“It was”, the Sydney Gazette reported in 1837, “A day entirely devoted to pleasure”. And it still is. We once again had enjoyed the amazing party spirit and patriotism of the Australian people. Like most things Australian the history is rich and often complicated, for a history of Australia Day go to http://www.australiaday.org.au/experience/page76.asp
With an all American crew aboard, a first for Furthur since Mexico, we donned full dress flags including 4 Australian flags. Next we put up our “AMERCANS LOVE AUSTRALIA” banner hand painted by the kids of MV Totem and away we went to join the fun.
Upon entering Sydney Harbor we were stunned by the huge number of vessels churning up the bay. We had seen the start of the Sydney Hobart race and New Years Eve both of which bring flotillas larger than ever seen but this one topped them all.
The event starts with the race of the Ferry Boats, all manner of antique ferries blast through the harbor in full out races. After the race, the 21 gun salute then some displays from the military—like one F-18 (maybe the whole Australian fighter force) occurs.
Then the big parade, hundreds of vessels from huge square riggers, modern mega yachts, all manner of passenger vessels and every size private boat imaginable all follow the massive fire boat’s water cannons through the bay. It is truly stunning and not for the faint of heart skipper.
As we entered the parade we passed by two Selenes, good to see them out cruising, always a beautiful sight.
After the parade we went into Darling Harbor and anchored in front of a large sound stage as the Jazz in the Park concert started. The music blared into the bay providing us with a great show right on the decks of Furthur.
Again I was blown away by the Ausie way. Boats anchoring on top of each other, some dragging, some not, and all done with a smile and an Ausie, “no worries”. The Maritime Rescue department (Ausie Coast Guard) did a fantastic job of keeping all three events I went to safe in trying circumstances, and they do it with what must be a hard to maintain smile.
We made use of the deck as a dance floor and danced the night away. The fireworks silhouetted the concert as the last band, a rhythm and blues/Motown ensemble blared some of my favorite tunes. Great music, dancing on the deck and fireworks in the background, yes truly a day entirely devoted to pleasure.