Christmas and New Year, part 1

Wed 6 Jan 2016 06:44
33:51.028S 151:14.505E

Evening light view from our NYE anchorage.

We had the loveliest Christmas. Byamee and their extended family welcomed us into the fold and we enjoyed a fabulous day filled with kids, dogs, feasting, great conversation and plenty of thirst quenching. They even supplied a piper to pipe in the Christmas pudding; Joe, Paul’s dad wielded the bagpipes magnificently. The weather was exactly as it shouldn’t be for Christmas: bright and sunny, with a cooling breeze. The kids were in and out of the pool and we ate in the shade on the patio. A true Southern Hemisphere Christmas.

We had left the dinghy tied up to Byamee, on her mooring, and Paul rowed their tender out to pick us up, but just before he arrived we had a bit of excitement. Phil spotted flames and smoke coming from one of the wooden piles on the dock, we went over to investigate and it was burning just like a log candle, with 2 foot flames. Phil climbed up from the dinghy, managed to find a hose and doused the fire. It could have been a sad Christmas Day for the boat owners along the dock, there was a good breeze and no one else was around on Christmas Morning. Perhaps someone threw a cigarette end in the top of the pile?

Lochmarin in place, awaiting the celebrations.

There are certain places in the world where one hopes to be one day for New Year: Edinburgh, of course; the London Eye; Times Square and right up there on the top of the list… Sydney Harbour. We knew it was going to be busy so we decided to grab a spot the day before. All looked good, there were about 10 boats in the Athol bay, just below the zoo, and we had a clear view to the bridge. We dropped the hook and settled down to watch the comings and goings. A quick look over the side made me decide to leave swimming for the time being - it was more like jelly fish soup than water. Phil assured me that they didn’t sting but I still prefer to swim without the feel of jellyfish all over me. I didn’t fancy getting them out of my hair afterwards either. They didn’t put off the dolphins though, three of them came exploring the bay to keep us company whilst we waited for more New Year’s Eve revellers to join us. We didn’t have long to wait. A few sailboats came to anchor but mostly it was motor boats, big ones and small ones, they seemed to enjoy a certain camaraderie because they rafted up in long lines close to the shore. A little worrying because they only had a couple of little anchors between the lot of them…

Rafts of motorboats behind the anchored sailboats.

They didn’t mind about the jelly fish, they were on Christmas Holidays, and that meant, if you couldn’t be in the water you should at least be on it!

Inflatable sitting room - but where’s the telly?

For some, it was just that bit too busy, this super yacht decided he was in danger of damage from the small fry and lifted his anchor (deploying his automatic chain wash system to get the mud off, no standing on the fore deck with a deck hose for him!)

Super yacht threads it’s way out of the increasingly busy anchorage.

By the end of the 30th all was well, there was just a couple of boats ahead of us, we still had a clear view of the city skyline and the bridge. We were used to strange bird calls in the evenings here, but as the sun set the animal calls from the zoo, seals, monkeys and lions it sounded like, added a touch of the exotic to our evening. We were all set for New Year’s Eve.