Sydney Challenge Day 2: The Pacific Ocean

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March 19th 2018
Published: April 9th 2018
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Little did he knowLittle did he knowLittle did he know

Photo Credit to Denise
After the long day yesterday, this morning was a relief. It was a laid-back morning with nothing to do. Dave had to do some work, so Jo and I sat with our laptops catching up on sorely neglected daily life tasks. Sipping coffee, listening to the birds out on the patio, I was able to do what so many do as their vacation- nothing. I messed around on Facebook, checked my bank statements (giant lottery winnings still haven’t been deposited so I guess I will have to return to work), catch up on TravelBlogs and such. It was a most welcome morning of leisure before another afternoon full of the go go go that makes up most of my vacation.

Denise set out platters of cheese, vine ripened tomatoes, basil, roasted peppers alongside toasted artisan bread. We made bite sized sandwiches and had coffee while eating and talking. Truth be told, this was better than the sandwiches I have had in many restaurants. I was happy to be in the house enjoying this. Afterwards, Dave took me out behind their house to walk in the Berowra Valley Nature Park. Into the bush we went, walking past giant rocks, trees, termite trails and a termite nest in a tree. The day was hot and felt good as we walked on part of the Great North Walk running some 160 miles from Sydney to Newcastle. What was so special was that this is part of the Hooper’s family history. Peering in a carved-out cave called the Christmas cave, he told me how they had Christmas there one year. It was a fun bit of history.

It was now time for the Sydney Challenge Day 2. Jo and I had to visit quiet beaches along the Pacific Coast. It was a nice ride on a beautiful, sunny day. David drove, Jo rode shotgun and Denise and I caused trouble from the back seat. Well, if I were brutally honest, I would say that trouble was rebounding back to us from the two in the front seat. I love when a group of people can dish out crap as easily as they can take it and this was our group dynamic. No-one was immune from being the center of the dishing. Our first stop was Whale Beach where we spent just a few minutes. Our final destination was just up the road at North Palm Beach. This is one of the northernmost beaches of Sydney, and on a Monday afternoon was virtually deserted. Small groups of walkers, hikers, surfers and swimmers added color to a glorious blue water beach.

Unfortunately, Jo was not able to hike down to the beach with us, so she sat on the bluff overlooking the ocean. I appreciate her group spirit in this and know that she would really, really rather have been with us down by the water, but she never let it show. For this, I will always be grateful. Thank you Jo.

Denise, Dave and I went down to wade in the warm water. The Pacific on my side of the ocean in Northern California is generally a cold, grey, uninviting ocean. It is still beautiful and majestic, but in a standoffish way. Here, however, it is blue, turquoise, happy. Nice sized waves crashed in to the shore, bringing white foam and happy laughs from this blogger. This was a picture postcard beautiful day once again, so cameras and iPhones were out in abundance. Dave wanted some action shots, so I super rolled up my pant legs and did my best Baywatch run

This sandwich is amazing
for the camera. Happily, there was less jiggling than on the actual show, so I must not be that out of shape yet. The big question now is this: why did I roll up my pants? I was soaked. My big a** feet were like oars splashing the water. I may as well have rolled in the water and would have achieved only a small bit more water on myself. Ah, who cares? This was a trip to the ocean, the water felt good, and if I wanted to win the Day 2 Challenge, I would run like the wind when asked to run. No way I am sleeping in the Vermillion Room tonight. It will be an in-house night in a comfortable bed for this Baywatch star. This went on for some time until we needed to move on to another beach area.

Denise went up to sit with Jo while David and I walked across the narrow isthmus to another beach. This was more of an inlet with lots of boats, hills and a sun about to set. On the other beach, there were no waves, just water quietly lapping the sand. Dave and I walked toward the end of the beach to check out the view and get some pictures from a different angle. Washed up on the shore were several tube-like animals that I would call jelly fish. They were translucent, curved and most interesting. I know, you think that I am going to say that I picked one up, poked it or tried to eat it; however, you would be wrong. No way in heck am I going to grab a jellyfish like animal stranded on the beach. Rather, I admired it, took pictures of it and stayed they heck away from it. This was a great plan I thought, so I stuck with it. We spent a lot of time watching the water, boats, sun, wildlife. It was very restful here and a good place to stroll while snapping pictures.

The sun was slowly setting in the sky as we walked back to meet Denise and Jo. The plan was for David and Denise to grab fish and chips from a restaurant just down the way, while I set up folding chairs and Jo supervised. Unfortunately, the restaurant was closed. Since the evening sky was beautiful, a crescent moon was glimmering and
Into the BushInto the BushInto the Bush

Berowra Valley Nature Park
chilled wine was calling, we sat on the grassy area and enjoyed some wonderful wine and each other’s company. All too soon though, hunger overtook leisurely sipping of wine and it was time to pack up and go. I don’t know how I became the chair champion, but I had to unfold them so we could stow them in the boot (notice the Australian lingo there? Feeling pretty good about that). Thankfully Denise did not have here camera phone out because things did not go smoothly or according to plan. For the life of me I could not get the one stupid chair to work with me and unfold. I tried coaxing it, man-handling it and finally ended up swearing at it while Denise laughed and laughed. Although I couldn’t see her, I have a feeling Jo was laughing as well. No fair kicking a Sydney Challenge opponent while he is down, or is it? Hmm, I actually think it is. Regardless, it was quite an affair for me to break the chairs down, but I emerged victorious and with almost dry pant legs to boot. Off to the restaurant we went.

By now you are probably tired of hearing how amazing, delicious, fabulous and tasty the food here is. Well, you may want to skip over this paragraph because it is once again delving into food porn. We ate at a restaurant on the main street of a tourist town. Being Monday, it was slow in the restaurant, so it was easy to get a table with a view. All four of us ordered the fish and chips and added a shared salad of baby spinach, beets, goat cheese and walnuts and a side of mashed potatoes. Holy heck was this good. The fish was hot, crisp and fresh. The salad was packed with flavor and the potatoes simply made me happy. It was the perfect end to a perfect day. Sadly, there was only one more day on this trip, so Jo and I were anxious to find out what the next day would bring. Check back and see, because it was yet again, Amazing!

Additional photos below
Photos: 40, Displayed: 27


Berowra Valley Nature ParkBerowra Valley Nature Park
Berowra Valley Nature Park

It is a road I would want to travel

10th April 2018

Please add some of these pictures to... of Travelbloggers getting together!
11th April 2018

What great idea
Thank you so much for that suggestion. I don't know why I didn't think of it. Pictures have been uploaded. Thank you
10th April 2018

Beaching it Brenno!
Dave here....another good read. I just know you had a fabulous time!
10th April 2018

Thanks David
A fabulous time was had by all. Thanks for the comment.
10th April 2018

That was an idyllic day Brendan. Just sitting around chilling, laughing and chewing the fat until 3pm with no pressure of go go go was a serenity in spades. Then to Whale, Palmy and Pittwater for Sydney's most northern beaches at their deserted and pristine best. When we raised our wine glasses to toast the sunset our camaraderie and united pleasure was palpable. Thanks for being part of such special times.
11th April 2018

What a perfect work
Idyllic is the perfect word to describe that morning and day. I am so grateful to have been part of that special time. Truly a day to remember.
11th April 2018

Sipping coffee & listening to the birds!
Such wonderful decadence I say! There should be more of it. Pleased to read Brendan that you've walked a bit of the Great North Walk; something that I did over a weekend a few years ago. Must do it again. Thanks for the photos of the beautiful Pacific Ocean at Whale & Palm beaches. Once you're settled back home do get yourself a copy of Simon Winchester's "Pacific The Ocean of the Future". It's a great read and to quote some of the blurb on the back of the book; "Following his acclaimed bestseller on the Atlantic Ocean, Simon Winchester presents an utterly enthralling account of the Pacific and its pivotal role in the modern world." I'll second that!!
11th April 2018

Decadent for sure
Thanks for the comment and book suggestion Michelle. I will look that up. Yes, this was special day. I had a great set of tour guide/hosts who made certain I was getting a taste of the real Sydney.
12th April 2018

Fish 'n' Chips by the Sea
Sounds like a wonderful end to a wonderful day :) The beach and sea views look amazing.
12th April 2018

It was just what I needed
The entire day was great and fish and chips just capped it off perfectly.
12th April 2018

Pacific Play
What a great day. I'm glad you respected the jelly fish and only photographed it. Loved all the leg photos. I'm glad you got to walk David and Denise's backyard. Lots going on back there from what I"m told. MJ
12th April 2018

Wiser with age
I had never seen anything that looked like that, so was not going anywhere near touching it. This was a very fun day. I wish I had been able to spend more time out in their backyard. The park is immense and I can tell there are more stories buried out there.
10th June 2018

More magic memories
Yes I would have loved to have been down on the beach, but was pleased to see you guys having so much fun. Barefoot is the only way to walk on a beach! What a magical sunset on the other side, and the company just made it even more special. I just wish I hadn't been laughing so much at your Day Two Chair Folding Challenge, otherwise there would have been photos - I was trying to get my camera out but couldn't manage that and still stay upright on the crutches :-D
10th June 2018

Argh, that stupid chair
That sunset on the beach was a very special evening. It was worth the chair aerobics in the end. Although I am glad you weren't able to get the camera out. No one should have to see that slapstick routine.

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