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Archive for December, 2004



* Sydney Opera House painted pink by fireworks ... NYE 2004 *

Every year Sydney, (New South Wales, Australia) stages a world class fireworks display, based around the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House.  An estimated 1,500,000 people crowd the shorelines of the harbour which creates a huge open-air amphitheatre.  The fireworks are designed to a different pattern every year and floating barges are used to add to the spectacle of the display.  

* This is a small part of a HUGE fleet that gathers for the Fireworks display! *

 The ignition timing of the tens-of-thousands of fireworks are done by computer (how do they do that?) and choreographed to music, which is played via a local radio station.

A cool part of the evening is a mini-fireworks display at 2100 … for the very young that have no chance of being conscious at midnight.  And it’s a substantial display the adults enjoy!

Part of the spectacle and the best vantage point from which to view the fireworks, is via the deck of one of the thousands of vessels anchored in the harbour.  Tsunamiwas one of them and we had a great anchorage in Farm Cove near Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair (also called Lady Macquarie’s Chair) which is an exposed sandstone rock cut into the shape of a bench, and was hand carved by convicts in 1810 for Governor Macquarie’s wife Elizabeth.  The peninsula itself is named Mrs. Macquarie’s Point. It is part of the Royal Botanic Gardens.

* Mrs Macquaries Point ... A chair carved from limestone back in 1810! *

She sat watching British ships coming in and other goings-on in the harbour.

* Sydney New South Wales ... New Years Eve Fireworks ... 2004 *

Daughter Melanie and John, Jody and Joe were with me and I decided to stay at anchor until next morning.  Many boats do, as the mayhem of the huge fleet of vessels leaving the event and trying to be home first, creates a chaotic and dangerous area of water.  I’m sure the hysteria is fueled by too many, having too much alcohol throughout the night.

Best I let the photos do the talking!

* Sydney New Years Eve Fireworks display ... 2004 *











* Lloyd, Joe, Jude, John and Melanie ... Sydney NYE Fireworks 2004 *

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RETURN TO PITTWATER … 29th December 2004

Having spent a riveting couple of weeks on Sydney Harbour, during which I motored/sailed up the Parramatta River and around about half the bays of the Harbour, I took off on a return trip to Pittwater.  Anchored at Little Manley Cove, waiting for a South Easterly to blow me north.  Whilst at anchor I had the bright idea to motor around to Manley in my dinghy (with new 3 hp Yamaha outboard motor) to shop for provisions at a local Coles store.  Had an unusual experience in the store when a pigeon flew over my head, creating all sorts of possibilities.

* Anchored at Little Manley Bay ... you are witness to many interesting `passers-by' ... this large catarmaran Charter Yacht came by often! *

Anyhow, on pushing my load back to the dinghy left on the beach (chained to a wharf) I was knocked over by another 40 Knot Southerly … I’m rapidly getting sick of these Southerlies, which arrive unannounced and with such violence.  Got back to the dinghy all right only to find the Manley Bay waters whipped into a frothy frenzy.  Could my little 3hp dinghy take it?  No it couldn’t, so facing the real possibility of drowning I headed for a patch of brown sand which represented a small beach. 

* Erica demonstrating the use of the inflatable dinghy ... normally carried over the stern of Tsunami! *

 Horror of horrors … the path took me over very shallow reef and weeds … it was low tide.  With the wind howling I drug the dinghy ashore and set off across the headland to checkout how `Tsunami’ was getting on on the `borrowed’ mooring … as she was copping the full blast of the SE’er across the bay.  No worries and back to the dinghy.  It was two hours before sunset and I was hungry.  I had bought a box of Diet Cokes and bag of nuts in my shopping spree (essential nutrition), so I relaxed alongside the luxurious swimming pool of an apartment complex and scoffed nuts and Coke.  30 minutes before sunset the winds died down to about 20 knots and I had to make a dash around the headland … or be faced with the prospect of travelling in the dark.  Not good!  Got home OK to Tsunami, drenched and promptly cranked up a hot shower!  What luxury!

* Demonstrating where/how the dinghy is carried. It is powered by a 3 hp Yamaha outboard! *

Sailed back to Pittwater in 2.75 hours the next day … a great trip.  The reason it was great?   Tsunami had a 25 knot SE breeze which pushes us along at 7/8 knots.

The reason for returning to Pittwater was so I would be there to show Melanie and John around the area, an area she particularly wanted to visit given her interest in or work with Environmental Reporting.  Pittwater is something of a special place for anyone interested in preserving natural forest/flora and fauna … so right up Melanie’s street.


I was introduced to this Club by Jim Holt who sailed his Seawind 1000 down from Lake Macquarie for the Seawind Regatta.  We were both anchored in The Basin Bay the night before the regatta … and as so often happens, he rowed across about 18:00 to make himself known. 

We spent a pleasant couple of hours mainly discussing the attributes of the Seawind 1000.  Jim subsequently invited me to a meeting of the CCCA.  The Club does not have a Clubhouse and its members are yachties who are retired in the main and have a common desire to sail anywhere (mostly the east coast of Australia), however, some go world wide and report back to the Club their adventures.  They also give the opportunity of sailing in company with other yachts and members.  Sounded exactly the basic philosophy of my travel plans … but, it wasn’t.  Members seemed very elitist and not at all interested in visitors … therefore, I WILL-NOT follow-up on Membership!



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* Night of the 25th December Tsunami spent alongside RMYC Marina in Rose Bay, Sydney Harbour. *

Being afloat on Sydney Harbour, we were in a position to witness the start of a World Famous Yacht Race … the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race – 2004.  This race (sometimes referred to as the ‘Bluewater Classic’ in the Australian media) is hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYC) and starts, every year, in Sydney, Australia, on Boxing Day and finishes in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. 

* A very good schematic (Complements of Wikipedia) of the course taken by Race competitors! *

The race distance is approximately 630 nautical miles (1,170 km) … and is run in co-operation with the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania. 

Melanie and John were with me and we anchored Tsunami in Rose Bay, adjacent to the start line at `Shark Bay’ in the Harbour, at 33° 51’02S … 151° 15’51E.  We witnessed the start of a spectacular Sailing event which we followed out into the Tasman Sea for a few miles.  They were much too fast for us though and we gave up the chase quickly. 

This race had a huge starting fleet of 116 yachts and to safely  accommodate them at the Start Line it was necessary to lay a second Start Line … the forward Line for the larger/faster craft and behind on the second Line, the rest!  They should have arranged a series of lines for the spectators as well … as they were climbing over one another.

* One of the 2004 competitors. ( I thnk?) *

Since the inaugural race in 1945, it has become one of the top three offshore yacht races in the world and it now attracts maxi yachts from all around the globe.

* The Sydney CBD as a backdrop to the Race Fleet start! *

This Race is also widely considered to be one of the most difficult yacht races in the world and over the years there have been many disasters and even fatalities from those competing.  The 1998 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race was marred by tragedy when, during a hurricane force storm … five boats sank and six people died. Of the 115 boats that started, only 44 made it to Hobart.

* Wild Oats XI under full sail ... a wonderful photo! (Compliments Wikipedia!) *

The current race record 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.

* Part of the Race Start Fleet from `Shark Bay' ... 2004! *













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It was my first day Xmas Day away from my family, ever, I think!  So, they came to me!  Curiosity about my new home and lifestyle had nothing to do with it … yeah right! 

* Melanie, John and the Mistletoe! *

It was therefore great to have Melanie and John from Albany, W.A., who were staying onboard with me … and Sister Shirley and Husband Merv from Windellama, NSW (I little district NE of Canberra) visit.  Tsunami was anchored at Roselle Bay, Sydney, at the time and it was short 0.5 nmile journey around the corner to the Fish Markets in Blackwattle Bay, to pick them up. 

* Sister Shirley and BIL Merv (from Windellama, NSW) *

* Tsunami has a Xmas tree on-board ... it's just that the leaves and branches are flexible for storage? *

We then motored through the canals of Darling Harbour, under the Sydney Harbour Bridge … past the Opera House and anchored off from the Governors residence in Farm Cove … ashore, a private reserve for the NSW Governor.  We had uninterrupted views of the two/three greatest attractions of Sydney and the Central Sydney Business District … free-of-charge!

* John with one of his Seafood Specialties ... prawns and scallops! *

What a great Xmas celebration with all the goodies one sometime dreams of.  John is a Master Chef with seafood and did an excellent job for lunch.  And Shirley put her hand to a fruit cake magnificently decorated!

* Shirley is a `Master' Decorator of cakes! *

* Melanie and two of the famous Sydney attractions. *




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