  out in the morning before we left.

There was a button on the open shower you had to press to get water.  The young people in front of me were having trouble keeping the water going to rinse all the sand off.  So I showed them, ~~ you just turn around and press the button with your butt and the water keeps flowing nicely.  They laughed!  But it did work!


The views of the Island as we left.  The one above is where the current was so strong - you can just barely see the black iron breakwater...


This beach private - the big swimming/snorkeling area was around the bend.

Cairns welcome us back with a wonderful fluffy cloud.


We finished up the boat ride and went back to the hotel for lunch.  I ate THE biggest hamburger I have ever had.  It was very good.  Andy's chicken wrap was very nice, too.  I should have taken pictures.  I guess I was too hungry to think of it.

After lunch we loaded up the coach and headed to the airport.  We watched those fluffy white clouds developed into Angry 😡 dark storm clouds.  By the time we checked in and got to the gate, the airport was closed.  Evidently Australia has very strict rules about thunderstorms and lightning.  We were delayed - don't know exactly how long - I was checking out the shops ~~  enjoying food/products, wool sweaters, gemstone jewelry, and other clothing as well as souvenirs of various types - all made in Australia.  Was fun to see.

It's a 3 hour flight so I tried to watch "Fences" but dozed through half of it.  I turned down dinner since Brad had already arranged dinner at an Italian restaurant near the hotel for all of us.  Bruschetta, salads, entrees, and tiramisu to top it off.  I also enjoyed another Lemon Lime with Bitters...

We walked from there about 3 blocks to the hotel.
I had better wind this up and go to sleep.  We leave at 8:00 for a city tour by bus, a tour of the waterfront by boat and A dinner cruise in the evening.  At least we will be sitting most of the day!