Celebrating near the leading edge of the New Year

New Year’s Eve was probably our last night aboard Totem in Sydney Harbour. We’re heading north to Brisbane now, but couldn’t miss out on what must be one of the world’s most stunning fireworks displays.

Experience told us to arrive a day early, so we staked out our prime spot in a rapidly filling anchorage on the 30th. It’s adjacent to the Taronga Zoo, which gave us the advantage of some great wildlife audio. Totem got dressed up in her party clothes. By the forestay, a string of courtesy flags; countries shown in the order that we visited them. On the port spreader, our Seattle Yacht Club burgee has precedence over several flags. On the starboard spreader, our pretty Australian ensign: the maritime flag was a thoughtful parting gift from the crew at Amnesia.

colorful flags strung on sailboat

The only thing we couldn’t find (embarrassignly enough) was our American flag to fly off the stern.

We had two beautiful days of bobbing in the water…having friends visit from shore and other boats. I think the most unforgettable was the parting gift from our marina neighbor, Peter, from s/v Kittani. He claims Scottish heritage and decided we needed a proper sendoff.

With bagpipes.

Oh yes, he did!

The serenade began at Kittani and circled around Totem. The piper, John, was met with such an overwhelmingly positive response he decided a tour of the greater anchorage was in order. Many songs were played…and many, many drams of whiskey were drunk.

As sunset approached on New Years Eve, we all got a little tingly. The skies cleared completely, opening the way to a spectacular show.

There’s a warmup display, “for children,” at 9pm. Kind of reminds me how my favorite celebrations in our Bainbridge Island neighborhood involved families getting together in the early evening to count down and bang our pots and pans at midnight on the dot…Eastern Standard Time! We watched the preview with Frank and Karen on their beautiful catamaran, Tahina, then returned to Totem for hot chocolate with a vow to stay awake until midnight.

fireworks and sydney harbor bridge and opera house
This is the “warm up”?

My photos of the grand display aren’t quite up to par (something about being pinned under a sleeping child, behind the dodger- well most of us stayed awake anyway!), but the pictures in my mind’s eye are beyond compare. It is a spectacular show.

Thanks, Sydney! It’s a sendoff we’ll never forget.

5 Responses

  1. Wow, what an amazing place to spend New Year’s! Ken and I were watching a clip of the fireworks display from Australia on the news and wished we were there. So cool to hear that ya’ll were .. great pics too! Happy 2012! We really hope it’s the year we become liveaboards!

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