I have always loved writing, and now that I am retired I thought I would be able to find time to write, but it seems that I still manage to fill my days with activities. I have however found that while I travel, I enjoy writing about some of the interesting things we do. I hope you enjoy reading of our adventures as much as I like writing about them.
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Down Under at Last
Sailing Into Sydney
After almost 30 days at sea, we finally
arrived in Australia, and at 6:00 am, we sailed into Sydney Harbour.
It was not an easy journey to get
there.After leaving New Caledonia we sailed
through seas of almost 4 meters, so the ship was bouncing and pounding through
heavy swells and waves. As we walked around the ship there were noticeably
fewer people out and about. I think many passengers were finding the rough seas
a bit unsettling so were staying close to their staterooms. Many of the people I
saw around the ship were complaining about the rough ride. I imagine most
people were happy to feel the ship pull into the calmer waters of Sydney Harbour.
Just fitting under the bridge
We were docking at the White Bay Cruise
Terminal, and the Noordam is the largest ship that can make it this far into
Sydney Harbour. It still has to be timed closely so the tide is low enough to
give the ship’s funnels the two meters clearance under the bridge. This timing
worked well, however and the sun rose as we entered the harbour allowing
everyone to watch as we slowly made our way into one of the most beautiful
harbours in the world.
Sydney Harbour really is spectacular. It is
deep and long, allowing the largest ships to get far inland. Of course there is
the iconic Opera House sitting right out into the water underneath the city’s
famous harbour bridge. We had to make two tight turns, which forced the local
ferries to stop and wait for us the get around and once we reached the cruise
terminal, the ship swung completely around, and the captain backed us neatly
into the mooring.
Sydney is a beautiful city, with a pleasant
combination of modern buildings and old historical landmarks. I was especially
pleased to find walkways all along the waterfront. It is a particular annoyance
of mine to find prime waterfront locations sold to big resorts and hotels that
then block access for the public. Increasingly cities are seeing the value to
creating “Public” areas along the waterfront and Sydney is following this
example. I was able to walk all along the waterfront from the Opera House back
to Darling Harbour with only a short break where a waterfront park was being
constructed. One section called Barangaroo was once a huge concrete pier and
has been reclaimed and converted into a beautiful park with trees, sandstone
breakwaters, and trails for walkers, joggers and bicycles. Of course there is
lots of commercial development along this same waterfront, but attractive
public walkways have been maintained and you do not find yourself blocked by
fences and exclusive resorts hotels. Even the converted warehouse condos in
Dawes Point feature walkways all around them.
One nice thing about cruising is that you
get a taste of many different places and it is brief stops on cruise journeys
that have brought me back to places like Spain, Italy and the Caribbean. Sydney
is certainly a city that our one day visit made us put it on a list of
locations to visit again.