Surfing, Cliffs and Bitou Bush Bashing!
Hello to family and friends abroad! This week in the land down under our group tackled surf camp, something everyone found equally challenging and fun. Our teachers, JJ and Steve, went through some quick board and surfing etiquette on land, then it was time for us to hit those waves!
Let me tell you one thing: surfing is not as easy as Aussies make it look. It requires timing, patience, and practice. And for lots of us, lightning quick reflexes to avoid getting nailed by a rogue board. (I discovered this when I was solely responsible for Morgen's 5 new bruises.) But we got out there and surfed our butts off, many of us catching some good waves all the way in to the beach! Chakas, dude. 🤙
Over the next few days, we ripped out and poisoned the roots of the invasive Bitou Bush as our volunteer project, working in both a forest and beachside environment. Through this, we learned more about our environmental impact and future challenges our respective countries face. Most important, though, is that many hands make light work!
As the week closed, we packed our dirty bags and headed out to the Blue Mountains, which were RAD!!
Here we got schooled in the art of canyoning by our friends Chewy and Lawrence. We began by rappelling down some beginner slopes in the morning, then moved to a 100ft cliff as our last challenge. (If you've ever gone solo down a 100ft cliff, please give yourself a pat on the back because it's SCARY!)
That afternoon we squeezed ourselves into our thick wet suits, belays, helmets, and bright yellow bubble backpacks, and set off to have our feet freeze in the chilly canyon water.
"Cold is a state of mind!" we'd chant to keep ourselves warm as we slid and jumped through the narrow canyon river, over and over and OVER again. But heads up: cold is definitely a real thing. It was so worth it though for the final abseil. Search "Empress Falls Australia" and you'll see what we rappelled down.
Yeah, that's right.
We did THAT.
With this week's adventures accomplished, we head off yet again to The Crossing in Bermagui, near Sydney, to live off the land for a while. (Trust us, we'll take anything but wraps for food!) Fingers crossed next blog post we'll have cleaned up a bit, but who knows.
Stay cool, cats!
-Gillian Fairles (the Canuck)