|On the road to Manly Beach|
Manly Beach was around a 30-40 minute drive from my aunt's place. However, if you would be coming from the city, you could opt to take a ferry, which takes around 30 minutes as well, or you can also travel by bus. It's actually pretty accessible and popular to both locals and tourists. Its name was said to come from the "confidence and 'manly behavior' displayed by a group of local aborigines" sited by Captain Arthur Phillip way back in 1788. There are plenty of cafes, restaurants, and shops in the area. In case you would want to stay overnight, there are also hotels, guesthouses, and serviced apartments available. For sure, you wouldn't get bored staying in Manly Beach because there are a lot of activities to choose from. You can go kayaking, biking, whale watching (only if in season which is from Mid-May to November), diving, sailing, and of course, surfing.
|Welcome to Manly!|
|With the beautiful beach as our background|
|Feeling the summer heat|
As mentioned in one of my previous posts, I have come to love surfing ever since my first Baler trip back in 2011. Given that Manly Beach was known to be one of the good surfing spots in Sydney, I felt that I would come to regret it if I didn't give it a try. Tita A and Tito Bru were supportive enough, so even if it was a spur-of-the-moment kind of thing, they were with me a 100 percent!
Our first task was to look for a place where we could rent a surfboard. Luckily, we found one just right across the main beach. The cost to rent a surfboard for an hour was AUD15 or roughly around 645 in Philippine Peso. It was definitely more expensive than in the Philippines since with just AUD8 or PHP350, you can already rent the surfboard for an hour with a surf instructor included. A personal identification card such as your driver's license or passport would be needed to serve as an "insurance" that you would return the surfboard. This helps prevent losses and makes you more mindful since one surfboard costs around AUD400.
Since I was still a beginner, I was given a longboard so that I can balance better and be able to catch more waves. So with the surfboard in tow, I headed out to the beach. Actually, I was a bit hesitant at first because I was not familiar with Manly Beach. I didn't know the extent of its depth, if there were sudden dips or if the shallow part covers a wide and long distance. I had no idea if the seafloor was pure sand or if I have to worry about rocks or corals every time I get wiped-out. But despite these doubts and uncertainties, I braved on and faced the unknown.
|the Australian waves to be conquered|
The moment my feet touched the water, the first thought that came into my mind was that "It was freezing cold!". Never mind that I could feel the scorching heat of the sun on my face, but in the water, it felt as if I was in a completely different place and not during summer season. I had no choice but to steel myself against the cold and face the crashing waves. Since I couldn't seem to maneuver the board by myself, Tito Bru gave a helping hand by serving as my "surf instructor". He would patiently push me whenever there would be an incoming wave that I could ride and he would help me hold on to the board especially when the waves are extremely strong. I think I was able to stand up only around twice or thrice and the rides weren't even that long. The waves just kept on coming and coming, giving me no time for any breather. Since the waves were also pretty high, I also had some trouble just keeping my head afloat. I've also been acquainted with the taste of seawater for quite a couple of times, as the waves seemed to swallow me whole. My throat felt so dry that I suggested we come out of the water for awhile so that I can hydrate and catch some breath at the same time.
|Facing the waves|
With all the energy spent from my surfing adventure, I was looking forward to a good meal. Tita A suggested for us to have some fish and chips at "Manly Ocean Foods". I had grilled NZ dory and chips that cost AUD12.50, and cold iced tea for my drinks. As the food was just for takeaway, we just looked for some spot to sit on near the vicinity and enjoyed our food. Maybe I was really just hungry, or maybe the food was actually good, but I felt very happy and satisfied with what we ate. Keeping us company were some seagulls, hoping to also catch a bite or two. Several pet dogs could also be seen roaming around and enjoying the sites. The non-stop chatter of locals and tourists in different languages could also be heard as they passed us by. After finishing our meals and with our tummies filled, we went back home, happy and with wonderful memories of the day.
|Ready for some food|
|Grilled NZ Dory and Chips|
A few days later, Tito Bru mentioned that it was reported in the news that a shark apparently bit off a piece of a surfboard on Manly Beach, on the same day that we were there! Thankfully, no one seemed to have gotten hurt. According to the news, these things occasionally happen, but shark attacks are rare. Nevertheless, it would be important to swim in patrolled beaches and to be always mindful of one's safety. This reminded me of a good movie that I've watched recently, entitled "Soul Surfer". This was based on a true-story and I found it to be very inspiring and definitely worth-seeing.
Stay tuned for more: Up next... Day 6 for more adventures in the City.