Sunday, December 19, 2010

We are in Brisbane Waters at the moment, just north of Broken Bay. We came up the river into this area last Friday. It was nerve racking getting in here. Going up the river, across the bar we registered 0.0 on the depth sounder, meaning there was no water under the keel, Barry has it offset by about 0.2 m so we were really close to touching bottom. Then we went under a bridge, the bridge has a clearance of 17.4m at high water and we measured the mast the other day and it was 16.6m to the point we measured to which was at least 0.5m from the top, so we had very little room to play. We went under about 2 hours until low water which meant we should have 1.5m approx. clearance. I wanted to wait until absolute low water but Barry insisted we should have room and away we went. When we were about 5 m from going under the bridge, Barry who was driving shouted, “I don’t think we are going to make it!” he asked whether I could tell. From my perspective at the front of the boat there was no way I could tell, so under we went….. we squeaked through. Further up the river the depth sounder again registered 0.0 and I kept waiting to get stuck, fortunately it didn’t happen and we met our chums and had a wonderful BBQ at their house.

Can you tell if we were going to make it???

We decided to take a train into Sydney yesterday. Our buddies told us it was a very scenic trip and the rapid transit system is an excellent way to get around the city. We visited the famous Sydney Opera House and since we were there decided that we had to take a tour. It was well worth the money, and the views are spectacular. There are at least 5 theatre venues in the Opera House, one for the ballet and a large one for the symphonies and other attractions, the smaller venues were for drama productions, including one for mainly children’s theatre. The gov’t started a lottery to generate funds for the Opera House and our guide explained that the gamblers of Australia were to thank for paying for this wonderful structure. After the tour we had Sunday lunch in the Opera Bar, a very scenic and popular spot overlooking the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I felt very pampered and spoiled to be sitting there.

We headed off to walk across the bridge. If you look at the picture of me with the bridge in the background you can see a large pillar over my left shoulder. Once we found our way onto the bridge we climbed up that pillar and enjoyed the views from its top. It has a small informative museum in the pillar dedicated to the building of the bridge.

While we were at the top gawking at the marvelous views a tri-marin was sailing towards the bridge intending to pass under it. He got in trouble and did not have enough speed to tack so he headed off the wind to get up enough speed to try and tack again. We could see it coming; he was headed right for the sea wall almost directly underneath us. He tried to tack again but the current and the wind worked against him and drove him into the wall. What a goof, luckily no one was hurt, his crew member snapped a pole trying to fend him off the wall, he didn’t break his bow sprit, he was lucky. I am sure his pontoons were scraped up but he finally got his sail down and motored backwards off the wall. Hopefully when it comes to our turn to sail under the bridge we can manage to do it with a little more discreetly and if nothing else we can tell the people at the top of the tower to turn off their videos, we have no desire to make it on you-tube!!

We returned to the boat via the train and at the moment are sitting aboard in 35 knots of wind. We are anchored in about 4 m of water with 30 m of chain out so are quite content to wait out the big winds. We are hoping to sail into Sydney Harbour tomorrow, after once again squeaking under the bridge and over the bar!!!