Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012:
After days at sea, another landfall, the east coast of Australia and in particular, Sydney. This outstanding city nestles in the comfort of a beautiful natural harbour and this, no doubt, was the reason for early explorers using it and thus the city’s growth.
Its harbour bridge and opera house are iconic landmarks, known throughout the world and our sail-in took us past the opera house and under the bridge.
We were scheduled for a Darling Harbour berth, the OPT being occupied by a stately lady, the “Saga Ruby”, thus we sailed under the bridge, taking it dead-centre in order that our air-draft was less than the bridge clearance, we went under with approximately 4 meters, or 13 feet clearance and then a turn to the south, into Bangeroo dock and 5 berth.
A pipe band, resplendent in kilts, sporrans and bearskin were there to ‘pipe’ us in, a glorious start to a glorious port. We had some guests disembarking here, some ‘Aussies’ going home, others visiting friends and others doing land-tours before rejoining us in Cairns; we also had just over 100 guests joining us for our next segment to Singapore.
Australians are really friendly people, ask a question and they will not only answer, but chat with you for hours. A lively city too, where we were berthed, old warehouses and buildings have been renovated, apartments, restaurants and marinas now take the place of cargo ships. At night it is full of Aussies, old and young, enjoying the atmosphere. It is home of the Australian Navy too.
Ferry boats galore, scenic cruisers and party boats ply across the harbour day and night. Near Circular Quay there are buskers playing their ‘didgereedoos’ an aboriginal horn, near the ‘Rocks’ there are market stalls selling everything from clothing to boomerangs, a constant hustle and bustle of activity.
Guests have a plethora of tours they can participate in, anything from a ‘Bridge climb’, involving a walk, or is it a climb (?) of the Sydney Harbour Bridge (yes, over the top of it), to an evening at the Opera. There really are so many things to do that one is spoilt for choice.