Sydney again, this time in the beautiful sunshine! Gary, Carol, Kristine and I all traveled back together on the 21st and spent a night downtown. Cathy was already in town for a conference so it made for a big party, but also lengthy goodbyes!
During the day while Cathy was at her conference, the four of us went around town taking in the Queen Victoria Building and the harbour around Circular Quay, including the Opera House. Kristine and I also went to the Art Gallery of New South Wales, and stood and watched a bride arrive for her wedding at a massive sandstone church. Kristine said, "I want to do it again!". I told her it wouldn't be legal but that didn't seem to deter her... Anyway - I think it brought back a few memories of our day!
The next day, Gary and Carol left for the airport and Canada :( It was nice to see them though, so soon after we had started our trip, and I think it was great for the Robinsons to all be in one place again since both daughters are now gone from home. Kristine and I went and had breakfast with Cathy over at the Novotel, said our goodbyes, and then headed off to Bondi Beach. A beach we've been at before and have just loved!
It was a fantastic day, but not uneventful. The waves here are strong, but not too strong, and perfect for body surfing. After taking the city bus to the beach, we spent three or four hours just body surfing waves and lying around. Then there was a problem... All of a sudden a young girl surfaced right near us and she appeared to be unconscious. She bounced off of Kristine and into the arms of a stranger. Kristine thought she was faking but I knew something was wrong because she was very limp looking. I yelled at the guy to get moving and start carrying her in to the beach, and I started yelling at the lifeguards. They couldn't here a thing because of the crowds and the crashing waves. Damn, I thought - what the hell are we going to do? I tried to block the waves from hitting her, and I noticed that it looked like her chest was moving - she appeared to be breathing - good. But why was she unconscious? I thought maybe the wave knocked her out or something, or she had broken her neck maybe. Anyway, as the guy carrying her was working towards shore, I was blocking waves, and I started asking for people who could whistle to whistle to attract the attention of the lifeguards (I can't whistle - about the only time I wish I could). Kristine stared to whistle, but still they didn't turn. Finally we started relaying a message up the chain of people in the water to the beach as I jumped around flailing my arms and finally one of the lifeguards ripped off his shirt and ran. By now we had almost reached shore and the girl was grabbed by the lifeguard and some guy who said he was an LA County lifeguard on vacation.
What a nightmare.
They started ventilating her immediately and attempting to figure out what was wrong. A huge crowd started to gather and there was no space. The cops finally got there , but the media guys were real pigs, hanging the sound booms right over the action. We just sort off backed away and faded because of the growing crowd. Paramedics eventually showed up. After what seemed like hours, they put her on a backboard and took here to the waiting ambulance.
All Kristine and I could wonder was "was she alive"? We didn't want to have to think about whether or not our actions might have changed things if they had been different. After a while, we went and spoke with the lifeguards and found out that she had an epileptic seizure while in the water - that explains why she was breathing. She was going to be all right, and the actions we took by helping carry her out may have saved her from drowning, as she was unconscious. But she will be fine! What a relief!
That was enough action for one day. We got something to eat, and then caught the bus back into town and had one last look at the opera house and harbour bridge before collecting our stored bags and heading off to the Greyhound station for our night bus to Byron Bay.
The adventure continues. You never know what you might be involved in on this type of trip - but I'm glad our instincts made us act when we otherwise might not have. Life is so fragile - we all need to cherish and protect it.