Thursday, July 28, 2016

Australia 2016, Day 9 - Darling Harbour, Whale Watching, Vivid

Day 9 in Australia was my last day in Sydney before leaving for Darwin and Kakadu. My allergies were still really bothering me, but I was determined to make the most of an absolutely gorgeous day. I had booked a whale-watching cruise earlier in the week, on the exact same boat that Stephanie and I went on two years earlier. The cruise left at noon from Darling Harbour, so I set out for a leisurely morning stroll along my normal route through The Rocks, past the Garrison Church and down to Circular Quay, where I took the ferry under the bridge to Darling Harbour. The sky was brilliant blue, the sun was beaming, and the wind was brisk and cool - it was perfection!
Day 9 pic with my Opera House
Just a little windy on the boat - and my hair looks red!
I absolutely LOVE this view of "the coathanger" arching over the sails of the Opera House.
More bridge climbers
Once in Darling Harbour, I just wandered exploring, people-watching, and taking pictures. It wasn't all that crowded, other than groups of school kids on field trips in their adorable little uniforms. They were precious!  
National Maritime Museum
Seagulls were everywhere!
I made sure to get some food in my stomach before the cruise, because last time I got seasick and I wanted to avoid that this time. Apparently (and strangely!), eating something actually helps settle the stomach. And then I got to the dock really early, because I wanted to make sure I got the same spot on the boat that we had last time. Stephanie had brilliantly wedged herself in on the front of the boat so that she wasn't tossed about by the waves, but could still see really well - I wanted that place this time! By the time the boat actually arrived, there were quite a few people waiting for it, and several of them jumped in line in front of me (grrr!!!) but I still got my seat on the True Blue.  
Deja vu!
We headed out through the Sydney Harbour, between the headlands, and into the open Pacific Ocean, where we all set our sights hunting for whales. We saw several off in the distance and made our way out to them. They really weren't jumping much, but they kept coming up to the surface and splashing. We followed a couple of different "competition pods" (several males competing for the attention of a single female), and we did get to see a tale slap at one point. The ocean was nice and calm (nothing like last time!), and I took pictures by simply holding my camera up and snapping without actually looking through the viewfinder - most of the pictures weren't great quality, but at least I didn't get seasick! It was such a fabulous afternoon on the water watching the majestic creatures. You can see below how close they actually got to our boat at one point - so cool!
Whales!
At the bottom, those are people's heads at the front of our boat -
that's how close the whales got!
Loving this!
My best whale pic - a tale slap
The boat photographer captured this one.
Another shot by the boat photographer
Back in Sydney Harbour
Once our cruise was finished, we returned to Darling Harbour where I did a little souvenir shopping before Stephanie got off work. We had made plans to meet up, watch the Vivid laser light show (our last Vivid night, sad!), and have dinner before going home to pack for our Kakadu adventure. The first showing of the light show wasn't all that exciting, but we had dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe, outside overlooking the marina and the 7:00 light show which was much better and included fireworks! Then we walked home via the Pyrmont Pedestrian Bridge, enjoying the lights on the harbour and the Maritime Museum along the way.
Dusk in Darling Harbour
Sunset in Darling Harbour
So glad I got to see fireworks, since I didn't see any on July 4th.
Front of the National Maritime Museum
National Maritime Museum lit up for Vivid

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