Day 37 Feb 10 (Sydney day 2) Sunday

After Lido breakfast I went with Pat and Brian to the local market. Pretty neat. I'm not the world's happiest shopper but this market was full of unique handcrafts and special things. I actually enjoyed the hour or two we spent wandering about.

Lunch on board ship and then we were off to take a boat around the harbor via Captain Cooke Tours. I had no idea how huge Sydney was until we did this. The ride took about 90 minutes and we didn't really cover the whole harbor. Sydney is located in a very long wide river mouth. The town has over 4 million people (about a fifth of Australia's total population). The country of Australia is the least densly populated in the world and is as big as the 48 contiguous states of the United States.

{I checked email and have checked for the existence of the Texas Tavern, John. I am told by our front desk personnel, who investigate these things, that the only references to this establishment are historical ones. There appears to be no current address for it so I could not go searching for it. By the time dinner was over I would have been hard pressed to get to the King's Cross area and back before "all aboard" at 10:30 PM but I would have tried.}

After dinner, Anita and I spent an hour or so wandering around the ship looking for good photo angles to take night shots of the Opera House and the bridge. We found several. Shortly after we took some of the aft railing on deck 8 the guy who is teaching the "classes" on digital photography showed up and went to the same exact place. I went over to offer my help...(yeah right!). He seemed to have it under control.

Pat and Brian showed up so Jack, Anita and I sat down with a cup of coffee and talked while the ship negotiated the exit of the harbor. As I was returning to my cabin around 11:30 PM I decided to take one last look over the railing and was rewarded with a sight I had not seen before. First I saw a slew of sea gulls flying low over the water near the bow wave of the ship (a slew is approximately 40) and then I looked back and there was a Pilot Boat nearing the ship. They always put a local pilot onboard to provide an expert on the local harbor and conditions. The actual entry and exit are controlled by these pilots. Anyway, I'm watching this Pilot Boat and it actually closes the distance to the ship and lightly bumps the ship. The next thing I realize is that a strap kind of thing is being lowered to the boat from the ship. Well, duh! Of course, the local pilot(s) have to leave the ship after we exit the harbor and they don't want to stop the ship to transfer them back to the Pilot Boat. They use the straps to slide down to the Pilot Boat. What a trip. I think I videotaped the transfer with my digital camera but haven't had time to look at it yet. I hope I got it.

Well, that brings you up to date through Sydney. We dock in Melbourne tomorrow morning. Cheers mates!

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