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February 29, 2020
Sydney, Australia: A Day at the Opera (House)

Russell writes…

At 10:30 this morning, we got a phone call in our cabin. Gail was no longer in quarantine! The Australian authorities reviewed the doctor’s reports decided Gail did not pose any threat to anyone. She immediately got dressed and went out on deck.

It is said that Sydney, Australia, is one of the most beautiful ports in the world to sail into. The last time we were here was almost 20 years ago, and that arrival was by airplane. So we joined the other passengers on deck 12 as the Seven Seas Mariner sailed into Sydney Harbor. Sydney has had an awful summer this year, with the sky blackened by numerous forest fires. Thankfully some recent rains have turned things around. And today, we were treated to a sunny day with bright blue skies.

Our first glimpse of Sydney’s famous Opera House was a tiny point of white peeking above the tree line

The Opera House in full view

Sydney is one of the most beautiful ports in the world to sail into

The ship was cleared for disembarkation at 2:00 pm. We had an excursion shortly after. Our face-to-face examination by the Australian Border Force ended up being no problem at all. Our 4.5-hour excursion would take us to three main locations, then return to the ship just before sunset.

Our ship was docked in White Bay on the west side of Sydney. We needed a tour bus to get to our destinations.

Our first stop was the Sydney Opera House. During our previous visit, we never went inside the complex. (We were on a very tight budget.) This time, we got a one-hour guided tour, learning the history of this amazing building. (One of the reasons we picked this excursion is so Russell can write a lecture about it.)

Our second stop was Bondi Beach, one of the most famous surfing beaches in the world. Honestly, it was crowded with beautiful, young people who looked like they were there because they wanted to be seen by other beautiful, young people. Gail thought we could have skipped this stop and not missed much.

Our last stop was “The Gap,” an ocean cliff near Watsons Bay. This high cliff is infamous as a site where many bodies have gone over – some voluntary and others involuntary. Today there are numerous fences to prevent anyone from getting any ideas. The views were spectacular.

We will be in Sydney for three days. As our bus returned to the ship, our guide said she hopes that when we think back to Sydney, our thoughts will be of “joy.” After a gorgeous sunset and a wonderful night stroll to view the city lights, we are already smiling.

Tonight, Sydney goes crazy. It is the last day of Mardi Gras, with a huge LGBTQ parade scheduled.


Sydney’s skyline at night (note the rainbows in the three left buildings)

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