Wednesday, 16 July 2014

The really big smoke.... cheap as!! (Mainly photos :) )

July 16th 2014- Sydney

The trip to Sydney was, in itself, not very eventful and we were very happy when we could finally see the heads.
'twas a cold, cold day on the ocean blue!
Just a few of the carriers waiting at Botany Bay.
Seriously.... what a fabulous cemetery!
The Heads at Port Jackson (better known as Sydney Harbour) . Yay!!!!
Leavin' on a jet plane....... for New Zealand perhaps?

We arrived in Sydney on a Wednesday, but it was as busy a day as if it was a weekend. Boats of all shapes and sizes and numerous passenger ferries darted up and down and across Port Jackson (aka Sydney Harbour), making navigation a nightmare and vigilance an absolute must. A few yacht races were happening, with boats surging towards us, expecting us to get out of the way. The ferries cut close in front and behind as they heedlessly made their way to their various destinations across the water. Tiny catamarans and trimarans zigzagged about like wasps around sugar pots. It felt as though we each needed three pairs of eyes and taking photos was kind of tricky. 


Our closest encounter was just before we neared the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Whilst keeping our eyes peeled for errant ferries and yachts, we noticed a large racing catamaran heading our way with apparently little intent of changing course, despite the fact that we seemed to be right in their way. Dave said hold ground, so we did even as they cut across only feet from our rear. They were so close, we could almost have reached out and shaken their hands if we hadn't been ever-so-slightly panicked about a collision (well I was anyway). Of course these guys were obvious professionals and to them it was possibly not close at all. In fact they seemed absolutely oblivious to the fact that they could take our back end off with no problem, and seemed more concerned with not letting their own boat heel too much, but still.....! 


Fort Denison (Link)
They don't slow down for you. One of the many ferries in the Harbour
One of the interesting channel markers.
Zoom, zoom.... close pass by another racing boat
A rare sight in Sydney Harbour. Most freight vessels go to Botany Bay.
And the ferries also get a little close

After we passed under the bridge and moved further away from Circular Quay, the traffic eased off and we could finally breathe again. Our #1 priority now was to get to Drummoyne Sailing Club where we were to be based on a mooring for the next week or two.

Whilst there we caught up with our newest yachtie besties, Selina and Dave (who I shall name Dave2 for the sake of confusing anyone) who invited us aboard their yacht Quintessa for a lovely dinner, good wine and fun conversation. It was a late night. A couple of days later, Dave2 and Selina came for a visit, just in time to watch Dave ascend the mast to fix a broken light bulb and to straighten out the bird bent wind-vane. Later that evening it was our turn to play host and another late and somewhat boozy night was had. Another evening of total fun and relaxation. :D 


Every now and then things happen that are very interesting indeed, such as the racing of remote controlled yachts from the front of the yacht club. It was really fascinating to watch, as these little yachts still had to mill about just as their full sized cousins have to before a race and then when the starting gun sounded, negotiate the breezes and go around buoys. It was totally full on racing, with tactics and skill brought to the fore, and all in miniature. There was cheering and all sorts coming from the shore and it seems to be a very regular thing. From what we could gather it was totally serious business. No 'toy' references thank you very much.

Another very odd thing happened one warm afternoon when Dave spotted an object bobbing along near the boat. We watched it for a while and initially thought it may be a weird, kind of scary looking turtle, until it got closer and we realised it was metallic. Okay, our imaginations were piqued enough for Dave to get out into the dinghy and take a look. It turned out, after fishing it out of the briny, that it was a roof ventilator, the wind driven spinning type, inside which someone had placed a small, empty gas cylinder that was used to keep the thing just floating on the surface. By the rust on the whole thing, it had been in the water for some time. It could have presented quite a hazard for the wrong vessel but no longer. It's now somewhere in a recycling yard waiting to be crushed up and turned into something else.... we hope.


On day 5 we motored around to the fish markets at Pyrmont where, because their docks weren't busy at that time of year, we could tie up all day for free. We then hopped the free train into the city and did some of the touristy thing. The Bridge, the Opera House, parks, with Melbourne, because Sydney is so big, with so many activities and places for visitors, I'm not going to go too much into what we did. I will, however, remark on how much walking we did and how much the knee goblins played up. The little sods were intent on partying under my kneecaps, setting off teeny tiny explosions every time I took a step. Beware goblins, your time is coming. 



One of the huge Morton Bay fig trees near the Opera House.
Urban Cocky right in the city centre. :D

After getting back to Venture after our super cheap day trip, we moved around to Farm Cove, which is right between the Botanic Gardens and the Opera House, and is completely free to anchor in. I mean WOW! Prime views, central to the entire city, a 2 minute dinghy trip to the Man O' War landing steps at the Opera House and costs not one cent. That's got to be the absolute bargain of the century. The only concession to perfection is the fact that it's very rolly during the day due to the wake caused by all of the water traffic, but when the ferries stop and all of the boats have gone home for the night, it's beautiful. To get to shore, we had to take the dinghy to the Man O' War Steps and its small floating dock near the Opera House. This was, by far, the scariest dock we've come across. The noise as it moved up and down against the pylons was horrendous, with almost constant unearthly Kraken-like groans and creaks and shrieks of metal against metal. It didn't seem to bother the old guy who was fishing off the edge. He just moved with it. I hope he managed to catch a few.

The Bridge and Opera House from Farm Cove at dusk

Farm Cove Panorama from Venture.

Whilst at Farm Cove, we did a bit more of the touristy bit around the city centre to look at a few things we'd missed out on the first time in and we also partook of an obligatory trip to Manly on the ferry. I think there's some kind of law where, if you're in Sydney, you have to take that ferry. It's so famous that it is a line in a song by Australian Crawl. Good song! Manly itself was really lovely, with a wide shopping mall that stretches between Manly Cove and the open ocean.

Just one thing I'll mention about this... what's with the upside down sign??

The Bards Who Lived at Manly (Link)

A navy ship on the way to Manly.... bathed in light against a slate grey sky
A couple more Navy ships. We've seen a fair few already on our travels.
After our third night in Farm Cove I was really ready to move on. Though the million dollar view was gorgeous, the $1 seasickness pill became more important to my flagging countenance as I found myself becoming increasingly queasy when we were aboard our anchored vessel. It's pretty bad when you have to pop a pill and you're not even going anywhere! It was time to finally move on.

On the evening of the 25th, we headed over to Little Manly in order to get a good start to Broken Bay. The evening departed in a glow of fire fingers that lit up the opulent, money oozing cliff-top homes that towered above us. It was nice moored there though and I was once again struck by the realism that, when in a boat, you can basically stay anywhere in the harbour either cheaply or free, sitting in the cockpit in your daggy casual clothes, drinking red cask wine out of plastic goblets right alongside the well-to-do. Awesome!! Cheers Sydney!

Moored at Little Manly.

Location: Sydney Harbour NSW, Australia
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