whale jumping

Not the whale Mum saw – I wasn’t close or quick enough!

When I was living at home with my parents, in Cambridgeshire in the UK, my mum had a catch phrase that came out several times each summer: “This is why we bought this house!” she would say as we sat on their sun drenched patio enjoying lunch or early evening drinks.

For my parents, the house in question had been their final jump up the property ladder, and it was a home they were naturally very proud of (they lived there for twenty years). We enjoyed the “This is why we bought this house!” tradition, and it will always remind me of happy times.

Recently, I’ve started my own “This is..” tradition, but in our case it’s “This is why we moved to Australia!”.

In the past few weeks I’ve had two distinct moments that simply made me feel happy to be alive, and happy to be living in Australia.

Dolphins at dawn

As Spring commenced in Sydney and the weather warmed up, our sons and their friends started a trend of hanging out at the skate park before school. If you’re looking for an incentive to get your kids dressed and out of the house in the morning, the promise of 30 minutes at the skate park before school drop-off works well.

The bit where we’re very spoilt is that our local skate park overlooks the beach, meaning parents have a great Ocean view whilst the kids practice their ollies and drop-ins.

On one particular morning, about 8am, the skate action was interrupted by around 50 dolphins playing in the bay. I’ve personally never seen so many dolphins swimming together, and it’s rare to see them so close to the beach. The surfers could probably touch them.

The kids tired of watching dolphins after a few minutes, but I could never get bored of the view – perhaps aware of all the attention they were getting, the dolphins hung out in the bay for a good twenty minutes.

The sun was shining, the kids were happy, we were on schedule to arrive at school on time – life was very good and I found myself thinking, “This is why we moved to Australia!”

Whales to watch out for

Mum has written about Whale Watching in Sydney before, and after a few years of regularly spotting whales off the beaches of Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, I’d been having something of a dry spell when it came to sighting whales.

Last week I had an experience that topped all previous sightings, and it was on the way to work!

Standing at my usual Ocean-view bus stop at around 6am, I saw something splashing and waving at me in the water. The waving was the grey / white fin of a large whale. At first it was rolling around and around, which is why I got the impression it was waving.

Breaking from the rolling, the whale disappeared for a moment before letting out a huge water jet. It was then that I spotted a smaller jet of water next to the large one, and I realised that it was mother and baby playing in the bay.

Seconds later the mother and baby whale breached out of the water – then repeated the rolling, waving and breaching. What a wonderful sight, and an amazing way to start the day!

I had been a few minutes early to the bus stop that morning and was very thankful to have some extra time to enjoy the spectacle. Like other commuters, I was disappointed when the bus came; but a phrase had popped into my head – “This is why we moved to Australia!” Whale watching on the way to work isn’t exactly why we moved to Australia, we couldn’t have known we’d be that lucky, but it certainly sums up why we love being here.

What moments of your life down-under make you happy to be here? We’d love to hear your stories and experiences. Thank you.

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