27 February, 2007

At last, dolphins that have a bit of life in them. As son as we hit the NSW boarder, it seems like a new bread of dolphins, more like back home where they come around and ride the bow wave. These ones which where part of a pod of about 15 or so hung around for about 20 minutes. Well long enough that I went back to reading my book anyway. Haven’t quite figured out how they knew where the boarder was but it was great to have them.

Still plenty of coal coming out of this country, leaving Newcastle we must of sailed for over 4 hours through coaliers, we gave up counting at 30 plus, and this is just one of about 4 areas where they export coal, mostly to China but also Japan and Korea. Funny that Aussy is probably one of the more susceptible countries to global warming and here they are exporting one of the main causes. Ah karma. It’s a HUGE topic of the press and conversation over here at the moment what with the big dry. Mind you when the draught breaks so will the interest in global warming probably.

And so it was that we finally made to Sydney on a grey old day. I must admit it’s pretty cool sailing into Sydney harbour. It’s one of those things that not that many people get to do and it really is a magnificent harbour but hell, it’s got some traffic, especially on the weekend.

Still, nothing compared with Singapore I’m sure,s as we shall find out latter this year. We are really starting to get excited about leaving Aus and really starting the adventure. It does still kind of feel like home here, especially when it seem like half the people you met are Kiwis. Meet two more couples today at Manly that have yachts registered in Mooloolaba, Aucklanders and south islanders. Anyway the real offshore will all start when we do the Darwin to Kupang (Indonesia) rally at the end of July. Then up to Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia which from all accounts is just fantastic. Anyway, back to Sydney. We timed it to arrive here for Australia day which is a huge affair here with Aussy flags everywhere and on everybody, hats, shirts, pants, babies etc, etc. Still it was a great day with lots happening. We met up with some fellow yachties we had meet in Brisbane and watched all the events on the harbour, which was a total madhouse, from the safety of shore. They had a tall ships race amongst other events which was really impressive finishing under the harbour bridge, of course. Needless to say there was another fireworks display in Darling harbour that night. It did all give you pause to compare the celebration here to Waitangi day back home. Something is definatly missing in how we celebrate our identity, actually we don’t, that’s what’s missing.

Oh by the way, this is a two parter as we can only get four photos per blog, so carry on with the blog below.
Hello again. The couple we met at Brisbane that we did the Aus day stuff with may well feature a few times as they have the same kind of itinerery as us from here, that is back up the coast late April and onto the Darwin rally so here they are, Patrick and Elizabeth, very experienced, been at it since 93.

We often dine and or drink on each others yachts as is the custom with yachties we are finding, very social. Actually we have met several boats who intend doing the same rally so it will probably be a big bunch of friends (about 100 yachts) getting pissed together at each end interrupted with a bit of cruising inbetween. Sounds good to us!

Sydney has been great and we have been very busy taking in the sights. We found a travel pass that gets you around for a week with all buses, ferries and trains in the Red Zone, no not like the one at the rugby sevens, for $33. Great value, so we have taken in the Nautical museum, fantastic, the Sydney museum, great display of the building of the bridge, Olympic stadium, Aquarium, Bondi, Manly, movies, and general cafĂ© hopping, not to mention the Ice bar. One of those things where everything is made of ice, well nearly everything, the walls and the roof weren’t, buh the rest was, glasses, tables and carvings. Entry included your “free cocktail”, vodka of course which was really yummy.

At the aquarium Heather got really brave and patted a shark, OK so it wasn’t a really big one, nor particually hungry but I’m sure it could of done some serious damage to her nail polish if it so choose!

Most of the time we are anchored in Balls head bay which gives us good access to the train and an easy row to shore, Pat and Elizabeth are here as well. Most of the time it is very calm and we have a peep of the bridge just above the trees.

We have occasionally strayed, a couple of nights at Manly, just a short walk for a surf, and a weekend on a mooring while I assisted on a Landmark course and Heath caught up with her cousin south of the city. It was a pretty rocky mooring but was safe to leave the boat there and is where we will be leaving the boat when we come home, this week. Friday 23rd. Hopefully the weather has fined up at last for us.

Till next time,

Shane and Heather