Cats, dockless bikes, and shark nets
We made some adjustments today. First, we said goodbye to our number 1 daughter, Katelin, as she left to rejoin Elan and his family in Colorado Springs. Katelin, enjoy the transition from 2 weeks of temperatures in the 80s or above to below freezing!
Second, we moved from Darling Harbour to Bondi Beach. New Years Eve in Sydney is a BIG DEAL. The fireworks over the Sydney Harbour Bridge cost millions, and the best places to view this spectacle cost money. I heard that a basic ticket for a seat to the show at the Sydney Opera House costs $750 AUD. What I do know is that our apartment rental rate increased 300% for tonight, so we moved on to Bondi for an Airbnb. We’ll be here 2 nights before catching a ferry to the cruise ship, the Celebrity Solstice. Unfortunately, I doubt that we’ll be able to stay up until midnight to see the fireworks.
Caroline and I have already gone for a 5 mile run, a 20 minute swim, and a 6 mile walk today. Add to this our Uber trip to Bondi and 2 buses to get back to Bondi Beach after walking through much of Sydney Harbour National Park’s Hermitage Foreshore Walk, and that James Squire Golden Ale is hitting me pretty hard. There’s a kids’ fireworks display at 9... maybe I can stay up for that!
I always ask locals about feral cats and, in Sydney, I don’t get a lot of responses. “I never see them,” or “there aren’t very many” is a common refrain. Today, however, I asked a police officer. Since there will be thousands and thousands of people on the docks and streets for the fireworks, there is a heightened level of security. Major gathering areas have concrete blocks or giant planters to keep errant cars and trucks from barreling over pedestrians. Fences keep people away from the edge of the water. Private security guards allow only locals to drive down certain streets. And there are police everywhere, particularly around CIrcular Quay. This morning, during our run, Caroline and I stopped and chatted with 1 officer who, as it happens, owns 3 cats. The officer just doesn’t see cats in town, but as you get into the suburbs and outside Sydney, there are cats everywhere, she said. The police loan out traps, and trapped cats go to the RSPCA. She never heard of a thing like TNRM, and didn’t think ear-tipping would be allowed. Of course, she and every other person I’ve talked to has mentioned the impact of cats on native wildlife. My search for cats continues.
There were a number of dockless bikes, from at least 3 companies, in the Bondi area. About 40% of them seemed unusable or damaged. Bent wheels, slashed bike seats, bent baskets, and inaccessibility because they were thrown over a fence were issues we noted. We also learned today that Australia has mandatory bike helmet laws. These laws are controversial. Regardless, the vast majority of dockless bikes do not come with helmets, so I wonder about the legality issues involving dockless bikes. And I am bothered by the negative impact on the viewscape of these bikes just showing up on sidewalks and next to buildings. Users don’t seem inclined to pay any attention to bike racks.
I knew there are some swimming beaches in Australia protected by shark nets, but I thought they were in the western states. So I was surprised seeing one in Sydney today. I’ll be visiting Perth in 2 months, and I expect to learn more about sharks there. In Sydney, we attended a film about the conservation of great white sharks, but I was disappointed that nothing was really said about what Joe and Jane Citizen can do to protect sharks.
We are a day ahead of my friends in the US, so for all readers, this is either New Year’s Eve Eve, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, or some other aligned or misaligned day. In any case, Happy 2018!