Wednesday, 16 July 2014

A Whale of a Time .....

Fort Denison
 Had a wonderful day yesterday, despite the horrid weather.

Heading out to sea.  As you can see it was a very grey day.

Still we were excited to go.  Both of us rugged up with parkas.  Fortunately it didn't rain.

This is Fort Denison, a former penal site and defensive facility. 

The Sydney icon - the Opera House.  It always looks spectacular regardless of the weather.    

This red and white striped buoy stood out amongst the grey.

We saw lots of Black Browed Albatross flying and fishing.  Managed to catch one resting as we sailed past.

The whales were very elusive and it wasn't until we had been out a few hours that we finally found a Humpback.  Our guide was fairly confident it was a female.  I didn't care - I was just excited to see one.

"Thar she blows ....."

We followed her for about half and hour.  It was hard to take pics.  The swell was reasonable and trying to keep your balance and focus was hard.

I did manage to get some reasonable shots, considering she was a far way from the boat.  I had taken all my cameras and used the Canon EOS with my telescopic lens.

I was pleased when I got home and went through all the photos to find I had managed to get some reasonable shots.

It is hard to keep your balance, hold your camera ready, focus the damn thing and hope you are pointing  in the place where you think the whale will surface.

I liked the photo I managed to get of the whale and a Black Browed Albatross flying toward it.

On the way back we were lucky to have two dolphins come and play.  

I was lucky someone told us there were dolphins so we went onto the bridgedeck. I didn't get any photos as I was right on the bow pulpit and hanging on for grim death while I leant over to watch..... lol.

They rode in the wave at the bows.  They would swim just under the surface then jump out and back down again.  It was amazing to watch.

I have no idea how they managed to swim that fast, jump and not hit either of the hulls.

Kirribilli House
On the way back, we passed Kirribilli House on the starboard.  It is the residence of the Prime Minister when he is in Sydney.

Built in 1854 by Adolphus Frederick Feez, it is a twin gabled house built in the Gothic style.  William Morris Hughes, the PM (1915-9123) acquired the property for the Commonwealth Government in 1920.
Admiralty House
In 1956 Kirribilli House was set aside for overseas guests of the Commonwealth and for the PM's use.  Since then successive PMs have used it as their Sydney residence.

Alongside Kirribilli House is Admiralty House.  It is the residence of the Governor General.  
It was previously called 'Wotonga'.  It was built in the 1840s for Lieutenant Colonel J G N Gibbes. the Collector of Customs in the NSW colonial government.

It was sold a few times till it was purchased by the government in 1885  for the Imperial Navy's representative in Australia and then became known as Admiralty House.


It started to get bloody cold - in fact it felt freezing.  We rugged ourselves up but still stayed on the outer deck.  We didn't want to miss anything!

We arrived back at Darling Harbour around 4:30pm - cold and tired but very happy.
HMB Endeavour

My final photos were of the replica of the HMB Endeavour and the HMAS Vampire.
HMAS Vampire

Construction of the Endeavour replica began in 1988,in Australia, and the ship was launched five years later. Since then, she has sailed over 170,000 nautical miles twice around the world, visited 29 countries and many Pacific islands, and opened as a museum in 116 ports. 



The HMAS Vampire 'Bat' was the last of the country's big gun ships.  

The Vampire served in the Royal Australia Navy in 1959 - 1986.  It arsenal included :  
  • three twin turrets housing 4.5" guns (still in place)
  • anti-aircraft guns (still in place)
  • torpedo launchers
  • anti-submarine mortars.

I have a wonderful day - it was full of excitement and lots of laughter.  We struggled ashore, wrapped in our parkas and scarves, in desperate need of hot coffee, the ground kept moving .... lol.

There was a very nice bistro just near the dock so we sat almost on top of the outdoor fire and enjoyed a latte and a very yummy ricotta chhesecake sprinkled with home-made honeycomb and salted caramel ice-cream..... delicious!

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