Thursday, July 23, 2009

Rust, Rain, and Dolphins

I had to take a look at our pictures from the start of June to remind myself of what we were doing 2 months ago. We endured quite a bit of rain during June, which is supposed to be one of the dryer months in NSW. The worst floods in 30 years occurred approximately 2 weeks after the other record breaking storm. This storm was unique from the other because it came out of the east, causing massive waves that tore up the coastline. Shipwrecks that had never been discovered were uncovered. The rain caused a few problems for us, most notably very rusty bike components. We are now equipped with removable chains in an effort to mitigate the rust attack.

Despite the rain and cold, we had one of the most exciting days surfing on our new shortboards. This experience was exceptional mostly because we were completely alone on a gorgeous beach, with a pod of at least 30 dolphins. They seemed to be toying with us as they lifted their dorsal fins above the water only inches away, then quickly disappeared into the murky storm-stained ocean. We had to guess where they might pop up next. Dolphins compete with sharks for food, and are also known to ram into them with their heads to keep them away. This thought is awfully comforting when you are surfing with dolphins. We've also officially graduated to surfing on shortboards. Although we are proud of our progress in surfing, I usually always feel like the biggest goompa on the water. I can't say that I've had any ripping surf days yet on my new board.

We were also treated to our first of many whale sightings along the NSW coast. For about 2 weeks, we could look out into the ocean and always see a Humpback whale breaching (coming completely out of the water and landing on it's back). Even from very far away, it's an awesome sight. We met many Aussies who had never seen a breaching whale. At first, we were appalled that people who live in coastal cities/towns hadn't seen something that we saw many times a day. We realized that it was probably because they're indoors, working during the day when you can actually see the whales (not to mention the daylight hours are quite short during the migration months).

One of the more unique things we saw was a cave full of "glowworms". We visited the cave at night and found it completely filled with bright blue stars. The glowworms are actually larvae of a flying insect that glow to attract prey into their sticky, silk snare lines that hang from the cave ceiling. The glowworms spend most of their lives as larvae. Once they become an adult fly, they don't feed, and only live long enough to reproduce. Cool!

We made it to the northern border of NSW before turning back south for Sydney in order to catch a flight. During one of our nights, we had another mouse episode in the van. It turned out that in fact the mouse was not IN the van and that it probably wasn't even a mouse. We still don't know what it was, but the teeth marks on my flip-flops look a little bigger than the mice we've seen. Your guess is as good as ours as to what chomped the hell out of my flip-flops (I had left them on the ground outside of the van). Check out the remains in the picture to the left.

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