Sydney Harbor

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February 14th 2016
Published: February 14th 2016
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11_Sydney Harbor 10 Feb 2016

We docked in Sydney at about 6 AM, a night and day and another night out of Melbourne; about 36 hours at sea. We were well away from the Great Barrier Reef and the Australian shore, and saw nothing except ocean and a few more ships than usual going the other way. Out on the rear deck at 9 AM, already docked, the famous beauty of the Sydney Harbor was not apparent. We could see two bridges and a lot of industrial activity, but not the Opera House. We should have been on deck at sunrise to see those famous sights as we sailed in, before we turned a corner into our dingy docking area. We will be ashore here for five days, so maybe we will see them on a tour.

There is an opera tonight (Barber of Seville), but you have to buy the tickets from the ship, which also provides a bus there and back, for about double the price of the tickets. We could have, but we decided not to. It would have been about $200 apiece. I’d rather see two or three operas at the Michigan Opera Theater when we get back.

I will be glad to get off this ship tomorrow. There was nothing wrong with it exactly, it’s just that the cruising life is not really for me. Or maybe it has just gone on too long. We had dinner every night with Dianne and Larry, which was pleasant, but otherwise we were mostly independent. I spent a lot of time in the library, which was surprisingly well stocked, and had a replica of the NYTimes online for free (most days). Some people on board do have projects that they pursue, but mostly it’s women with knitting or crocheting projects, not much company for me. The men I met were total bores. The cruise ship is certainly no place to write a book; there are just constant interruptions as the day’s program of entertainments plays out. And the cabin is way too small for one to write while the other sleeps.

P.S. The ship departed on time the day after the opera, but surprisingly she had to stop and drop anchor near the mouth of the harbor. Somebody on board (a man in his 50’s) had a medical emergency and had to be evacuated by the Harbor Patrol back to a hospital in Sydney. Meanwhile, Ms. Amsterdam became an obstacle to navigation and fouled up the ferry schedules and the passage of one of those truly giant cruise ships while she was anchored. She finally pulled out about three hours behind schedule, headed North along the Australian coast. This made the paper the next day in Sydney, which is how I know about it.

But of course this is nothing compared to what happened to the Royal Caribbean ship “Anthem of the Seas” off North Carolina on Feb. 7. Probably you knew about this before I did. But with 6000 people aboard, they sailed through an “unexpected” class 2 hurricane with 40 foot waves and winds of over 100 mph. The giant ship did not sink, a triumph of modern naval architecture, but the passengers were shaken up and a lot of furniture was overturned, and the weather ahead was so ominous, that they actually turned back to their home port in New Jersey. I hope somebody on board is a blogger. Fantastic material, I’m sure.


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