[Original post by Elliot Mogerman – Transferred from yahoogroups.com]
Mike’s parents came to Sydney for part of their vacation and I met them for dinner at the harbor. Mike ordered barramundi and I had john dori for the first time. I always saw it on hells kitchen and decided to try the famous filet. Mine was so much better than mike’s! The next day we all woke up early and met at the Chinese garden of friendship. It was so beautiful and filled with exotic plant life, lakes, waterfalls, reptiles, and well taken care of. The desserts were not very impressive but the tea was nice. Later that day we visited the Sydney tower after walking through Hyde park. At the tower, we had a great view of Sydney and the surrounding area. There was an attraction we took advantage of called Oztrek. It is similar to star tours in Disneyland and takes the audience for an interactive virtual ride of Australia. After getting jolted around for several minutes we parted ways and I went back to the hostel to prepare for surf camp that weekend.
I finished my Koontz book, by the light of the moon, and strongly recommend it to everyone. Mike’s mom donated another book for me to read and I will be starting that one soon. Then Tamir recommended a book I will be working on afterwards. At 6pm I met the buses and my fellow surf camp friends in front of the Scubar and off we went for a 2 hour ride south to seven mile beach. We ate delicious hamburgers for dinner at a famous Aussie burger joint. The burger with the works has egg, bacon, salad, pineapple, and beats. After dinner we unpacked at a RV slash cabin type camping facility. It had everything you need and was only a few minutes walk from the beach. That next morning at 7am we were in wet suits getting lessons on the sand about standing up on the board. We all received 9 foot boards and were sent into the water. After a few minutes I was standing up and riding the small waves the tide was bringing us. I had my fair amount of crashes by lunchtime. We took a few hour break and had sandwiches. Then returned to the water. I upgraded to an 8’6″ board. The smaller they are, the harder it is to balance, but easier to maneuver. The rest of the day I got acquainted to different ways of falling in the water and riding green waves. These are the waves before they crash and become white. That night we went dancing at the local pub. Again at 7am, we were off to the beach and I began with an 8 foot board and was doing great. Another break, and one guy and myself began lessons to shuffle (moving up and down the board) and turning. We both upgraded to a 7 foot board. And then the tide went low, the wind cam in, rips were forming, and the waves were our size and huge. So the remainder of the day I ended up learning fun ways to take nose dives into the water. Then we returned to Sydney, and all drank beer and ate pizza at scubar while relaxing with our new found knowledge and tans.
The following day we rode out of Sydney and headed north. Around 4pm we saw signs on the road for the national motorcycle museum. So of course, we stopped to check it out. Unfortunately, they closed at 4:30 but she had a house behind the museum for bikers and we rented it for $60 for the night. We ate some food, watched tv on the laptop and slept well. In the morning we saw the thousands of bikes on display and some were very cool to see. One of the curators of the museum warned us about every animal and situation we could encounter while riding around the coast. Kind of scared us with all the croc stories, and poisonous things, but we will be fine. The riding over the course of the next few days is phenomenal. Peaceful, without much traffic and windy, curvy roads through mountains and national parks kept us turning and excited for hours. We encountered a little rain but nothing too heavy. The natural green hills and mountains were pleasant to see, and we even passed through a rain forest area that reminded me of jurrasic park. The trees and bushes were huge. Lots of clouds pass over the valley quickly and many different colors of blue in the sky. Some storms surrounded us, but during the heavy rainfall we managed to stay in the rifts and avoid too much damage. We have been staying in lots of camp sights, as they have gates and fences and should protect us from the evening wildlife. At one of these sights, a couple traveling in a rv gave us a Mareeba, or otherwise named a Queensland mango. Although it can cause rashes, it was quite delicious.
Still heading north we found a luggage manufacturer who fixed mike’s broken piece to his case, and re-fabricated a new bottom and latch for mine. Now everything is in working order and I do not have to tie down my pannier on the left side to keep it from falling off, or to keep the bottom from falling out with all my stuff. We rode 11 hours yesterday and about 900 km. We are trying to meet up with some friends in Melbourne for new years and have pushed our riding a little more to make up some time. It is getting very hot the farther north we travel. Average temperature is around 100 degrees and in our suits it is like a sauna. Even sitting outside now, waiting for mike to shower, I’m sweating fiercely. There are a lot of bats here and some are very big, but very cool to see them fly around in packs like the movies. Today, we are heading to a hostel near part of the great barrier reef. Hopefully, we will find a spot not too affected by the oil spill and get to snorkel or snuba our way to the world famous water. The roads we have been experiencing have some prairies roll by in waves and some small towns coming up and falling behind just as quick. They are all different and all the same.
Before we get to the reef, I just need to mention we were pulled over for speeding the second time in Australia. And similar to instance number one, we got away with a warning. Cops here are very nice and polite. Ok, back to reef. We found a beach camp sight near Airlie beach and it was very peaceful and relaxing. So we got on a bus that took us to our ship. On the bus, and also staying at our camp sight, were some guys from Montreal, working on the Brittany Spears tour. We arrived at the boat and it took us 60 km out to see for a full day at Nuckle Reef in the Great Barrier area. We pulled up to a Pontoon and it was so cool. First, I took a helicopter ride around the reefs for 20 minutes and saw the famous heart shaped reef and tiger sharks with red and black coloring, sting rays, etc. Back at the boat we also rode on a submerged boat to see some of the fish and corrals. After lunch we snorkeled and I can only say it was breathtaking. Mike managed to dive with one of the instructors and took some great pics. The rest of the time I ate and laid out in the sun. And yes, for the first time, I was in the sun all day and didn’t get sun burned. I used a whole tube of sunscreen but it was so worth it. At the end of the day I had Kangaroo and croc steaks with the French Canadians.
The next morning Mike and I left early and headed towards Cairnes in the North east tip of the country. On the way we took a mountain trail detour and found a rainforest. So we stopped and walked around for an hour or so and took some nice pics for everyone. During the riding, the roads were so windy and twisting we had a great time getting low and cutting through all the turns. Until a big red semi almost knocked me off a cliff. So when my heart was calm and I relaxed, I caught up to mike and we fell short of our goal due to night fall. We found a camp sight a few k south of the town, and when we were booking a grassy area to set up tents, they upgraded us to a cabin with our own bathroom no charge. So far, so good. Till next time!