Sydney Harbour glorious on a grey day

We were invited on our friend’s new boat, I am sure it is not called a boat but a cabin cruiser. He keeps it moored at Birkenhead Point.

This one is brand new and has every convenience you would want but a still a size where you feel you are on a watercraft, not a floating mansion or hotel. Cara Mia has a few luxuries that would entice you to stay out overnight, a toilet and shower, a well equipped galley, sleeping quarters for eight people and air conditioning for those nights that sleeping below deck becomes a bit stuffy.

It is a lot of fun looking around a boat that is designed by professionals. Even the door knobs are designed to click back flush with the cupboards, absolutely no ugly protuberances and every bit of space is fully capitalised.  Before cast off, we began our voyage by testing the espresso machine. One of those no fuss machines where you insert coffee pods and voila!

Our host fully justified the flat screen television that rises on the press of a button, saying it is for those days when he has gone out and the weather was not conducive to swimming off the boat. It has kept the grandchildren occupied and happy. If the grandchildren are OK then the adults can stay longer holding out for better weather, it all makes sense to me.

Our Skipper John and his control station. The press buttons made it look so simple but he has many years experience behind him so we were in good hands.

Sydney over Easter was ideal, the sun came out in short bursts and although dark clouds menaced us from above it made for some dramatic sky photos and amazingly it did not rain at all. I defy anyone with a camera to bypass a shot of the Opera House under any conditions.

As we cruised along our skipper pointed out some of the lesser known landmarks of the harbour. I am sure Sydney dwellers know these landmarks, it is just that they are not icons for the world. The Lighthouse at Fort Denison has an interesting history. The dominant feature is a Martello tower (a small defensive fort built in countries of the British Empire during the 19th century) was the only one ever built in Australia using 8,000 tonnes of sandstone from Kurraba Point Neutral Bay which is right next to where I regularly stay in Sydney. The tower had a garrison for twenty four soldiers and one officer. The guns have now been removed except for 3 cannons in the gun-room in the tower, the passages being too narrow to remove them and in fact the area was too small for the recoil so placement of the cannons have been useless from the beginning.

We loved seeing the dramatic entrance of the Sydney heads, known colloquially as The Heads.

I was intrigued by how many people venture out into the Sydney Harbour on flimsy craft, in particular kayaks, pretty brave considering how many large water craft are stirring up the water as we did. It goes to show that the Sydney Harbour is for everyone, not just the expensive boats. We did slow down when they came near.

When we arrived at our skipper’s chosen bay (it is a secret location) for lunch and a swim, we were quickly found by the nautical juice guy and soon after the nautical coffee guy. These entrepreneurs are operating cruising cafe’s, what a brilliant idea. So to keep them in business our skipper host treated us to a spontaneous morning tea of banana bread from the juice guy and coffee from the coffee guy.

After gorging ourselves on thick slices of banana bread our lunch was simple and ideal, we had a selection of Italian meats, cheese and olives. No fish on this day, we are planning a fishing excursion for another day.

We watched as our neighbours cook on a barbeque that was secreted away into a hidden compartment designed to resist any wind spoiling the heat source.

Even though we were in a quiet area, there was plenty going on around us. I watched a mother in the small craft in front of us change her baby’s nappy and very small children rowed their rubber dingy in and out of the shore from their parents large boat moored nearby.

Another luxury on Cara Mia is a day bed built on the bough, ideal for sleeping off lunch and champagne.

Our Gilligans Island crew. I think the skipper kept in mind who was on the guest list, for when something untoward happens, you need a variety of strengths and abilities, so keep some young people on board!A happy mix of relatives and strangers got along very well this day. I am a now officially spoiled and my Binalong Bay (Tasmania) boatie friends will be worried about how to live up to the new standard I am used to. Roz

  1. #1 by Debra Kolkka on April 19, 2010 - 4:17 am

    It is hard to beat Sydney Harbour in a boat! It is a very special place.

  2. #2 by Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial on April 20, 2010 - 7:22 am

    Ooh, a post about home – thank you Roz! Birkenhead Point is my old stomping ground, and that “secret location” looks very familiar. 🙂 I do recall having to lie on the beach there for a while to get over being seriously seasick when out on a friend’s boat once.

    Could not agree more with you about the Opera House – I feel fortunate every time I see it. 🙂

    Cheers, Celia

  3. #3 by Ron Pirotta on April 25, 2010 - 9:56 pm

    Roz, a great travelog. You have shown great pictures of my own back yard also. Birkenhead Point, before the marina was built and the current buildings occupied by Dunlop Tyres Manufacturing, was my secret fishing spot throughout the 60s and 70s. The harbour still looks great on any grey day.
    Regards Ron

  4. #4 by karolina on December 29, 2010 - 1:56 am

    Seems like a great trip, thanks for sharing!

    • #5 by tastetravel on December 29, 2010 - 10:11 pm

      hope you get out on the harbour on a good day!

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