The drive to Sydney was a sad one. Staying in the plush apartment of friends, overlooking the bay we played music, watched a couple of episodes of Mr Gormley and breakfasted beside the docks. Then it was over to Cockatoo island with ne’er a cockatoo in sight, a look at the old prison, docks and machine shops and back on the ferry.
We walked along the shore and gazed over at the city, shared a last beer in a tavern.
With tear streaked cheeks we dragged ourselves away from the warm embrace of Pete and Trude. Like orphans bereft and forlorn we resolved to face the future with fortitude and determination. We were foregoing the luxuries of the pampered life of landlubbers for the adventure of the waves. No longer cradled in the warmth and safety of our dear friends we were facing a pitiless world. But thus it was.
With cutlasses between our teeth we swung fiercely on knotted ropes with blood curdling shrieks to invade the masts of our mighty craft. Fearlessly, leaving all hope in our wake, we fought our way to our cabin and from there to our muster stations through fearsome reams of bureaucracy. Against all odds we overcame the mighty forms and procedures and were ensconced as masters of our destiny.
Unpacking and settling into our surprisingly plush and voluminous quarters we contemplated the future, still tinged with sadness at what we were leaving behind.
We had a day in Sydney to contemplate and visited the areas we had not yet seen – the wharfs, the Art Gallery, Botanical Gardens and old parts of the city.
Then a walk under the Bridge and past the Opera House and back to the ship.
The day was strangely overcast and stormy, lending it a sombre feel as evening came and we slipped our mooring. We slid under the Bridge and waved to those climbing up on the girders. We watched the Opera House and city slide by.
There were fearsome beasts to confront and obstacles to devise plans for the surmounting. We girded our loins, gathered all the strength we could muster and went to taste the second of our sumptuous feasts.
Our odyssey to the ends of the universe had begun. We were now buccaneers on the oceans at the mercy of the elements. What sights were looming to make us gasp? What great adventures were to unfurl? What majesty and wonder awaited us? Seventy days and forty magical stops lay ahead.