Our retirement on Island Time as liveaboards.
Island Time cruisers have taken a break not only from sailing but from the onset of winter in Vermont. We journeyed down under to Australia (via the big silver bird). We planned to spend six days in Sydney and then hire a caravan to travel around the country.
Days 1-3 We left Burlington, VT on Sunday, October 11, 2009 on USAir to San Francisco via Philadelphia - 7 hours flight time. San Francisco to Sydney was a fourteen hour trip where we arrived on Tuesday October 13 at 7 am.
The flights on USAir was void of any services - no snacks (except a drink), no movie, no pillow, no blanket – and we were charged $20 per check thru bag. Of course we could have purchased food for $6 to $8 dollars.
Upon arrival in San Fran, not being a world traveler, I did not realize that we would need to leave the secure area and head across the airport to the international terminal – get boarding passes for Quantas and then back thru security – it was annoying.
However, Quantas was worth the effort. We got on the plane and waiting for us in the seats were a blanket, pillow, headphone for the free TV located in the seat back in front of you, comfort pack (includes a sleeping blindfold, socks and a small tooth brush and paste). After we take off we get the menu for the flight including a Planning time line at the bottom. First three hours of the flight - receive comfort pack and a snack pack for the evening (comprised of water, dried fruit, cookies, M&M’s and mints) and then in the last three hours of the flight is breakfast.
The dinner was a choice of Herbal Chicken or streamed fish with salad, a roll and tiramisu with raspberry sauce. And you can a have a free drink – John had beer and I had a glass of wine. Breakfast was either continental or a hot breakfast of vegetable frittata served with grilled tomatoes, sausage and spinach plus fruit salad, yogurt, juice and coffee – and then a hot towel to freshen up.
We arrived in Sydney at 7 am on Tuesday (4 pm Monday in VT) at Latitude S33 degrees 53 minutes and longitude E 151 degrees 13 minutes.
Customs and immigration was fast (we had gotten our visas ahead of time). However the airport sniffer dog liked my bag. They are very strict in Australia about bringing in fruit. I had an apple in my bag which I had tossed but the dog still could smell that it had been in my bag so the bag was thoroughly searched. Customs was different from the US, they send all incoming luggage thru the x-ray machine. I assume that they are looking for weapons.
Our friends Terry and Marjatta were waiting for us. So nice to have a friendly face in different country.
John with Marjatta and Terry our very attentive hosts. Darling Harbour is in the background.
Terry and Marjatta dropped our suitcases off at the hotel and then we started our first tour of Sidney. First stop was Darling Harbour where Terry and Marjatta had borrowed a friend’s condo so they could stay in Sidney to meet us.
From Darling Harbour we took a bus to Circular Quay in the heart of Sidney Harbour. Circular Quay is a hub of tourism/transportation in Sidney. From here one can get a bus to about anywhere in the city or its suburbs, ferries to attractions and outlaying areas of the Harbour and tributaries or a mono rail. The Quay has many restaurants, souvenir shops and street entertainment including aborigines with their didgeridoos.
The Sidney Harbour Steel Bridge was completed in 1932 and crosses the Harbour at its narrowest point. Tourist can climb the bridge to the top. We chose to skip that excitement.
From Sidney Harbour we walked to the Sydney Opera House. The building is magnificent. The roof is made of individual tiles some glazed and some matt finish. This tiles cause the roof to look different colors in different levels of light.
After our quick tour of the Harbour we popped into a pub for lunch where I had pumpkin frittata. Aussie’s use pumpkin as a main vegetable to be served with a meal - other than in pie.
After lunch a walk thru the Rocks which is the oldest section of Sydney where the first convicts were settled. The convicts first started being sent to Australia after the American War of Independence as England could not send its convicts to the American colonies any more.
Back to the hotel to get cleaned up (finally) and then dinner with Terry and Marjatta. By the time we returned to the hotel we were exhausted as it had been 40 hours since we left Burlington with no sleep except on the plane.
Terry and Marjatta had returned home to Morriset (about 2 hours north) and we were on our own to explore. We did a Sydney Harbour cruise “the Coffee Cup” cruise on the “Captain Cook” cruise ship line. We took the free 555 bus from our hotel to Circular Quay, had lunch and then off on our two hour tour. Sydney Harbour is very large with many coves and bays off the main harbour. It was cold and windy day with scattered clouds. Towards the end of the cruise we had our afternoon tea comprised of tea or coffee and various muffins.