Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Great Ocean Road

I never envisioned myself surfing. Or being able to carry a surfboard and in fact, I can’t. I had to be paired with my friend Sam so we could both carry our boards down to the water. For a weekend in mid-March, the Loyola group of students studying at Monash went to The Great Ocean Road. We first went to the Surf Museum and viewed the history of surfing. The evolution of surfboards and different types of boards is fascinating. The museum also played a documentary of Australians surfing all of the fifty states which made all of us a little nostalgic for America. But luckily, we were quickly whisked off to Bells Beach, another famous Australian beach. There were people surfing and hang gliding from the surrounding cliffs. The waves seemed unreal and the water was a little too cold for my liking. After our quick stop at Bells, we were taken to our surf lesson at Point Addis Beach.

Sticking my legs into a wet wetsuit still covered in sand, I wasn’t so sure of what I had gotten myself into. The wet suit was damp and way too long and the board seemed massive compared to my body. The surf instructors ran us through a series of drills and took us into the water without boards to get used to the temperature. We learned how to jump up and the best ways to balance. After the crash course on sand, the intructors put us all in the water and helped us pick waves. Soon enough many of my peers were standing on the boards. I spent the majority of my time closer to shore with an instructor helping to point out waves to try. I stood up for milliseconds to quickly topple sideways and into the water. Needless to say, the entire time I could not stop laughing. Being abroad is for adventure and trying new things and surfing is definitely one of them.

Following surfing, we drove along The Great Ocean Road to see the different beach towns and look out onto the ocean. It is a small road that winds along the ocean that started construction in 1918 and was completed in 1932. Servicemen built it in honor of fellow service men that fought in World War I. The road links the otherwise isolated beach towns. After driving along, we reached our destination for the night where we had a barbeque and quiet evening.

In the morning, we toured some of the famous sites along The Great Ocean Road. We saw the 12 Apostles, which are giant rocks standing in the water by erosion, the London Bridge, which is a rock shaped like a bridge, the Grotto, which is a cave like structure and Loch Ard Gorge, which is a small beach area sandwiched between steep rocks. The sites were incredible when I realized that it was all naturally created. The azure water seemed so inviting but was deceptively cold. Not long after realizing how vast the coast is, it was time to leave the beach behind and return to Monash.

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