On 26 January 1788, Captain Arthur Phillip and the First Fleet arrived in Sydney Harbour and took formal possession over the land. Although Australia Day marks the anniversary of this date, it is more a holiday about celebrating what is great about this nation and what as a country we have achieved.
So since this was the first Australia Day back in Sydney, we thought what better way to celebrate than with family on Sydney Harbour. We packed a picnic full of delicious foods including the mandatory Lamingtons and ANZAC biscuits and bottle of Tassie Sparkling and set sail.
The weather forecast wasn’t great to begin with but as we navigated our course through Middle Harbour and into Port Jackson, the clouds began to clear just in time for the Ferrython.
The harbour was packed with boats of all shapes and sizes, with everyone vying for the best spot to follow the famous ferries as they raced around Shark Island and then back toward the finish line, marked by the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Many of the boats were donning their finest ahead of the Australia Day Harbour Parade fighting it out to win the best dressed vessel awards.
To acknowledge Aboriginal culture and multiculturalism in Australia, a Smoking Ceremony was performed with children placing leaves from their country of origin (including gum leaves of Australia, cedar of Lebanon, boab of Ghana and jasmine of China) into a fire, creating a cleansing smoke for the ceremony.
We were promptly notified by the Water Rats that we had just entered an out of bounds area and needed to move out of the way asap… We were in the firing line of the 21 Gun Salute and missed the first shot by only split seconds (lucky they don’t use live ammunition anymore)! So we glided through the water out of the exclusion zone and enjoyed a brief moment of shade under the Harbour Bridge before we witnessed my most exciting part of the day… an aerial flyover of RAAF fighter jets (no pics… I was too busy enjoying the display!)
We did not have a great vantage point to see the Tug and Yacht Ballet, but from the few glimpses I managed to catch, the sail boats looked very elegant and graceful as the glided through the water in unison. The dancing helicopters were quite a sight to be seen too.
The exclusion zones now finished, we were free to head back to the other side of the harbour as a squadron of Russian Roolettes performed an exciting aerobatic display…
We caught the start of the Tall Ships Race from Bradley’s Head… These ships look so majestic don’t you think?!
It was now nearing 2pm and our stomachs were grumbling furiously… so it was time to find a nice spot for lunch. As the celebrations continued around us, we found a nice spot in Rose Bay for an afternoon of good food and bubbles, amazing views, people watching and general chillaxing and bantering.
With Captain Salty at the helm and good Sir Dilly Dally hoisting up the sails and pulling the ropes we set sail back home after a very lovely day!