Location: Sydney

Arguably the longest day of our session, today started (or continued, really) at 6 AM with the arrival of the first flights into Sydney. Within two hours, everyone had arrived and cleared customs, and we made our way to our first stop, the Sydney Central Youth Hostel. Following a quick breakfast, official introductions, and orientation was our first venture into Sydney. We walked to the nearby train station (yay, public transit!), traveling only a couple of stops before hopping off and then onto a ferry to take us to our final destination: Manly Beach. We caught our first glimpse of the Sydney Opera House and its resident seal basking on the steps, along with many boats taking advantage of the beautiful sailing weather. Upon our arrival at the wharf, we made a brief stop for some much-needed lunch, then walked over to our most exciting stop of the day: Manly Surf School! Because it’s winter here, everyone first donned wetsuits, then grabbed a board and lined up on the beach for a lesson. The instructors first gave an intro on the basics of surfing: how to paddle, pop up, and the best place to be on the board, as well as some general tips. Once in the water, everyone took turns catching waves, and within the rest of the afternoon, they had all successfully stood up at least once! Those who were not in the mood for surfing opted for some boogie boarding and also had fun riding the waves into the beach. Properly salty and tired out at the end of the afternoon, we meandered back towards the wharf to eat dinner and make our way back to the hostel. Showered and warmed up, even though a bit early, we all decided to turn in for the evening. Between all the travel and our first adventure into Sydney, tucking ourselves into bed will be most welcome. Until tomorrow!