January 21, 2007

Sorry about the silence, dear reader.

After the whirl of Asia, where 80% of things you so much as glanced at were stimulating and fascinating, it’s been a bit weird being in Sydney. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a very cool city, but it’s a place where 80% of stuff is strangely familiar – right down to getting on a train and having stops like Sydenham and Holsworthy.

We’ve had a great time getting to know the city, staying in different areas, hanging out with friends and family (my sis lives there, my folks are visiting), but I’m finding it hard to sum up my feelings about the place.

In the meantime, we’re in Byron Bay, charring our skins, dipping in the Tasman sea and eating instant noodles (yuck) to keep the budget down. Then I booked a dive, just to put the budget up again. But hey, if you’re in these places, it’s a shame to not take advantage of them – I’d have been kicking myself when back in sarf London if I hadn’t done this dive.

Julian Rocks, a few kms off beach at Byron, is a Marine Reserve, and with good reason. After some theory and pool-based refreshment of my diving (I’ve got a Padi Open Water, but haven’t dived since 2001), we head off through the feisty surf to the rocks. Even though the visibity was down due to the wind today, we saw some amazing stuff. I’ve been desperate to see rays and turtles for years – and lo, both were there in abundance today, including a few huge specimens of both. A vast eagle ray soared above us, while later on a similarly large bull ray passed us by on the bottom. There were also myriad sting rays, those cool beasties who’re suffering something of a vendetta in Oz after the death of Steve Irwin.

As for turtles – saw some good-sized green turtles, then a massive loggerhead, grazing teh weeds on the rocks on the bottom in a decidedly bovine fashion.

We also saw sharks – specifically the freaky wobbegong shark:

wobbegong shark.

The most novel sight of all was a turtle seemingly asleep on top of a kipping wobbegong…


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