We have had a good passage so far… except the last one or two days, where we had strong current against us and increasing winds. Everyone was looking forward to arrive in Sydney and finally after seven days we could see the city lights in the distance…
We knew that we would arrive at night and were told by the Australian Border Force to grab the quarantine buoy in Watson’s Bay and then come to Neutral Bay for clearance the next morning. It was a short night… we were too excited to go to sleep and of course had to celebrate our arrival.
Next morning we motored towards Neutral Bay (which is before the Harbour Bridge) but we could simply not resist doing an extra loop passing the Opera House and going under the Harbour Bridge. There were a lot of “Aaaaah’s” and “Ooohs” until Marco saw a black speed boat coming with a few very official looking guys on board. ” I think they are coming to us” So we turned down the music and put on our serious faces. It actually was the Australian Border Force. ” We were looking for you! We were waiting for you in Neutral Bay!” one of them said. “Aha… Neutral Bay is in that direction? Ok… we are coming right away!” André said. The officer just smiled and said “See you there in 20 minutes!” Of course they knew that we knew were Neutral Bay was….
After the usual clearance procedures we were waiting for the biosecurity check. After about two hours a guy came to our boat, he looked at our Swiss flag and took a picture. Then he greeted in Swiss German and came on board. He introduced himself as Franz Odermatt from Stans in Switzerland. He immigrated 20 years ago as a baker. Of course he spotted the Nespresso machine and accepted with a smile our offer for a coffee. It was strange to sail all that way to Sydney and then be checked by someone speaking strong Swiss dialect from Central Switzerland. After having paid 400 Australian Dollars for a large bag of rubbish, we were ready to go… Sydney here we come.
For the first three nights we had booked a berth in Rushcutter’s Bay Marina but then we wanted to move to a more affordable place. We soon realized that Sydney is not very cruiser friendly. There are just a few anchorages – but all too shallow for us . There are some pink buoys, where you are allowed to stay 24 hours, but how do you want to go sightseeing in town, when there is no dinghy dock around? To make a long story short – after about one week and three Mirabella harbour cruises, André found an affordable mooring in Cammeray marina. It is run by Calvin, a very friendly and helpful guy, who had done a similar sailing adventure with his family. Jaël and Amina made friends with two local geese, who came to our boat every morning.
We had a wonderful time in Sydney! We celebrated André’s birthday, did a lot of sightseeing and caught up with friends from André’s Sydney time. Dean and Karen, who have two daughters of similar age as Jaël and Amina were of course the perfect match. We had a pleasant Sunday sail to Watson’s bay with them, celebrated Emily’s birthday together, enjoyed a delicious dinner in Dean and Karen’s favourite Libanese restaurant and visited them at their home. Some other friends, Tim and Rachelle, who learned sailing in Sydney Harbour together with André back in the old days, flew to Sydney to visit us. We spent a beautiful weekend in Manly beach with them. And to make things even better, our BAJKA friends flew to Sydney as well and we visited Taronga Zoo together.