A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to spend a week in Manly, Australia and for an ocean lover like me, it was a little slice of paradise.
I spend all my spare time on the sand or in the water and fell in love with my surroundings. It’s such a beautiful and relaxing place to be. Every sunrise and sunset painted the sky a different colour and every one was more spectacular than the last. The sound of the waves crashing and the sea-air blowing across my face brought a sense of calmness and allowed my mind to slow down. Even though I was about as far away from the UK as I could get, I immediately felt at home at Manly Beach.
Surfing at sunrise
For me, there is no better way to start the day than with a morning surf and being located directly in front of the beach made this a reality for the week. Getting up before the sun and watching it rise from the water was unreal. The waves were pretty dumpy but I didn’t care, I was just where I wanted to be, and it set me up perfectly for the rest of the day.
After not being able to dive for many years because of my asthma I was so excited when my medical form was signed off and I was ok to dive. The initial process of getting underwater and breathing through the regulator was pretty nerve-racking. My anxiety was high and I was struggling to relax and trust the gear but I had the best dive buddy who calmed me down and gave me the confidence I needed. Once I was under I loved it, being able to experience the ocean from under the waves is such a privilege. Our dive was a Dive against Debris, so we took a mesh bag with us and picked up all the rubbish we found on the sea floor. After the dive we submitted everything we’d found to the Project AWARE app which collects findings from around the world for its database. It was surprising how much we collected, as when we were diving it didn’t look like that much but back on the beach it added up to a big pile.
Swimming at Shelly Beach
A 15 minute walk around the coastline takes you to the beautiful Cabbage Tree Bay Marine Reserve and Shelly Beach. On a morning when Manly was flat we walked round and enjoyed a refreshing dip. The beach is sheltered by the headland so the water was calm and the cove was peaceful and quiet. It was a really tranquil spot.