Sunday, January 29, 2017

Oz: Such A Nasty Woman

Site of one of the first Women's Marches taking a stand for human rights on the day of USA's 45th Presidential inauguration.
Hyde Park South, Sydney Australia.
Nasty sticker-giver.  Women's March, Sydney, Oz.
If you want a sense for how much impact the USA makes beyond its borders, travel abroad in the wake of a USA Presidential election.  

In 2000, I was in Australia on business whilst the whole "hanging chad" election results debate rocked well beyond the USA.  What irony! We're the country known for playing watchdog over other countries' elections!

Back in 2000, Ozzies (Australians) were more than happy to volunteer their opinions regarding our next President, right down to the bus driver who noted my American accent.  Overall, the reaction was one of great nervousness, particularly as it was looking likely a major change in regime was imminent.

In 2012, we were in Dominica, where we needed to ask for help getting our ballots in.  With limited wifi bandwidth, we needed to get our ballots scanned and that large file emailed to the Washington State elections office.  Dominicans were happy to help - there was great interest in our elections.  In fact, every bar we walked past featured CNN's USA election coverage on their TVs. 

The 2016 election, like 2000, highlighted the disconnect that can happen between the popular vote and the electoral vote.  Just as we did not find ourselves with Al Gore for President in 2000, a few days ago it was not the popular-vote-winning Hillary Clinton who was sworn in as the USA's 45th President.

Early gearing up for the Sydney Women's March.  Hyde Park, Sydney Australia.
Nonetheless, I was again grateful that Washington State enabled me to vote in the Presidential election via email (from Australia).  If I didn't vote, even though my state is generally a "blue" state, I would've felt as though I contributed to Hilary's loss.

Come November 16th, I felt stricken by a mix of disbelief, shock and fear upon hearing the US Presidential election results.  A large part of what drives my vote is who I believe the President will appoint to the Supreme Court, as those lifetime appointees have a very long-lasting influence on what I regard as my personal rights.  In general, my alliances are far more liberal than conservative, thus Democratic, rather than Republican.

More early birds for the Sydney Women's March.
Thus, when fellow cruiser, Marce Schultz of Escape Velocity sent out a Facebook shout to see if any other cruisers wanted to join her for the Sydney Womens March I was intrigued.  The march was timed to send a human rights message the date of the inauguration of the USA's 45th President; the Sydney march was one of over 670 January 21, 2017 Women's Marches worldwide, with the leading march in Washington DC.  

"I'm afraid these marches could get violent," confessed a friend who opted to not participate in the march in her hometown, despite her sympathies with the cause.  While I did feel there was some risk, my hunch was the marches would be peaceful (especially in Australia, one of the leading countries on gun control, where the incidence of gun violence dropped after the enactment of gun controls).  More importantly, I felt compelled to demonstrate my agreement with the Martin Luther King quote "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."  

An upbeat crowd materialized shortly before the speakers kicked off the Sydney Women's March.
The Sydney Women's March started from the reflecting pool at South Hyde Park, and wove its way to completion next to the US embassy in Sydney.

Marce was a stone's throw from Sydney.  I was an hour and a half's bus ride away*, but was in.  Better still, fellow cruiser Chris of Scintilla was also willing join us and was along the bus route in.

*FYI - Sydney's transit webpage did not give the accurate fare amount - it was nearly $1 AUD short!  From Newport L90 to downtown Sydney is $5.40 AUD not $4.50 AUD.  Apparently it's not the first time the bus driver's had to let passengers know that.

Sisterhood of the pink pussy hat at the Sydney Women's March.
Chris and I arrived early, well before the first of the 11 am speakers, who were preceding the noon march.  In fact, we weren't too sure how big the turnout would be as at that point, there weren't many folks there beyond the organizers.

Marce, carrying the sign her husband Jack made. Sydney Women's March.
One of the early birds was a gal handing out free "Such a Nasty Woman*" stickers, which we happily donned.  Marce, when she arrived later, luckily got the very last sticker.  The gifter of the stickers said her brother in the States printed them up for use there, and happily sent some his sister's way to support the Sydney Women's March.  The Sydney Women's March also marked my introduction to the "pussy hat" phenomenon, as the sticker-giver was wearing one.

*"Such a Nasty Woman" is a retort Trump uttered as an interruption to Hillary Clinton's commentary in the final Presidential debate.  I found out about "Nasty Woman" from the hysterical Saturday Night Live spoof on the Presidential debate.

That changed, dramatically.  A goodly sized crowd gathered, filling a broad swath of the street through the march.  My guesstimate for the turnout was 5,000, though reports for Sydney's total ranged from 3,000 - 10,000.  

One of many special interests under than banner of human rights at the Sydney Women's March.
One of many kids participating at the Sydney Women's March.
The intent of the march was to support not just women's rights, but a range of human rights. Despite diverse interests, there was a strong, deliberate sense of unity. 

In Sydney, every speaker began their speech by noting that land from which they spoke belonged to the Aborigines.  Apparently, that is now a relatively common practice in Australia.  I do not recall hearing a series USA speeches beginning with homage given to native American Indians, which given the stance the US is now taking regarding immigration would be quite appropriate!

However, we did not see anyone in the march who looked aboriginal, though we heard (but could not see through the crowds) a speaker on Aboriginal rights.  Presumably, as she spoke in the first person, she was aboriginal.

We did see plenty of men there to lend their support, including Jack, Marce's husband.  We also saw lots of kids, male and female, happy to support their mums in the cause.  There were even dogs, bearing banners.

Some banners were insulting, some angry, some funny, some altruistic.  Many of the signs were clearly originated for the Washington DC Women's March, acquired via internet and printed.  "Washington [DC]" was crossed out, and "Sydney" written in its place.  Then at the tail end of the march, there was a Trump supporter who who paid a skywriter to get in his 2 cents... for ~$4,000 AUD.

I was not a sign-carrier; my attendance was as much driven by curiosity as to offer support. 

This sign made me laugh. Note to future protesters - this simple graphic
against a pink background really stood out!
Personally, I don't believe that anger or insults are the most productive approach to use in protecting human rights (though I do confess to chuckling over some that struck me as funny).   In general, I strive to work hard to understand the facts and issues, including getting clarity on the viewpoints opposed to my own, with as open a mind as possible.  

While some feel our role is to as supportive as possible of our President, I believe it is my responsibility as a citizen to express the kind of governance I feel is right.  Apparently, I am not alone.  As historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich famously quipped, "Well behaved women seldom make history."

Some estimates put worldwide participation in the Women's March at 4.8 million -- I felt privileged to be part of the movement. The march  in Washington drew at least 500,000 and is the largest single-day demonstrations in U.S. history.  Seeing my friends in New Zealand, Portland, Vancouver Washington, Seattle, San Francisco and San Jose also participate in the marches in there hometowns was also very cool - global sisterhood.  

One of many Washington Women's March signs adapted for the Sydney Women's March.
The challenge... Now that the march is done, what next?  What are your greatest hopes and plans moving forward?  I am open to your ideas - particularly what actions will be the most productive, even when coming from a US citizen, far, far from home.

Oh - the "Such A Nasty Women" sticker proved a great conversation opener.  It prompted questions from folks wandering around Sydney near the march to ask about the sticker and what was going on.  As well, on the bus ride home, an ex-pat (also named Dana!) from the San Diego asked about it as well.  We finished our conversation by exchanging phone numbers. 

Hmmm, maybe that's how it will be in the interim, one conversation at a time.

Sydney Women's March takes to the streets.
Location Location
We're in Pittwater, New South Wales, Australia (S33.39.433 E151.18.051), about an hour's drive (in light traffic), an hour and a half bus ride, and four hour's sail (in good conditions) from Sydney. 

Up Next
In just a few more days, we'll begin our clockwise, 6-month tour by van of Australia.  Journey's for sale, though there's lots more to blog about, catching up on past adventures and transitioning from the open ocean to the open road.  

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Oz: Nomadic "Home" II

3-wheeled motor cycle with a boat sidecar towing a tiny trailer
Life on the road for several months in Australia (aka Oz) will be a bit different!
Thanks, Rich Kallerud, for finding the perfect pix to show what we've got planned!
This was our New Zealand budget
for a road trip vehicle....
This is what we ended up road-trippingwith in New Zealand.

Soon - this van camper-conversion will be "home" for us on the road, in Australia.  Photo from Seonkook.
After ~19,000 nautical miles, the time is approaching to shift from keels to wheels -- a common transition for cruisers still feeling wanderlust and wanting to see the world less wet.

Journey, our Pearson 365 ketch sailboat and "home" since September 2012, is now officially listed for sale, though not exactly show-room ready.  While exceptionally mechanically sound, part of her much-needed beauty treatment is making her inviting for her new owner (whoever that might be).  

That means in addition to basic cleaning, sanding, vanishing, painting etc., figuring out what to do with everything not physically not part of the boat.  

Downsizing - again!!!

One bonus?  Our new bed will not be shaped like a pie slice!  We'll have more than 1 1/2 feet for our 4 feet.  Yay!
Photo from Seonkook.
Everything aboard, we need to decide

  • what stays for the new owners (not much)
  • what comes with us on the van (much less still)
  • what's sold (less still)
  • what's shipped back to the USA (almost nothing - we don't know where home will be next or when, it's expensive, and we don't want to abuse the good graces of Wayne's folks garage space)
  • what's given away to charity, other cruisers or whoever else finds it worthwhile (a bit)
  • what's thrown away (a lot, embarrassingly, most likely including my dead, former and once resurrected Mac)

For Wayne, almost the only part that makes it hard is my foot-dragging.  He is a good minimalist.  I am not.  

We're downsizing from a sailboat with about 150 feet of living space (and a LOT of storage) to a van about 1/8 of that, with decent storage for its size.  However, that's not saying much, for our home for the next 3-10 months, carrying most of our remaining worldly possessions.
Our new closet is on the left, followed by our tiny new 'fridge.  On the right is our new stove and hand-pump sink,
with kitchen storage underneath.  Photo courtesy Seonkook.
I cannot deny being stricken (again) by a sense of panic as we go through this process.  

It takes some time for me to visualize how it all will work.  

Letting go also means letting go of everyday conveniences (ample fridge, hot showers, a toilet), little pleasures (our SodaStream machine, my kayak, my favorite long dive fins), mementos (including most of my clothes - some favorites will have to go😦), failures (various dead and unused computer and electronic equipment), and dreams (reference books, SCUBA gear).

It took us 4 weeks to find our new "mobile" home.  

Our ideal was:  Toyota Hiace (reliable and repairable everywhere) van, built-in fridge, cooktop, sink, cabinets, roo bar, poptop, less than 250Ks "mileage," couch that converts to fold-out bed, air conditioning, sound engine... all for >$10K AUD at a price we felt we could resell for close to what we paid.

The market in Oz is hot for affordable van-camper conversions.  Twice we made offers, foolishly held only with the good intentions of a handshake.   Both times the seller found an easier quicker sale before the deed was done.  Several vans sold before we could see them.  

Then we got lucky.
Sunny & Seonkook, from their travel blog,  Impressive travelers!  We bought their van.
We were the favorite out of 20 prospective buyers on the van we bought, a well-kept 1982 Toyota Hiace poptop factory van conversion, with 186K "miles".  For whatever reason, sellers Sunny and Seonkook ("Kook") chose us to see it first (maybe it was our constant checking of Gumtree [much like Craigslist in the USA and TradeMe in New Zealand] for new listings, and promptly letting prospective sellers know we were motivated and ready to pay cash).  They knew - even stated with justifiable confidence in their ad -  "See this will you buy it."  

Wayne making sure we had enough cash to buy our van.  We had to pull our ATM daily limit, daily, several days to have enough.
We'd just reluctantly coughed up $1,100 AUD for an outboard motor replacement, and were a little short of the sale price.  Miraculously, Sunny and Kook were willing to hold their van for for us, and even pulled their Gumtree ad once we committed.

Front row seats on our upcoming adventure.  Sunny described this vehicle as "classic."  With a manual choke and
no power steering, it is.   Photo courtesy Seonkook.
We did compromise on air conditioning (there is none - which we expect we will regret touring scorching Western Australia), and there were other vans with 4-wheel drive (but less room inside), newer, or for less money.  Like boats, though, everything is a compromise, and we believe you know you've found what you're looking for when you stop looking.

Overall, we're very happy with our choice, and enjoyed meeting Sunny and Kook so much, we hosted them for dinner aboard.  They've done some amazing travels!  Check out their blog - though Google translate doesn't translate much from Korean!  You can still enjoy their photos and have fun guessing where they are.  Oh, and all the van photos on this page came from Kook - no point in re-inventing the wheel! 

My next "galley," as seen from the back of the van.  Photo courtesy Seonkook.
Location Location

We're in Pittwater, New South Wales, Australia (S33.39.433 E151.18.051), about an hour's drive (in light traffic) and four hour's sail (in good conditions) from Sydney.   

Up Next
After Journey's spa treatment is completed, we'll hit the road.  There will still be catch-up blogs from our cruising, as well as blogging about our road trips, like we did in New Zealand, New Caledonia and elsewhere.  We're targeting a week (or so) out, certainly less than two.  We're not quite sure where we'll go, though we'll likely start with Oz's legendary  Great Ocean Road.  We're not sure for how long we'll travel here, our guesstimate is 3-6 months, with some out of country trips to re-fresh our visa and making that much-promised trip to see our folks.  After that, we're even less sure - just know we need to go back to work, somewhere, preferably not the USA for another 4 years or so.  

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Oz: "What's That Sound?"

Brisbane, Australia... surprising source of "native drumbeat."
Adam and Eve, Queensland Art Gallery, Papua New Guinea exhibit.
Brisbane, Australia's 3rd largest city...

Waiting for me in the entry area of Brisbane's Queensland Art Gallery, Wayne wore a bemused smile. 

"I was sitting there, wondering about the native drum beat, where it was coming from," he explained.  "Then I realized -- it was the escalator!"

I listened.... 

There was a steady thumpa-thumpa-thumpa reminiscent of that could well have tied into the exhibit downstairs on Papua New Guinea, or even the Aboriginal art nearby on the main level.

We had a good laugh about it.

Then again, Brisbane's metro population is 2.3 million, urban area 3.4 million, about on par with our hometown Portland Oregon's metropolitan statistical area, which places it 23rd in the United States.
Modern art portion of Queensland Art Gallery's Papua New Guinea's exhibit.
One of a series of whimsical wheelbarrows.  Brisbane, Australia.

We've spent a goodly part of the last two years in second and third-world countries.  Even in New Zealand, we didn't hang out in Auckland, New Zealand's largest city, and only spent an afternoon in Wellington, Kiwi-land's other modern metro. 

We enjoyed Brisbane's Queensland Art Galley.  

Free entry, and it provided an eclectic mix.... Aboriginal art, European masterpieces you could walk up to and nearly touch, a special Papua New Guinea exhibit ranging from native to modern elements and even a Chinese artist's whimsical transformation of everyday items -- like sneakers -- into classic Dutch-style ceramics.  And, on a hot sunny day of walking, it was air conditioned.

Ahhh, modern conveniences!

An Australian visits Papua New Guinea.  Queensland Art Galley, Brisbane Australia.
Classical style jacaranda painting, with actual jacaranda blooms scattered below it
on the floor.  The jacaranda were blooming at the time in Brisbane, Australia.
Location Location
This is a recent retrospective of our time, November 30 - December 2, 2016 in Brisbane (aka "Bris-Vegas"), Queensland Australia (S27.27.233E153.11.427), at the Manly Bay Trailer Boat Club (MBTBC)
Location, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia.
We're currently in Pittwater, New South Wales, Australia (S33.39.433 E151.18.051), about an hour's drive (in light traffic) and four hour's sail (in good conditions) from Sydney.   Here, we're most likely to hear the laugh of the kookaburra, or the oddly amusing screech of the sulpher-crested cockatoo.

Up Next
Working on catch-up posts (including more posts about Brisbane), searching for a camper van for our next nomadic home, and getting s/v Journey ready to sell.   Even now, much as we appreciate access to modern conveniences again, we are longing to return to spaces where most of what we need most of the time is in easy walking distance.  We plan to seek out those experiences on our road trip.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Oz's Gold Coast: Freebies from "Bum's Bay"

skyscrapers in the background against a blue sky, ocean foreground
Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.  Creativity required to spend time there on a tight budget.  Read on for some ideas.

Blue blubber jellyfish on the surfer beach near Marine Stadium
aka "Bum's Bay."  Gold Coast, Queensland Australia.
Gold Coast, Australia, like Hinterlands, hardly seems like a real name for a real place.  Both are, in Queensland.

Working our way from Bundaberg to the Sydney area, we anchored in Marine Stadium, aka "Bum's Bay," a stone's throw from the Queensland, Australia glittery city of Gold Coast.*  

*For more info on cruising Australia's Queensland coast, check out Endless Summer's older but still chock full of good info summary.

Beaches and parks in immediate walking distance of Marine Stadium offer swimmers, surfers, dog walkers, bird watchers, picnickers plenty of places to see and stop.
black headed bird with yellow face and long scrawny legs "Elvis like"
Masked lapwing bird aka plover, which we nicknamed "The Elvis Bird."   Gold Coast, Queensland Australia.

2 red-eyed pigeons with mohawk-like crests against a water background, grass and rock foreground
These crested pigeons with the mohawk-like dos and red eyes look like bird with attitude.  Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.
Even though we're not keen on franchises and big-box super-malls, after spending much of our last several years in second and third world countries, we confess to gluttonously going to the movies and restocking our provisions, even though we did so at the sterile and un-inviting Australia Fair shopping megalopolis. Fortunately, our bumblebee-themed Freebie from East Coast Car Rental* was easy to spot in the mega-malls dim parking garage.

*chosen because their prices were decent and they were willing to pick us up for the rental and drop off afterward
juxtaposition art native vs city Art Centre Gold Coast QLD Australia
Natives and skyscraper image, Art Centre Gold Coast, Queensland Australia.
At the same time, a large part of why we left to go cruising was to avoid the boring sameness and overly consumer-oriented culture so predominant in USA's cities and suburbs.  
Gold Coast Art Centre bench in Evansdale sculpture walk
Practical art.  Evandale sculpture walk.  Gold Coast, Queensland Australia.
Besides heading to the Hinterlands, we wanted to wheel our way to other free and easy adventures in the Gold Coast area.  With just a little time left before our rental car was due back, we headed over to the Evandale sculpture walk and Arts Centre Gold Coast (both free) about a 20-minute drive from Marine Stadium.  
Gold Coast Art Centre building Queensland Australia, easy to spot

There wasn't a whole lot on display at the Art Center, though their auditorium for movies and performances is massive (plus some smaller rooms, also used for movies).  Had we known, we'd far preferred to see our movies at the Art Centre than at Australia Fair mall.  Even there wasn't much to see, a brief stop in the Centre makes sense if you're there to stroll the sculpture gardens.
Gold Coast Australia's Evandale sculpture walk pond, sandy and swimmable
Oasis in an urban setting.  Pond in Evandale sculpture walk, Gold Coast, Queensland Australia.

Chris ponders Antone Bruinsma's sculpture,
Sophia's Seat of Initiation.  The more walk around and look
at Antone's mythical sculptures, the more you see.
Evandale's sculpture walk wends its way through a pleasant setting, skirting a small pond and Gold Coast cityscape view across the Nerang River.  A kid's party complete with a rented bouncy-room made for some fun people watching.  I also got a kick out of the whimsical, colorful par course, which I couldn't resist test-driving.  While the simple abstract metal sculptures didn't wow me, there were some intriguing storytelling sculptures, particularly Dutch-Australian Antone Bruinsma's work.

Though many of the sculptures lacked imagination, if I were into phone apps, I could've entered another realm to view Evandale's imaginary 3D virtual sculptures.  Curious?  Check out unseen GC, on exhibit through the summer of 2017.

All in all, I wouldn't make Gold Coast my destination of choice. If you're there, with car, looking for something free to do with your time, the Evansdale walk and art center is a good hour and a half stop, longer if you want to put the par course for a serious plein air work-out.  Or, plan your Evandale trip around a movie. 

Par course whimsey.  Evandale sculpture
walk, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.

With better parking karma and a different bent for something to satisfactory for our posse of four, strolling Surfer's Paradise long beach promenade, akin to Miami Florida (and there is even an area called Miami in Gold Coast) crossed with Venice Beach, when the evening markets would've provided ample entertainment.  We got a small taste in our drive-by on the way back from the Hinterlands.

Of course, if money is no object, you'll find oodles of options to empty your wallet at theme parks, rides and more, where you can do your part making Gold Coast live up to its name.  It is a true playground for all ages.

As for us, we took the first weather window we could to make our way south.

Enjoy the city view while you work out.  Evandale
sculpture walk, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. 
Location Location
This is a recent retrospective of our time, December 5-11, 2016 in Marine Stadium (aka "Bum's Bay"), Gold Coast, Queensland Australia (S27.56.790 E153.25.424).  We're in Pittwater, New South Wales, Australia (S33.39.433 E151.18.051), about an hour's drive (in light traffic) and four hour's sail (in good conditions) from Sydney.   

Up Next
Working on catch up posts, searching for a camper van for our next nomadic home, and getting s/v Journey ready to sell. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Oz: Sydney's Crazy, Happy New Year

boats anchored in Farm Cove near Sydney Opera House and Sydney Bridge for fireworks
Sydney's spectacular New Year's Eve display (pilfered from Sydney Morning Herald -
my images do not even remotely due credit to the show).  Somewhere in the silhouettes is us and our boat!
"Yeah - Sydney's an awesome place to spend New Year's Eve - along with 10,000 other boats, most of whom normally never get behind the wheel.  Got a friend there with a boat?" Darren Parker, of DBY Boat Sales laconically asked. Darren knew we have a boat as we're gearing up to sell it through DBY.

Most of the yachties we know either sail boats like ours -- a bit too cosy for four, or, they already were full up with friends and family for the big event.
Even days before Sydney's world famous New Year's eve fireworks. we were agog with the lights of the city, including this ferris wheel on the other side of the Sydney Bridge.
What the heck -- if we could survive 18,000+ miles of sailing halfway around the world, which included getting hit twice by catamarans (this time, and this time), we could survive Sydney Harbour, New Year's Eve (madness) or not.

Thus, two days early, we staked out our spot at Farm Cove, the closest we could get to Sydney Bridge and Opera House.  That was the epicenter for Sydney's world famous New Years Eve display, with fireworks going off the bridge, and off two fireworks barges parked off the bridge.  No worries about sharing our space with superyachts -- 15 meters (49 feet) was the biggest boat allowed anchorage in Farm Cove.

At that point, there were only 6 of us boats anchored there.  The skies were gray, and we've had far calmer passages that rolly, regularly waked anchorage.  The entertainment and anticipation far outweighed the inconvenience and discomfort, when it took clever tactics to keep anything loose inside our boats from going airborne and landing with a hard thump.
Ovation of the Sea, dwarfing the Sydney Bridge, the night before "the big event."  No cruise ships allowed for that.

We watched the more sedate ginormous cruise ship, Ovation of the Sea, dwarf the Sydney Bridge as made its leviathan way exiting the harbor for the sea.

In the wee hours, calm reigned, briefly.  As a test run for the upcoming festivities, the bridge put on a light show, strobing and beaming in blue, turquoise, red, magenta, indigo, green, yellow and white lights.

By the time New Year's Eve fireworks kicked in, there were ~200 boats in Farm Cove and "the Island" a floating diner, booked for a private party for the eve.
Neville and Catherine, getting into the holiday spirit aboard their sailboat Dreamtime, in Farm Cove, Sydney.
Our friends Neville and Catherine chose their location brilliantly.  They anchored right next to the exclusion zone line, which gave them an unobstructed view of the fireworks.  "I want to be as close as I possibly can to seven tons of fireworks."  They did have to move when some local officials came by New Year's Eve day, when the anchorage was already packed, and pushed everyone near the line, back.  That took some doing, given the density of boats.

Friends Marce and Frank of Escape Velocity moved from "just as crazy" Apple Bay to Farm Cove, noting, "We didn't travel 12,000 miles to see Sydney's New Year's eve fireworks at a distance."  Good thing, as while visiting them from my kayak, I pushed a boat about to hit them, away.

For non-yachties... how close is too close for boats to anchor next to each other?  
A close call in Sydney's Farm Cove, New Year's Eve.  Note the classic glare combined with hands-on-hips pose, quaintly referred to amongst yachties in the know as "bitch wings."  In this case, the pose proved effective.
There's two parts to it.  

The first part is how much chain and/or rope there needs to be between the boat and the anchor.  Our minimum is usually 5:1.  That means in a 30 foot anchorage, like Farm Cove, we would put out 150 feet of chain.  

Assuming everyone around us is doing something similar, and that they're good enough at anchoring that that don't "drag" (that their anchor stays in one place), then it's just a question of "swing room".  Swing room is how much surface area a boat needs clear around it in order to not hit anything (like another boat); even on a well anchored boat shifts occur due to wind, tide, current and wakes from other passing boats.  
One of many official attempts to restore order within the harbour.  Farm Cove, Sydney, New Year's Eve.
For example, if there's 150 feet of chain, less 30 feet to the bottom, plus the length of the boat -- in our case that's 37 feet, that we should ideally retain 157 foot arc around our boat.  Other boats around us would have a similar arc -- in theory, for safety, those arcs should not overlap.For those who cut it closer, and unwilling to do the math, 3 boat lengths -- typically at least 100-120 feet, is a widely accepted minimum.

Pretty much everyone in the anchorage was MUCH closer than that.  Collisions ensued.  We were called by a friend in the anchorage to alert us to a boat that came near hitting us several times, and we watched one on our other side, which also repeatedly came within less than 10 feet.  Amazingly, we didn't get hit.

Fortunately, despite being packed like sardines and lots of alcohol, everyone was pretty pleasant.  We were all there to have a good time.

In fact, while neither Wayne nor I are much for crowds, "yachter-tainment" aka "yacht tv" (watching the ineptitude and antics of other yachties) was at its finest.  There were buff guys in hot pink speedos.  Partiers jumping off the tops of tall small fishing boats.  A current-aged beach boy look-alike swimming throughout the anchorage and inviting himself aboard (a friend's boat).  A whacky ancient lyric popped into my head, from Sherman Allan's "My Aunt Minnie," She went to a happening.  (And didn't know what was happening.)

port authority boat spraying water in Sydney HArbour
Port Authority boat starts off the Sydney New Year's eve festivities with a sprinkler show.
There there was the show itself.

It kicked off with a pair of stunt planes, twining and looping their way in tight tandem through the sky.  A Port Authority boat acted as a mobile massive sprinkler unit.  A solo stunt pilot showed off with steep vertical climbs, followed with spiraling earthward stalls, and rapid swoops near boats and up the face of the Sydney Bridge.  As dusk ensued, large fruit bats joined them in flight.

Darkness was ushered in with the presence of a lighted boat parade, all boats decked out in white lights, the tall ship South Passage the prettiest of the bunch.

Music drifted across the water from events on both sides of the cove, a tribute to the passing music legends David Bowie and Prince (reflected in later "Purple Rain" pyrotechnics).  It was too late in the game to pay tribute to Princess Leia aka Carrie Fisher or her mum, Debbie Reynolds.

From Fairfax Media's video of Sydney's New Year's Eve fireworks.  Click here to watch it.
9 pm the first set of fireworks exploded, amidst the appropriate ooohs and ahhhhs and whoops and clicking and whirring of cameras and camphones.  Brent and Ana of Catamaran Impi did an excellent job of capturing the fireworks live - click here to see their video.

Midnight marked the finale, as the final artillery of the last of the 12,000 shells, 25,000 shooting comments and 100,000 pyrotechnic events.  A golden waterfall of light flowed over the bridge whilst the sky was ablaze with fireflowers in blues, greens, gold, violet, indigo and magenta.

$7 million dollars, gone in a puff of smoke, yet a truly glorious and epic smoke, shared to the delight of millions (and the two of us, on our little tiny sailboat, a long, long way from where we started).

As the smoke cleared, Farm Cove emptied out, while the Sydney Bridge light show continued.

view of Sydney's New Year's Eve fireworks from Farm Cove
New Year's Eve ireworks fade, as the Sydney bridge lights begin their dance.
By 11 am, New Year's day, when we left, there were only about a dozen boats still in Farm Cove.

"Did you see the 'Happy New Year Sydney' flash in the sky?" asked our new Ozzie friend Michael at the beach the next day.  He watched the fireworks from a high land vantage point.  We didn't.  Nor did we see the "Willy Wonka" moment in tribute to the comic acting genius Gene Wilder

Regardless, it was one helluva spectacular show, one we will never forget.  Fittingly, Sydney earned its place among our favorite New Year's Eves, fittingly, right up there with Havana, Cuba, two years ago, near the start of our grand voyage.

Farm Cove, still pretty awesome without the fireworks - especially after so much time in 2nd and 3rd world countries.
Sydney Australia.
Nev, in his post, concludes "Would we do it all over again next year?  Absolutely!  Although perhaps on somebody else's boat."

My hope is that we can look back at 2017 with more fondness than we did 2016.  Maybe David Bowie's "Heroes," credited with helping bring down the Berlin wall is the perfect start. Per wikipedia, Bowie scholar David Buckly wrote " 'Heroes' is perhaps pop's definitive statement of the potential triumph of the human spirit over adversity."  

Yes - let's all hum a few bars and see what we can do to make it happen... "We can be heroes, just for one day...."

A little late (though there's still 360 days left)

Happy New Year!

Calm returns to Farm Cove, Sydney in the wee hours of New Year's morning.
Location Location
We anchored in Farm Cove (S33.51.571 E151.13.187) December 29 2016 - January 1, 2017.  We are back in Pittwater (S33.39.435 E151.18.041), resuming our prep for Journey's sale.  

Up Next
We're shopping for a van camper/conversion (downsizing again!).  Once we've found a van Journey is ready for show, we'll tour Australia for a bit by land before we return to work, somewhere.  There are still lots of catch-up posts coming, some blog clean-up and posts of our overland travels.  This year, my "best of 2016" recap will be late in coming - sometime by month's end.  2016 was a pretty intense end-of-year.