13th February

A relatively short post today, we are on our way towards Brisbane, where we arrive tomorrow.  It will be a long day for us, having to transit the Brisbane river for 4 hours before we eventually arrive at the cruise terminal; this will require us to be at the pilot station at 3 a.m., need I say more? 🙄

The ship’s agent was good enough to take me for a quick trip ashore before we left Sydney, shopping for mundane items such as toothpaste, razor blades…  We had finished when the familiar aroma of pastry assailed by nostrils.  O lordy, a bakery and what’s more, Steak and Kidney pies!

Hallelujah!  As a Brit, there is nothing more scrumptious and so, suitably loaded with the goodies, we returned to the ship.

Our departure from Sydney yesterday was not without its challenges.  As is to be (unfortunately) expected, when one has such a large number of guests, one of them fell ill shortly before sailing time and it required the involvement of Sydney’s paramedics and a transfer to hospital. 2 of our fellow guests and close friends of the gentleman affected volunteered to accompany him, (one experiences the better side of human nature in such circumstances).  Such is our modus operandi that he will be looked after by our Care team, a shore-based group, whose sole purpose is to provide communication and after-care to any guest and spouse that may have to leave the vessel in unexpected circumstances.

We had 2 pilots join us for departure, (we only pay for one, lol); one of them being a Trainee, although he had 2 years experience within the harbour, he had yet to take a Cruise ship out.  I am not averse to such circumstances, (we all have to start somewhere) and so I agreed to let him take the Amsterdam out; the Master/Pilot exchange was therefore more detailed than most, particularly the characteristics of the Amsterdam’s azipods and her manoeuvering capabilities.  He was being overseen by the, more senior pilot too. 

Off the berth, a brief sortie out of White Bay and Darling harbour, then under the Bridge.  A (traditional) long blast of the ship’s whistles, (probably blowing the ears off an enterprising group who were doing the ‘Sidney Harbour Bridge climb and who were perched right on the apex of the Bridge, waving enthusiastically to our guests); passing the Opera house, the tourist cameras ‘flashing’ in multitudes as we passed them by.  Then past Fort Dernison, a remote islet in the centre of the harbour (and where, in times gone by, there used to be some poor soul, hanging on a gibbet, as a warning to sailors entering the harbour, that an extreme fate awaited any miscreant).

Atop the bridge, small figures on the Bridge Climb.

Atop the bridge, small figures on the Bridge Climb.

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It wouldn’t be Sydney without numerous yachts in the harbour and today was no exception.  The pilot boat ahead of us was ‘ploughing the road’, clearing our path and warning wayward sailors to keep out of our way; our whistles were used to good effect too.

Then out towards the ‘Heads’ one more, passing Manly Bay in the distance, disembarking our pilots and turning to the north, paralleling the east coast, towards Brisbane.

A medley of command, travel and family

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