Thursday, August 12, 2010

Sydney Harbor Sailing

Neither Miranda nor I had been to Sydney during the winter months of June, July or August. The ballet stints there are November/December and March/April, and once during the 2000 Olympics we were there for the month of September. It was in the low 60s for our visit which was fine though we didn’t get a chance to swim at Bondi Beach!

We met Dave Clarence, timpanist for the Opera Orchestra, at the Opera House stage door before their performance of La Somnambula that evening. He signed us in and we showed the boys the Green Room, our former dressing rooms (definitely the best view of any dressing room I’ve ever had!) and the stages of the various halls. It was also fun to see some of the orchestra members as they came in for work.

We didn’t stay for the Bellini but met Robert and Libby Albert, Sydney’s greatest art supporters, at a restaurant on the Quay and had a grand time catching up with them. In years past they would take us out Sundays sailing in Sydney Harbor on their lovely 38ft sloop, experiences I’ll never forget. They hadn’t changed a bit, Libby as lovely as ever and Robert still championing plain speak.

In the morning we hopped on the ferry for a trip to Manly. I was explaining to the boys how in 1788 Captain Cook had sailed into Botany Bay which is about 20 miles south of Sydney Harbor and staked claim to Australia. When he continued north he sailed right past this perfect harbor because it’s invisible from sea. The harbor opening between the two Heads is only about a mile wide and then the harbor turns immediately south, then back west finally opening out onto the glorious harbor. So from sea the harbor it looks like a small bay. About 10 years after Cook, the First Fleet did sail into the harbor and came ashore near Circular Quay.

The Manly ferry ride is about 30 minutes and you don’t even see the Heads until about the last 7 minutes of the trip. The wind was at our backs for the trip over and the boat was empty so we had a fun time sitting outside in the front row watching the harbor go by.

We spent about an hour walking along the Corso and sitting on the beach watching the surfers practice their art. After a windy trip back to Circular Quay we met Vicki and Jayne, two former ballerinas, for a quick coffee and headed back to the airport for our Tiger Air flight to Melbourne.

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