New Year in Sydney - 33:51.9S, 151:15.9E
While we waited for dusk on New Year’s Eve our anchorage began to fill up. We went for a walk on the headland behind us and saw the preparations for the evening: entry to all the good vantage points is by ticket and fences were being put up to enforce it. In the harbour, buoys were put out to mark the ferry lanes and the exclusion zones around the firework barges in a well practiced operation.
As the anchorage filled up our view got a bit obstructed, but we still had an excellent view of the fireworks from the bridge and two of the barges that were down the harbour towards us. It was a great atmosphere, with music and parties on various boats around us, and even when boats got too close to each other it was sorted out in a friendly way.
The fireworks were spectacular, with two displays, 9pm and midnight. We could feel the reverberation from the explosions through the deck of the boat. At the end of each display there was a huge show of appreciation from the crowd around us in Athol Bay with cheers and the sounding of horns. At midnight we had a glass of wine then left the rest of the partygoers to get on with it!
Our anchorage in Athol Bay was below Taronga Zoo (the animals must have needed sedatives for the fireworks) and served by a ferry from the city, so on New Years Day we went against the flow of passengers as we caught the boat to town to sight-see.
The ferry ride gave us a great view of the Opera House. When we arrived at the ferry terminal at Circular Quay we found a tourist guide who gave us ideas about what to see in a day visit.
Her first suggestion was coffee at the café on top of the Contemporary Art Museum for the views. We were lucky to have picked a day when no cruise ships were in, as they berth in front of the museum and block the view of the Opera House and harbour.
Next we took in The Rocks, an old quarter of the city with old buildings and cobbled streets.
Then up onto the Harbour Bridge for the panoramic views across the harbour
After lunch in the Botanic Gardens we got up close to the Opera House building and were amazed by the intricacy of the tiling, which you don’t notice from a distance. That was plenty of walking for one day so we caught the return ferry to see people still queuing to get into the zoo!
On Monday we had a lovely afternoon with Sarah’s cousin Jason and his family. They drove in from their home outside the city and we caught the ferry to the next headland over where we had a picnic in a park overlooking the water.
It was time for a change of anchorage as we were getting tired of the constant wash from the ferries to and from the zoo, so we moved out to Rose Bay, where we managed to pick up a mooring for a night. Another reason for moving was an impending southerly gale and we thought to get the anchor settled where we would get shelter from the south. We got it wrong on one count: there are just as many ferries to and from Rose Bay, with the addition of seaplanes taking off and landing on a regular basis so it is not a peaceful spot during the day.
Rose Bay is just a 30 minute walk from the ocean side, and Bondi Beach, and it was a gloriously sunny day so we walked across to see what it was all about. In the middle of the summer holidays it was packed, but we found a spot to sit close to the water and watched the surfers for a while. According to a surf website the hazards for surfers are rocks, rip tides, locals and sharks. We could see what they were saying about the locals as the lifeguards were constantly patrolling and telling people not to swim in the dedicated surfing areas – only to be completely ignored. No sharks were seen!
Rose Bay not being the peaceful spot we expected we decided to move further inland to shelter from the gale and chose Lane Cove River, up river from the Harbour Bridge. The Bridge has been the backdrop to our time in Sydney, so we went under it in style, with full sail up. Lane Cove River was a great spot for a couple of days. We were anchored in just 5 meters of water so could put plenty of chain out in anticipation of stronger winds, but it was beautifully sheltered and we had maximum gusts of 18-20 knots, while the boats that remained in Rose Bay saw 35 knots. It was a commuter suburb, with ferries only in the morning and evening (a total of 6 a day) so we were spared the constant rolling from their wash. We stayed on board and caught up on some repairs and domestic chores while it poured with rain.
This morning the worst of the strong winds had passed so we emerged from hiding and came back to Rose Bay. We are now watching for the right weather to continue south and this anchorage is close to the harbour entrance for when we are ready to leave.
Our ramblings around the harbour: 1. Spring Cove, 2. Manly, 3. Balmoral Beach, 4. Athol Cove (for the fireworks) 5. Rose Bay, 6. Lane Cove River