A ferry ride to Manly Beach is as Australian as drive-thru pharmacies are American- and believe me, those are very American.
There were hundreds of people outside Circular Quay with sunglasses, hats, flip flops, and beach bags. When the ferry gate opened we all rushed forward to grab a window seat with a view of the azure harbor. To the left of the boat was the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and to the right the Opera House.
Although we launched from such an urban pier, the harbor was filled with white triangular sails. It was quickly apparent that midafternoon on a sunny day was a nautical rush hour.
From the ferry terminal it was a short walk to Manly Beach. The ocean was as refreshing as the sun was hot and the waves strong. While Barret body surfed I pined for waves as gentle as a rocking chair. I wanted to be lulled; I wanted to float without getting water up my nose.
On my way out of the ocean a foamy white wave came crashing in. I ducked under it and felt it thunder above me. After it passed I raised my head and opened my eyes just in time for another wave to smack me right in the face.
The salt water stung my eyes but also my pride; I looked like a beached seal after getting knocked over in such shallow water.
“Barret!” Obviously he was to blame for enjoying the rough surf so much. “I don’t like waves and I got a grain of sand in my eye.”
What can I say- it’s not easy being Aussie.