Yesterday we were at port in Sydney, Australia. We arrived early; before sunrise, because we had to be docked by around 6am. We were across from the Opera House (see attached photo) but right next to the ferry docks so we had to be in place before they started to get really busy with their daily runs. For the same reason we left late (about 10:30). But, that gave us the whole day in Sydney.
Weather was dry but from a beautiful morning it turned into a really hot afternoon. Then, in the evening, a 25mph wind started up out of nowhere. So, being on deck as we left Sydney was a bit of a chore just standing.
Arrival was unique. Apparently, a “custom” had been started last year and we continued it. The passenger choir was out at 5:30am, dressed in their bathrobes, and singing Waltzing Matilda as we entered the harbor. Remember, this was before sunrise! Quite a tradition. The trick was having to get up about 4:45 to see all this and then be ready for the day that followed. It helped some that we set the clocks back an hour that same night before Sydney so we got that little extra sleep boost.
We did the administrative thing entering the country and then set off on the excursion I picked for Sydney: a tour of the city and the famous Bondi Beach. The bus took off and the first thing I noticed (aside from driving on the “wrong” side of the road) was the narrow streets and massive traffic jams due to new construction on a mass transit system. We had to negotiate a number of detours off the normal route the bus would have usually taken. Many bus window photos taken; a few came out OK but most have reflections and other defects not to mention a lack of identification about what they are photos of. We did stop a couple of places so those photos document the trip for the most part. The main stop was at Bondi Beach where we had about an hour. I’ve attached a panorama of the wide swath of the beach from the shore side; most other photos are from the side so this is a kind of unique point of view. Why not the other? There wasn’t time to walk down to the end of the beach and back and it was very hot so one quickly tired.
We then got back on the bus and returned to the ship with an unplanned photo stop just under the Harbor Bridge. Was time for lunch so I ate on the ship and then, needing to do it, took a 1.5 hour break to do the laundry. Figured that the machines might be available at port and some were. Other folks had the same idea. Laundry done, I went out for a walk over to the Opera House. The docked photo referenced above was taken on this walk. It was very hot by then and even with a full water bottle along with me by the time I got to the Opera House I just had to turn around and walk back, taking several shade breaks along the way. Was happy to be back on the ship.
Through the rest of the day/night I took more photos of the Opera House as it seemed to change character over time as the light changed. Thanks to Chinese New Year we even got fireworks last night. By 10pm ferry activity had waned we could leave without putting a dent into traffic on the water. The wind had come up and it was hard standing on deck but I did and took a good panorama of the waterfront starting at the Opera House and around through the docking area to the first pylon of the Harbor Bridge.
We’re now on the way to Tasmania (Burnie) where we will be tomorrow. More later.