Archive for the ‘New South Wales’ Category

Snorkelling at Shelly beach

August 5, 2011

I bought myself one of those ‘deals’ vouchers for a snorkelling lesson/guided snorkel early in the year. I LOVE snorkelling but just don’t make the effort to go unless we are on vacation, so thought this was a good way to get a snorkel in. (I can highly recommend Pro Dive Manly! ) After lots of procrastination (and some health issues), I finally booked myself in at the beginning of April before the weather got too cold. Sydney water stays warm till July at least but it’s nicer getting out into balmy air than chilly winds.  And I did choose the last warm day for several months!

It was amazing! I loved it. It was just me and the guide in the “group” and we snorkelled for an hour in the marine reserve at Shelley Beach (right in Sydney – at Manly.  How blessed are we Sydney-siders!).  Shelly Beach is apparently unique amongst east coast beaches in actually facing west.  Which makes it sheltered, calm and less windy and you can watch the sun set across the water.

The abundance of fish and sea life blew me away.  I didn’t see any leafy sea dragons (have to go further out to see them.. maybe another trip?)  But apparently one of the bronze whaler sharks that have become common in the bay since the marine reserve was established came within a metre of my face but I missed it.  I was looking the other way!  Which is probably good as I was a tad nervous about the resident sharks even though there haven’t been any incidents and there were SO many people in the water that I would not have been a logical target, even if one of them decided to turn mean.

I learned quite a few snorkelling tips and techniques as well as having one of those deeply pleasurable experiences that is almost spiritual in its intensity.  Who would have thought Sydney is home to such incredible sea life!

The sun was setting over Manly as I lingered on the beach, not wanting to do the hour’s drive back home in rush hour traffic.

Sunset from Shelly beach

Here is Shelly beach in the late afternoon (my lesson was at 4pm).

See the waves beyond the rocks?  That’s where you have the best chance of seeing the leafy sea dragons.  We snorkelled to the left of this photo, following the coast towards Manly staying close to the shore.

And the view looking north towards the Northern beaches:

towards the Northern beaches

Click on photos to get a larger view. You can enjoy hundreds of other gorgeous sky photos here at Skywatch Friday.

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Skywatch Friday – a fun Sunday afternoon at McMahon’s Point

October 23, 2009

MissN and I attended a Women’s Event at my church back in March where the men cooked for us gals and shared their recipes.  MissN has been making Simon’s Thai red curry ever since, both with fish and with chicken!  The session finished at 4 and we had 2 hours till evening service at 6 and so decided to go down to McMahon’s Point (I used to catch the ferry to and from McMahon’s Point to Drummoyne when I worked in North Sydney many years ago) and chill. We had fun!
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I love how the clouds in this photo dominate both the bridge and the Opera House! Spot the train crossing the bridge!  We watched the ferries

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and the water taxis

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MissN decided to act like a 3 year old and had fun rolling on the grass.

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and behaving like a kid.  She does that well.

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She isn’t quite grown up yet.  But then neither is her mum.

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I think we will always have fun together.

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You can see more Skywatch Friday posts here.

Sydney Duststorm No 2

October 16, 2009

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Three days after the red dust storm we had a few weeks ago, we had a second – this time it was yellow, not as severe and was gone by 8.30am. But it did provide a very eerie atmosphere.
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I almost missed seeing the sun!

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You can get an idea of how hard the wind was blowing in the next photo – which was good – it was all clear by mid morning, but billions of tons of our soil had been dumped in the Pacific ocean and New Zealand gained some too!
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Miss Dolce cat was most perturbed by my being out there in the weird light and wind.  She was crying from the upstairs balcony!  Poor baby.

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You can see more Skywatch Friday photos here.

Sydney dust storm

September 25, 2009

Red sky in the morning…

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We awoke to an amazing sight on Wednesday morning – the sky was red!  It was eerily luminous as the rising sun (which we didn’t see for quite a few more hours) was reflected off the red dust particles which had been blown in by gale force winds in the one-in-a-century dust storm.

Hopefully one-in-a-century…  increasingly common droughts and global warming mean they might become more frequesnt.

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It was intensely red just after 6am (you can see the effect of the wind on the trees),

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orange just before 7am

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and yellow by mid morning (which I didn’t photograph as I was out and about by then).  Blue sky was visible in patches again by midday, thanks to the gale force winds which blew in the sand from Lake Eyre, half way across the continent, and then blew it out again, taking some of it as far as New Zealand.  By late afternoon it was gone.

The next morning there was a pair of goldfinches trying to get into our study window – perhaps blown in from the west as they were my first sighting in Breakfast Point, although they are recorded on the bird list for Sydney Olympic Park, and are probably quite common in various grasslands nearby.

The storms have been widespread – Cairns nearly 3000 kms away was affected.  We are expecting another one tomorrow morning but not as severe.   Poor Miss Dolce cat still has a red ruff.  She ventured outside yesterday (a day after the storm) and picked up the dust from garden vegetation.

More Skywatch pictures here.

Skywatch Friday – Sunset from Cabarita

September 4, 2009

Sunset from Cabarita, lunch in Balmain and a good day with Liz.

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It’s been a while since I Skywatched.  These  photos were taken in when my friend Liz was up from Melbourne in June and spent a day with me.  We had a wonderful lunch in Balmain and tea back at my place and I dropped her at the ferry wharf at Cabarita in the late afternoon to get the ferry to the city.  The sun was rapidly dropping behind the industrial buildings in Breakfast Point (where we live) across Kendall Bay.

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I love the liquid gold reflections.

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and here is Liz at the deli counter in the cafe at lunchtime, where we picked out our salads (which I resisted posting photos of!):



Where we ate on Darling Street (the cafe picked because I got a car park right opposite):

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Very punny name:

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Great coffee and sunny seats: MayJune09 067

and atmosphere and chat in the sun, and window shopping in Rozelle.  Pyrmont and the city from Rozelle:

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Here is the ferry:

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and there she goes…

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Thanks for a great day, Liz! Miss you!

To see many more terrific sky pictures or to participate in this meme, head to the SkyWatch blog.

Skywatch Friday #26- New England country skies

January 9, 2009

We travelled back from Brisbane (where we had spent Christmas with my brother and his family) to Sydney on 30 December.  We chose to to miss the vacationing crowds on the Pacific Highway by taking the inland route and I was curious to see the New England region, even if fleetingly.

dec2-08-545I took these photos through the car window as we were travelling (hence the blurry fences), and was quite pleased with them.  I have no idea where they were – somewhere between Glen Innes (where we had lunch) and Tamworth (where we had afternoon tea).  dec2-08-546They seem to capture a mood which for me is quintessentially Australian. Cleared bush, some native vegetation remaining, a farmhouse now and then, livestock occasionally,  a wedge tailed eagle or eastern grey kangaroo if one is lucky.  It’s the kind of scenery that makes me want to put Wallis and Matilda or John Williamson in the CD player and sing along.

You can see more Skywatch Friday pics here.

Skywatch Friday 19 – sunset over the Great Dividing range

November 22, 2008

Continuing the sunset theme for Skywatch Friday… (you can see more Skywatch photos here)


This photo was taken in 2003.  We were away for a weekend with friends, staying at Duckmaloi Farm near Oberon in NSW (about 2 1/2 hours from Sydney) at the heart of the Great Dividing range which separates the fertile coastal plain on the eastern coast with the much drier and mostly arid interior.  Duckmaloi Farm was lovely – the girls were particularly taken by the alpacas. (The boys enjoyed the tennis court!)


We had had a wonderful day at Jenolan Caves – took in a cave tour, did a bushwalk and picnic along the Jenolan creek (we saw a platypus in the pool just near the Grand Arch) and the kids had fun (including wet feet!).



We were back at Duckmaloi preparing to barbecue for dinner (the place we stayed had an indoor shed to bbq INSIDE!) when the weather changed and the most amazing storm blew in.  The photo below captures a bit of the pink light that preceded the wind.  I love the quintessential gum trees.


It snowed that night about 50kms south of where were, and the girls went riding the next morning at Shooter’s Hill in ICY weather (Oberon is one of the coldest places in NSW).  I came home sick and spent the next few months with a very prolonged case of labyrinthitis, but it was a lovely weekend with friends and the memory of the fun remains, not the illness after.

One more sunset photo:


and I end once more with words that capture for me the hope, the light, the truth in the sunsets:
“now is temporary, eternity is forever, we are all just one heartbeat away from stepping into a room full of angels” scg

Skywatch Friday 18 – sunset at Breakfast Point

November 15, 2008

skywatch-friday I haven’t posted to Skywatch Friday in a while but last Sunday night’s sunset inspired me to rush outside with my camera. nov-08-014


These two were taken in the road outside our house. I went up to the oval (one street away) and took some more. The sky seemed to be boiling – a fiery cauldron that spilled magma.



And then it calmed and the fiery turbulence was replaced by an inky blue…

I could draw an analogy to my life and especially this last year (thinking of Malachi 3:3 here), but it would be just too obvious, so I will resist and let the sunset speak for itself.

My friend Steve lost his dad yesterday. This is from a tribute he wrote :

“Goodbye, dad. I love you and hope to meet you on the other side when my time comes. I saw a brilliant red sunset on the way home from work. It reminded me life will go on without you, and some day, without me. Eternity just ahead. Rejoice!  -scg”

Skywatch Friday – more Mystery bay

September 19, 2008

Here are some more Mystery Bay photos from our holiday last December for Skywatch Friday.  It’s a warm day in Sydney today (29C at 2pm – which is hot for early spring!) and the weather seems summer-holiday/vacation-ish (but ironically our vacation last year was so wet that we came home 2 days early!).  So what better pics to post than of my favourite beach at my favourite vacation place?

Mystery Bay beach, looking south

Mystery Bay beach, looking south

Mystery Bay beach, looking north

Mystery Bay beach, looking north

I would love to go snorkelling soon!  But the water is cold here (New South Wales) even with a wetsuit till mid December when we get a warm current replacing the cold one.

Wondering how Mystery Bay got it’s name?
“Mystery Bay south of Narooma earned its name from a shipwreck event. In October 1880 Lamont Young, a surveyor with the Mines Department and his four companions were sailing down the south coast of New South Wales. Young and his party were on a government expedition to investigate new reports of extensive discoveries of gold. Their boat was wrecked in Mystery Bay. The story goes that a bullet was found lodged in the side of the boat, vomit was detected across the bow and the crew’s belongings were still on board. The five occupants, however, were nowhere to be found. Stories circulated of drownings or even murder. Adding to the intrigue, the crewmen have never been found and there is now no trace of the boat. It is thought that the boat was probably recovered at the time.”

The site of the wreck is on the right in the second photo.  Not that there is anything to see!  Just stingrays and kelp and anenomes.

Skywatch Friday

August 28, 2008

Skywatch Friday is hosted here.

Mystery Bay again.

Mystery Bay

Mystery Bay

I love how the shapes of the clouds seem to echo the shapes of the rocks. Montague island on the horizon. We have not yet visited there. Too much to do on the mainland!  Wonderful snorkelling here.  Stingrays and huge sea urchins.  A beach where sea eagles are common. Once I sat on the beach with my binos while C and MissN were body boarding and simultaneously watched a sea eagle, a whistling kite and a peregrine falcon.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

And a sunset from the cottages:

sunset Mystery Bay

sunset Mystery Bay

We need to plan another visit, probably sans MissN who has grown a bit teen-weary of the unspoiled far south coast.  But she has memories for a life-time, of dolphins in the surf at 1080 beach on her 9th birthday, and a plane trip in a 4 seater on her 10th birthday, of fish she has caught in Wallaga and Wallagoot and Corunna lakes and fudge from Central Tilba, and fluffy cow road (Sunnyside road), and coffee at Casey’s and an octopus in the seagrass as we dined at Pelicans at Narooma, and a bluegrass band at Quarterdeck, and black cockatoos and red parrots and a stingray in the rockpool at brain rock and sea stars… but maybe those are just my memories.  I will have to ask her about hers.