There’s no doubt that Sydney and its harbour is a very scenic place. The Opera House is one of the world’s iconic buildings and the Bridge is a significant feature of the city. The harbour is quite magnificent.
I’ve just spent the last two days in Sydney, catching up with some wonderful friends that I made while rolling around the Southern Ocean in a Russian Expedition ship on my last Antarctic trip. We had many fun days zipping around in Zodiacs, walking amongst penguins and seals, landing in knee deep water on beaches and coping with the rolling seas.
I had a terrific time meeting up with them – Ady (Adelaide) who is the head seal keeper at Taronga Park Zoo, Bianca, who lives in Sydney as well as Keiko who ives near Seattle. We got together because Keiko was transiting through Sydney on her way back to the US after an adventure holiday in New Zealand. It was really good to see each other again.
These guys are great travellers and very independent and capable people. They were fun to travel with. The last time that I saw Bianca (bottom right in my photo), she was heading off alone to see more of South America after our return to Ushuaia. Ady (centre) has just returned from a second trip to Antarctica where she played the role of naturalist and seal expert on the ship and Keiko (left) has just finished a great adventure tour in NZ and is planning a hiking trip around Ireland in July.
The highlight was meeting ‘Pepper’ the seal who is one of the seals trained by Ady. She does a remarkable job with these animals. Pepper is a four year old Californian Sea-lion who came to Taronga Zoo in 2009 from Emmen Zoo in Holland. Californian Sea-lions are popular show seals because of their high energy, loud vocals and ability to learn quickly.
Ady was very kind in allowing us to meet Pepper in person after the show and once all the crowd had left the Seal Show Arena. He certainly had ‘fish breath’ and whilst very wet, he was sleek and smooth. I had my own personal seal cuddle.
Taronga Zoo sits in a superb location. Personally, I think the Melbourne’s Zoo, here where I live, has an advantage with much more space and therefore the ability to create larger and more open areas for the animals, more extensive gardens and have a wider range of animals on display. However, it’s hard to beat the view from Taronga Zoo across the harbour.
On the morning before she left, Keiko and I caught the ferry across to Manly. It’s a bit of a traditional ride but it does give great views around the harbour. We thought that Manly was looking as it it had seen better days but it was still interesting to see where the beach volley ball games were conducted during the 2000 Olympics. Keiko was quite fascinated with one of the signs on the beach.
Keiko and I said our goodbyes on the train back to the airport as I got out at the domestic terminal station for flight home and Keiko continued on for anther stop to the International Terminal. I would rather have my one-hour flight to Melbourne than the twenty-hours or more that it will take Keiko to get home. I hope she enjoyed the bottle of Champagne that she had waiting for her in her refrigerator.