You’ll be relieved to know, I’m sure, that the lifeboat drill was serious, comprehensive and reassuring. It also provided a little entertainment to the people standing on the wharf, gazing up at a couple of hundred people standing out on deck wearing orange lifejackets in the late afternoon sunshine. Only once before have we actually had to put on our lifejackets and make our way to the lifeboats but it was noticeable that, on this occasion, every one of us paid attention and followed instructions to the letter.
Having changed, we made our way onto the top deck a little later and with drinks in hand, chatted and waited for the off.
As we did, we spotted another ship leaving, just passing under the bridge.
It was the Oceania Regatta, I think a similarly sized ship to ours, just setting off for Auckland, possibly. The two ships sounded horns as they passed.
As she sailed past the Opera House, we were getting ready to leave.
There were people everywhere; this little group on the roof of the building opposite. How lucky to have a roof terrace overlooking such a panorama!
At precisely 8pm, as the sun sank behind the skyline, we cast off and were away.
We looked down at Doyles, where we’d sat just last evening with Jane and Allan – that seafood was delicious!
In no time at all, it was dark and reversing away from the quay we just couldn’t stop taking photographs! With the light changing by the minute, the sound of camera shutters was all around us.
We looked up to see another group climbing the bridge. Rather them than me!
The city twinkled and we became quiet – I thought of my parents, who sailed from Sydney just like this and here we were doing the same. Daddy would have been 86 today and I wished him a quiet “Happy Birthday” as a tear rolled down my cheek. Silly, isn’t it?
But it would be a hard soul to not be overwhelmed by such a beautiful place. Such a beautiful evening. How lucky we are to be here, to do this, to share it all in such good company.
Anyway, there were more photos to be taken, more gasps of delight as yet another perfect scene unfolded. Turning past the Opera House, lit against the night sky, we gazed at the view hoping upon hope that our photos would come out ok.
So we took another one, just in case.
And another. Because even though I believe the best photos are in my head, I do want the pictures in my camera too!
And there we were, gone.
Off into the inky blue.
Must be time for dinner!