Sunday, January 10, 2016

Unplanned Christmas in Sydney

A view of the Harbour Bridge from the Opera House
That is right: unplanned. Actually, we had "planned" to sail into Sydney Harbour on December 21st and anchor near other sailing friends for Christmas. We had tickets to see an event at the Sydney Opera House on Christmas Eve Day at 11AM.

Like I mentioned: we had "planned," but like many plans in the sailing world, Mother Nature rules! And so do mechanical issues. We left Newcastle as planned and went to Pittwater to grab a mooring ball near Newport for a few days. This way we would be able to leave for Sydney Harbour early in a morning and still get in with time to find another mooring ball or anchorage. From there we would plan our next move in the area.

Our view as we passed on the ferry
While friends, John and Leanne on Songlines, suggested we join them in an anchorage in a nearby bay, we opted to go further in and make arrangements to leave S/V Trillium for the New Year's holiday while we go to Sydney. That was a good decision as things went downhill from there!

Inside Sydney Opera House
We actually found a good, but tight, mooring and prepared to go ashore to make arrangements. The dinghy was lowered into the water; the new Mercury 5 hp motor was put on and we were ready to go. NOT! The new motor would not start!

Great architectural design.
Okay, no problem; we have another outboard - our old Yamaha 8 hp. So we swapped motors. The Yamaha started with a bit of a protest, but it hadn't been used in several months so it didn't surprise us. We made it to shore and took care of business. On the way back to the boat, it quit! Just froze up so Dennis couldn't even pull the starter rope!

This is where the oars we struggled to get two years ago back in St. Martin came in handy. It was a long way back to the boat. We learned of a Mercury dealer between where we were and the boat, so we decided to row there. Fortunately, a helpful sailor offered a tow which we graciously accepted.

The exterior roof is tile. That is how it can bend.
Of course, it is a few days before Christmas and they are not accepting any new work. Can't even look at it until January 4th! It seems that places close between Christmas Eve Day and New Year's Day.

Okay, plan C or is it D? Then we rowed to the boat. Online I found a Yamaha dealer in the area, but too far for rowing. We wanted to buy a new Yamaha, but learned the 8 hp model we wanted would not be available until April!

So we bought another 5 hp from him. Now we have to get the motor delivered from somewhere and commissioned before they close for Christmas. Mission accomplished and we got the new one in time. Rod Waterhouse of DBY Sales gave Dennis a tow to pick it up and leave the older 8 hp for service. Merry Christmas, Dear. Santa just delivered early!

Interesting angles and details everywhere!
Now I am depressed as it had been raining for two days and was forecasted to continue for several more. We have been stranded on a mooring ball without a motor and we may miss our Sydney Opera House event! My dear hubby accepted my suggestion that we take the bus to Sydney and instead of staying just for the day, we stay for Christmas. Thank you, Dear.

Okay, where are the statues?
Christmas in Sydney did not feel like Christmas at home, but it was wonderful. We saw "The Impressionists 1903" in the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House. Loved the performance and the architecture! Our hotel is the same as where we will be for the New Year's Eve celebration, so everything is within walking distance.

It helps to be in the Catholic Church when looking for statues!
By a stroke of fate, I messed up the directions to the Catholic Church on Christmas Eve. We thought we had found it, but once we sat down we knew something was missing: Mary, the Crucifix, etc. I asked the gal next to me for the name of the church: St. Phillips Anglican! I loved it because the Protestants can really sing and the Carol Service was the right place to be on Christmas Eve! 
On Christmas Day, we found the Catholic Church for Mass. It was across the park from St. Phillips! Without family or friends near, we had nothing to do on Christmas Day after brunch and Mass so we decided to take a ferry ride in Sydney Harbour.

A view of Manly Beach, New South Wales
We will be sailing into the area after the New Year's holiday celebrations are over, so we thought it would be good to look at the entrance to see where we might anchor for the first night. The Manly Ferry took us from Circular Quay in The Rocks area to the town of Manly.

Just a short walk from the wharf through the town on the Corso took us to the Manly Beach. It is one of the most popular in the Sydney area. Manly Beach is located on the north side of the harbor and Bondi Beach is on the south side. We will visit there on our next trip to Sydney.

One family celebrating Christmas at the beach.
We enjoyed the Christmas decorations in the city square and watching families celebrate Christmas Aussie-style! They take a picnic and their gifts to the beach. After eating, the gifts were passed out and opened. No one was dressed up; no big dinner, etc. Just summer fun at the beach. It was difficult for me to get in the Christmas spirit here, but it was interesting to see how it is done by some in the warm climate of a summer Christmas.


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