Monday, January 12, 2009
Finale of Sydney Weekend and Bridge Climb
All I can say is wow, what an ending to the weekend! It was a great ending and I am so glad that I did the Bridge Climb...this post is pretty much going to be devoted that so if you hate me, bridges, bridge climbs, or any of the above, don't read it!
Chad (my co-worker) and I made reservations for the 9:05 a.m. climb on Sunday morning. We got to the site around 8:45 a.m. and milled around anxiously. At 9:00 a.m., we started the debrief. We got our sites on, signed our waiver of consent, and got fitted. Went through the rules, a basic climb training, and headed out. We had a guide named Dave that was awesome...a younger guy that was really funny and informative. Just as we started the climb, we walked right next to the Park Hyatt hotel on the Harbour; he told us that just a few weeks ago, the Prince of Saudi Arabia stayed in the Penthouse and brought his 147 pieces of luggage, along with jesters! Who has jesters these days...crazy!
We started our walk...and before we started the climb of the first of four ladders, we crossed the 'catwalk'; about 50 meters off the ground or 150 feet, where it was open grating below us...kind of freaky to walk through, as the water was underneath us. It was a little freaky.
We then scaled the ladders and came to the base of the eastern side of the bridge; we slowly climbed up and took in all of the amazing views of the city. To the right was the Opera House, and we kept climbing and climbing all the way to the top; the guide took any and all questions. Which reminds me...we all had headsets on, but not the headsets you are used to. Where you would have earphones, we had these things that went on where men (or gross women) have sideburns. As Dave (guide) spoke through the headset, it sent vibrations that radiated to our brain and we heard him. It was freaky...they actually said that it was developed by the US Army and can be used because you can speak so softly and still communicate. Weird.
Anyways, the group began firing questions at the guide; I, as my usual, took the smart-aleck approach of asking the guide why it hurt when I went to the bathroom. He then told the group, which was pretty funny. He pointed out some local landmarks, mainly an inlet that had three cannons just near the Opera House, but in reality, if all three cannons went off simultaneously, it would collapse the whole inlet. We also waved at a seaplane that flew overhead, and he 'waved' back by tilting the wings back and forth. We summitted as a group, about 150 meters (or 450 feet) above the ground...one of the photos you see is of Chad and I crossing the center of the bridge from the east to the west side to begin our descent. This was also frightening as it became very obvious how high up we were! We all crossed and began our descent. All in all, an amazing experience.
We had a quick lunch at Doyle's seafood afterwards that was delish; it was easily one of my best weekends ever with the audit team, and may have been the best ever, with Prague rivaling it very closely. It was a blast, and we had great weather.
On Saturday, we basically walked the city and went to Bondi Beach for some time there. We had lunch as a team before turning in early for the climb. I recommend the climb to anyone interested...while it was expensive, it was definitely worth doing once.