|Cockatoo Island is of the largest of
several Sydney Harbour islands and one
which we could get to by ferry and tour
on our own. The island has a varied
|s/y Nine of Cups
December 2011 - January 2012
|To get to our marina, we passed thru the
Spit Bridge at its designated opening time.
|Cammeray Marina has been around since
1890. It welcomes international cruisers
and had a mooring for us thru the holidays.
|Cammeray Marina, Sydney - 33S49.02 / 151E13.49 - Moored
|Christmas morning toast (above)
Turkey drumsticks for Christmas dinner with
Shawn & John of "Active Transport".
|Boxing Day, 26 December 2011 - Sydney-Hobart Race
|The current race record for the Sydney-Hobart Race was set in 2005 by Wild Oats XI, which crossed
the line in a time of 1 day, 18 hours, 40 minutes and 10 seconds.
|Sydney, Australia Facts...
|We motored round Grotto Point with its
picturesque lighthouse into Middle Harbour.
|Sydney was established as a British colony in 1788
when the First Fleet sailed into Port Jackson and
anchored in Farm Cove.
|We hung out around the Sydney Heads at the sea mark waiting
for the race to start. The scene was pure bedlam. Hundreds of
boats of all shapes and sizes, crowded the harbor. Midst the big
boats were kayakers, paddle boarders and skiffs. We counted
12 helicopters hovering above, adding to the frenetic atmosphere.
|we climbed the 109 steep, narrow,
jungle-like stairs every time we
wanted to go to town. An adventure!
|Cammeray was made even more interesting by
the critters we met on the stairs...like the pair
of water dragons that inhabited the stairwell.
|The marina was surrounded by bush on the
north side. Hundreds of sulphur- crested
cockatoos live in the area and their raucous
squawks can be heard from dawn till dusk.
They are cheeky little buggers as evidenced
by the fellow to the left who was
methodically removing someone's wind
indicator. There were geese and ducks
floating around the docks. Lots of gulls and
cormorants soared by as did huge, Australian
pelicans. We even spotted a little blue
penguin poking its head up near the boat.
Evidently the fishing was good in the area
because lots of folks could be seen fishing
from the dock at Tunk's Park.
|The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race (sometimes referred to as the 'Bluewater Classic' in the Australian media) is hosted by
the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, starting in Sydney, Australia on Boxing Day (26 December) and finishing in Hobart.
The race is run in co-operation with the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, and is widely considered to be one of the most
difficult yacht races in the world.The race was initially planned to be a cruise by Peter Luke and some friends who had
formed a club for those who enjoyed cruising as opposed to racing, however when a visiting British Royal Navy Officer,
Captain John Illingworth, suggested it be made a race, the event was born. The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race has grown
over the decades, since the inaugural race in 1945, to become one of the top three offshore yacht races in the world and
it now attracts maxi yachts from all around the globe. (from Wikipedia)
|The 630 nm Sydney-Hobart Race begins in Sydney Harbour,
crosses the Bass Strait and ends in Hobart Harbour, Tasmania.
|From left, Mary-Anne Purkiss, Marcie,
David, Dal (our captain) and Tony Purkiss
aboard "The Indefensible".
Investec Loyal 2:06:14:18.
Wild Oats XI 2:06:17:26
|Investec Loyal checks out the winds at
Sydney Heads just minutes before the
start of the race. They ultimately won
the race ...a big upset for Wild Oats.
|Wild Oats, 5-time previous winner, and
Investec Loyal were immediately in the
lead and were neck and neck as they
rounded the mark.
|Everyone wants a view!
|Of the 88 boats that
started the race in Sydney,
76 boats finished.
|Our friends on Fifth Season arrived with
more guests aboard and they rafted up to us.
We later separated when it didn't seem
prudent to remain rafted.
|Our view of the race was pretty exciting from our vantage point just inside the North Head at the entrance to Sydney Harbour.
|The 2011 race marked the 67th running of the Sydney-Hobart Race.
|New Year's Eve 2011 - Sydney Harbour - Athol Bay - 33S51.07 / 151E14.41
|A smoking ceremony is an ancient custom
among the Aborigines that involves
smoldering various native plants to produce
smoke which they believe has cleansing
properties and the ability to ward off bad
spirits. It's performed at major events, such
as births and deaths and the start of the
Sydney NY's Eve celebration.
|We moored outside the Spit Bridge for the
night in order to get an early start to Athol
Bay in the morning and stake our claim for
a primo viewing spot for the fireworks.
|By Noon, the anchorage was pure bedlam.
Hundreds of boats were anchored, rafted
up and vying for the best vantage spots. In
actuality, from this anchorage, there wasn't
a bad spot. Everyone had a great view!
|The sunset with the iconic Opera House
and Sydney Harbour Bridge in our front
yard was stunning.
|The New Year's Eve festivities began
early and included a sky writer and an
impressive aeronautics display.
|About once an hour starting at 9pm, some
"teaser" fireworks were shot off to whet
our appetites for the real thing.
|A view of the boat parade of lights
|We counted down the seconds, synchronized with the clock on the bridge, to the stroke of midnight. The sky erupted in an unbelievable display of color, sound and dazzling lights.
On and on, the pyrotechnics continued and we pinched ourselves to confirm we were really here to witness it all. The fireworks are launched from seven barges on the Harbour, the
rooftops of seven city skyscrapers and, unforgettably, from Sydney Harbour Bridge. Bringing more than 1.5 million people to the Harbour, this majestic fireworks display is the
reason why Sydney is the New Years Eve capital of the world.
|The Sydney Ferries
|The fireworks display is carefully
designed by Sydney’s Foti International
Fireworks and requires a pyrotechnical
crew of 45 people. Foti Fireworks is a
carbon-neutral company that uses
carbon credits, low-environmental-
impact fireworks and recycling.
|An estimated 1 billion people around the
world see the Sydney New Year’s Eve
Midnight Fireworks and Bridge Effect.
|The City of Sydney’s New Year’s Eve fireworks
display is the world’s largest and most techno-
logically advanced New Year’s Eve fireworks
display. It draws larger crowds than Paris,
London, Berlin and New York City with about
1.5 million people gathering on the Sydney
Harbour foreshore and 2.6 million Australians
watching the fireworks on TV.
|Approximately 11,000 shells, 25,000
shooting comets and 100,000 individual
pyrotechnic effects were used in the
display. The fireworks weigh 7 tons.
Fourteen shipping containers worth of
equipment are needed for both displays –
that’s 120 tons of gear. Twelve computers
digitally launched the fireworks on the
Harbour Bridge, barges and buildings,
synced by 10,000 cues.
|Sydney Festival in Parramatta
|Folks from Sydney are called Sydney-siders.
|More than 60 kilometres of wire and
cables link the launch computers.
There are 130 firing points on the
Sydney Harbour Bridge.
|Some Sydney fireworks stats:
|Early settlement grew around Sydney
Harbour and quickly stretched up the
Parramatta River, over to the North
Shore and to Manly. The only realistic
way to travel around was by boat.
Within a year of colonization, Sydney's
first ferry was built and launched.
|In 1788, European settlement in Australia began on the shores of Port
Jackson, described as "the finest natural harbour in the world".
|Sydney Ferries' fleet consists of 28 vessels
(all of which are wheelchair accessible), which
travel around 1.3 million kilometres per year.
In the 230+ years since colonization, more
than 500 ferries have serviced the harbour
and its adjoining rivers and coves.
|Sydney Ferries operates approximately
175,000 services, transporting more than
14 million people across Sydney Harbour
and the Parramatta River each year.
Above, the view across the harbor from
aboard the Mosman Ferry.
|A view of "the Rocks", the historic area which
is the location of Sydney's original settlement.
Once we got a taste for what Sydney has to
offer, we planned to return on foot.
|We traveled east under the Sydney Harbour
Bridge on the Darling Harbour ferry for
views of Darling Harbour and the Maritime
Center. We'll have a lot of "returning" to do.
A wee bit of
|Above, the Darling Harbour ferry stop. To
the right, a view from our ferry window as
we approach Circular Quay, the main
terminus for all ferries.
|Fort Dennison, one of several of Sydney's
harbor islands is now a heritage site visited
only on tour with National Parks personnel.
|The "wedding cake" is one of Sydney
Harbour's historic navigational aids
which still lights the way for sailors.
|Sydney Harbour Bridge
|Whether you walk under it, sail under it,
ride over it or walk over it (some fly over
it while others climb it), it's hard not to be
impressed by the Sydney Harbour
Bridge. The iconic structure is a steel
through arch bridge across Sydney
Harbour that carries rail, vehicular,
bicycle and pedestrian traffic between the
Sydney central business district (CBD)
and the North Shore. The dramatic view
of the bridge, the harbour, and the nearby
Sydney Opera House is an iconic image
of both Sydney and Australia. So, just a
few photos of a very famous bridge.
|In 1932, Francis De Groot, a retired cavalry officer,
managed to get himself selected as part of the honour
guard at the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
When the ribbon was about to be cut, he galloped
forward on his horse and slashed the ribbon with his
sword, declaring the bridge open in the name of 'the
decent citizens of New South Wales'. The ribbon was
then tied back together and the ceremony continued.
De Groot was carried off to a mental hospital. When
a psychiatric examination declared him sane, he was
fined for the replacement cost of one ribbon.
|The bridge was designed and built by the English firm of
Dorman Long and Co. Ltd. and opened in 1932.
|The Sydney Harbour Bridge is affectionately
nicknamed "The Coathanger" because of its
|Christmas Day - December 25, 2011
|According to the Guinness Book of World
Records, it is the world's widest long-span bridge.
|It is the fifth longest
spanning-arch bridge in the
world and is the tallest steel
arch bridge, measuring 134
metres (440 ft) from top to
|Until 1967 the Sydney Harbour
Bridge was city's tallest structure.
|We snagged a passerby to take this photo.
|We walked across and took this
picture of the harbor.
|The top...you can barely see figures up
there who were doing the Bridge Climb.
|Going under in Cups ...strained my neck.
|The view from the other side
|Sydney Opera House
|The Sydney Opera House is situated
on Bennelong Point in Sydney
Harbour, close to the Sydney
Harbour Bridge. It sits at the
northeastern tip of the Sydney central
business district (the CBD),
surrounded on three sides by the
harbour (Sydney Cove and Farm
Cove) and neighbored by the Royal
The Opera House is a multi-venue
performing arts centre, conceived and
largely built by Danish architect Jørn
Utzon, finally opening in 1973 after a
long gestation starting with his
competition-winning design in 1957
and following constant altercations
and scandals with local officials which
led to his resigning before the Opera
House was completed.
The Opera House was formally
opened by Elizabeth II, Queen of
Australia, on 20 October 1973. The
architect, Jørn Utzon, was not invited
to the ceremony, nor was his name
even mentioned. The opening was
televised and included fireworks and
a performance of Beethoven's
Symphony No. 9. Sadly, Utzon died
in Copenhagen on 29 November
2008, aged 90. He never returned to
Australia to see the completed opera
|The Sydney Opera House was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site on 28 June 2007. "It is one of the
great iconic buildings of the 20th century, an image of great beauty that has become known throughout the
world – a symbol for not only a city, but a whole country and continent. "...the 2003 Pritzker Prize for
"Utzon made a building well ahead of its time, far ahead of available technology, and he persevered
through extraordinary malicious publicity and negative criticism to build a building that changed the image
of an entire country. It is the first time in our lifetime that an epic piece of architecture has gained such
universal presence." Frank Gehry, when Utzon was awarded the prestigious Pritzker Prize in 2003.
|A view from Circular Quay
|A view from the Bridge
|Approach from wharfside Opera House Bar
|Walking up the stairs was a dizzying feeling.
Wish we were here for a performance, but
not this time.
|Up close, it's all mountainous peaks and angles.
|A close-up of the tiles that cover the roofs.
|Sydney on foot ... Chinatown
|Sydney's Chinatown is located in the
Haymarket section of the city. It's centered
around Dixon Street, a pedestrian street
mall with many Chinese restaurants, and
with a Paifang (welcome arch) at each end.
|A yin-yang Chinese
calendar hangs outside a
restaurant on Dixon St.
|Colorful banners announce
Chinese New Years -
January 23, 2012.
|Chinese New Year (also called the Lunar New
Year) is 15 days of celebration and the start of
the Year of the Dragon.
|Colorful Chinese New Year decoration kiosks
were in abundance. Red, corresponding with
fire, symbolizes good fortune and joy in the
|Sydney's Paddy's markets, a Sydney
institution, are a flea-market and fresh market
adjacent to Chinatown and great fun.
|The fresh market was lively and well...fresh!
|The Chinese meat market offered kangaroo tail,
duck feet, duck tongue, ox tail and pig maws.
We bought boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
|Chinese New Year is the most
important of the traditional
Chinese holidays. 2012 is the
Year of the Dragon. It's one of
the 12-year cycle of animals
which appears in the Chinese
zodiac related to the Chinese
calendar, and the only animal
that is legendary. The Dragon
is the mightiest of the signs.
Dragons symbolize such
character traits as dominance
and ambition. There are metal
dragons, water dragons, wood
dragons, fire dragons and earth
dragons depending on your
year of birth.
|Eclectic Sydney ... a bit of this, a bit of that
|From a distance, Cockatoo Island does
not look very appealing...especially the big
"No Trespassing" sign. Dismal and
industrial from afar, it was quite interesting
once we arrived and took a self-guided
tour of the two different levels of the islands.
|We were constantly amazed at how agile the
ferrymen were at making fast to the docks.
|Built to get men and equipment from one side of the
island to the other, the tunnel doubled as a bomb shelter
during WWII. Right, Fay takes a look at some interesting
artwork. My favorite was the hippo with ship above.
|Public camping is now allowed on the island in the area that
was once the plate yard...the area in which large steel plates
were cut and bent to shape and then incorporated into the hull
of ships that were being built.
|Above, on the Plateau level, David takes a look at the old
Guardhouse barracks, designed to double as a fort. If there was a
prisoner revolt, the guards could barricade themselves inside and fire
through the embrasures. Right, an old warehouse becomes a work of
art with indigenous Australian animals painted on its walls.
|The waters around the island were
believed to be shark-infested. Only one
man, aided by his Aboriginal wife, ever
escaped from the prison.
|Part of our enjoyment of Sydney was
walking around and finding places and
things that amused us or fascinated us.
We'd walk and see a building or a sign
or a scene or just a light (right) ...
something different that caught our
attention or made us take a second look.
So...no rhyme or reason here, just
|Irish pub (above)
Oldest pub in Sydney (right) where we
had lunch and a pint.
|Commonwealth of Australia Bank
|Massive, regal Queen Victoria Building (QVB)
|Vuitton Roo on George Street (above)
Right, "Forgotten Songs", Sydney's
Laneway art at Angel Place, mourns the
loss of natural habitat for native birds.
|An obliging young Aboriginal man poses
with Marcie while taking a break from
playing the didgeridoo at the Circular Quay.
|What's that? It's a fancy urinal!
|The bronze boar statue which sits in front of
the old Rum Hospital was a gift from Italy.
It's considered lucky if you rub his
nose...notice it's pretty shiny. Right,
Centrepoint aka Sydney Tower Eye rises
1014 ft. It is Sydney's tallest free-standing
structure, and the second tallest in Australia
|Sydney's Rum Hospital was built by rum
barons in return for receiving the
monopoly on rum sales in Sydney.
|Cadman's Cottage is one of Sydney's oldest surviving buildings. Built in 1816 as part of
the Government Dockyard, it accomodated the government coxswain, the officer in
charge of boats, operations and crews. The house was named after John Cadman, the
third and longest serving in this post. Both John & Elizabeth Cadman were convicted
criminals. He stole a horse and was sentenced to death which was commuted to "14
years transportation". She was convicted of stealing two brushes and some knives and
sentenced to "7 years transportation". Pretty stiff penalties in today's society.
|The bronze "WelcomeWall" in Darling
Harbour outside the maritime museum is a
tribute to the millions of people who arrived
by sea to settle in Australia. As of the end
of 2011, the wall contains 24,000 names
|Approximately 4.5 million people visit the Sydney Opera House each year. This is about a quarter of Australia's
total population and more than twice the number of yearly visitors to America's White House.
|The lightship Carpentaria, an unmanned
lightvessel (effectively a floating
lighthouse) built during 1916 and 1917
sits moored near the Maritime museum.
|Time waits for no man ... and the minutes and
days of summer were ticking by much too quickly.
We left Sydney regretfully. It's a wonderfully
electric, vibrant place to be, but Tassie called and
off we went.
Our plan is to return to Sydney at the end of this
year. There's so much we did and so much left to
do. We still haven't visited the Royal Botanic
Gardens, the Maritime Museum, NSW Art
Gallery, the Australia Museum, the zoo...the list
goes on and on. Thank you, Sydney and
Sydney-siders for your hospitality and making
these cruisers feel exceptionally welcome.
|You could stay in Sydney for a year
and still not have visited all the
nooks, crannies and anchorages that
abound. Too many anchorages...not
enough time...at least not THIS time.
We moved from Cammeray Marina
shortly after the Grimms left us. We
moved first to Bantry Bay, still in
Middle Harbour and still behind the
|Bantry Bay - 33S46.71/151E13.89
|Though only six miles from Sydney CBD,
we were in the bush..
|The anchorage is surrounded by Garrigal NP.
Outdated munitions buildings are off-limits.
|A small jetty on the east side of bay allows
access to park grounds and picnic areas.
|Lane Cove River - 33S50.24/ 151E10.13
|We opted for an anchorage with ferry
access to the city. There are several
across the Harbour, but we knew they
were a bit crowded. Instead we chose
the tranquil Lane Cove River. Though
crowded with moorings, there was
plenty of room to anchor and good
holding in the muddy, river. Also just a
short walk to the Woolwich ferry dock.
We were in the bay opposite the
Longueville Wharf, Aquatic Club and
Rowing Club and were frequently
entertained by the young sailors and
crew teams practicing in the river near
|Young sailors learning to sail. These little
boats are much less forgiving than Nine
of Cups...thank goodness. We watched
as one team tacked too tightly, capsized
and then righted themselves. They
seemed non-plussed by the ordeal, nor
particularly shaken by the cold river
water and handled it all in stride.
|Sydney Festival is a month long, annual
arts celebration. Music, theatre, dance,
visual arts and talks are scheduled
throughout the month. Fifth Season
invited us to meet them in Parramatta,
way up river from Sydney, for a picnic
and free concerts one evening.
|Via ferry and train, we made it to Parramatta for
the concert. The river is so shallow that even the
Sydney Ferries cannot make it all the way up at
some low tides.
|Our meeting place was the historic Old King's School.
We arrived early before any crowds and staked out a
good picnic site on the lawn which afforded good
views of the stage.
|Clockwise from above left: Laying out the
picnic. Look at the dark clouds in the
background and the results; Gail & David (Fifth
Season); A very damp Marcie & David (photo
John Lewis); Marcie puts the moves on a real
camel jockey; the Barefoot Divas concert; John
& Shawn (Active Transport) wait out the rain
under an umbrella and tarp. Nobody melted, all
the picnic plates were rain-washed without any
effort and a good time was had by all. The
concert was terrific and the company superb.
|While in Sydney...
|From the blog 15 Jan 2012...
I broke David's favorite mug today. I accidentally
whacked it against the counter as I was taking it down
from its hook to make coffee this morning and the
handle broke off. This is really his favorite mug. It's a
Charleston South Carolina mug with the iconic blue
crescent moon and palmetto tree on a
solid white background that I bought for him our first
Christmas aboard. It's cracked and crazed through and
through from more than a decade of daily use. Though
I'm fickle with mugs and buy a new one in every
country we visit, David has remained loyal to the
Charleston mug. I've given him a new Australia mug
and argued that it's the "half-way around changeover
mug", but the coffee just isn't tasting the same. I'll be on
the lookout for a replacement when we return to the
States. In the meantime, we'll commend the broken
mug and a tot of rum to the sea when we depart ... our
usual tribute Neptune when we set out on a new
passage (and we did!).
|Brewmeister at work....
In our continuing efforts to be
self-sufficient, independent and
thrifty, David bought a Coopers
DIY beer brewing kit at the local
K-Mart for $85 and began
brewing his own beer.
We'll add a page to the website
soon outlining the process and the