Welcome to the Maunie of Ardwall blog

This is the blog of Maunie of Ardwall. After a six-year adventure sailing from Dartmouth to Australia, we are now back in Britain.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Pittwater and Sydney

Whilst in Vanuatu, we met Sue and Ian Major when they stayed aboard Sel Citron for a week and they promised to find us a mooring when we arrived in their home port of Pittwater, just 15 miles or so north of Sydney. Well, they not only lent us their own mooring for a couple of days but organised a club mooring for us to borrow for the rest of the week and took us on a car tour of their neighbourhood before a lovely supper at their house in Newport. Fantastic.

There are excellent regular buses down to Sydney from here so we have done two days of sight-seeing to get our bearings before we sail into the fabulous harbour at the end of this week. A few photos, featuring some famous landmarks:

We took one of these big ferries from Manly (just inside the harbour entrance, to the north) for the 30 minute voyage to Circular Quays

A classic view of the city's two most famous landmarks opens up

The Opera House is a wonderful building and, in spite of having seen so many images of it, we were really surprised by its scale and the detail 
The 'sails' are covered in ceramic tiles, some glossy, some matt, of differing shades of white and cream

Looking towards Circular Quays and the CBD (Central Business District)

We went on an excellent guided tour of the Opera House so sat in the main opera auditorium (which is about to undergo a $660m refit to address, among other things, the hopelessly-cramped orchestra pit) the bigger concert hall and the three smaller theatres. We just loved the internal shapes and the contrast between the un-painted pre-cast concrete structure and the wooden ceilings

You can imagine the challenge of building this in the 1960's (it was finally opened in 1973)

The atrium with a glimpse of the Harbour Bridge
The Opera House 'done' (though we want to come back and see a performance here) we moved on to the Harbour Bridge:

Completed in 1923, the bridge is based on the Tyne Bridge in Newcastle

We couldn't afford the $275 per person to do the Bridge Climb (looked a bit draughty up there, anyway)

Looking down from the bridge, the harbour's just hectic with boats. we still can't quite believe that Maunie will be here in a few days!
Day two of our sightseeing took advantage of the Sunday deal where you can do as many bus and ferry journeys as you like for just $2.50. We went to the Maritime Museum which, inside, wasn't as good as its superb Auckland counterpart but it has the advantage of some ships to explore in the docks. Dianne overcame her claustrophobia and went into the submarine HMAS Onslow before we moved on to HMAS Vampire, a destroyer built in the 1950's so probably not hugely different to the ship her dad served in.

In the control room

Between the two massive V16 diesel engines
The boat was built on the Clyde but we were surprised to see that some of the electrical switch-gear was made in Bridgwater (10 miles from our house)

HMAS Vampire was one of three Darling Class destroyers and the last of the 'big gun' ships, before missiles became the chief naval weapon

Twin steam turbines could deliver 31 knots
We're now back aboard for a few days - the sight of those monster engines in the submarine prompted Graham to do an oil and filter change on Maunie's diesel today. If the forecast stays as it is, we'll sail down to Sydney on Friday. 

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