A few weeks ago one of my friends whom I met because Arabella was friends with her daughter at school, phoned to ask if Carl and I would like to go out on their boat for the day. ‘Absolutely’, I said. Who wouldn’t like a day out on the harbour!
We were to meet them at the mariner on Saturday which happened to be our first day of summer and the weather certainly turned on summer conditions with a 37C (95F) heatwave. Another couple was invited and so between the four invited guests we decided to provide the catering – surely it was the least we could do! However, due to squeezed schedules we weren’t able to provide any homemade fare but I did the next best thing and visited a deli.
We arrived on the boat at lunchtime and I was amazed if not totally impressed that our friend’s ‘boat’ is a 53ft Riviera no less. So there was plenty of room and lots of comfort and we weren’t hot because the interior is air-conditioned. The boat sleeps 10 with a bunk cabin, a queen bed cabin and then a master suite with ensuite. It’s a shame we were only on-board for the day as I could just see myself enjoying a lovely cruise up to the Whitsundays.
The boat has three engines and these were quickly turned on at full power and off we went at lightening speed, burning our way to Sydney Harbour where we went past Fort Denison which is where convicts used to be sent to endure much suffering however today the tiny island is used for happier things like weddings and other private functions.
We then went past the Opera House and came close to the Harbour Bridge where we saw a huge passenger liner that was docked at Circular Quay for the day.
Sightseeing over, we headed to Store Beach, a beach that can only be reached by water near Manly where we hooked up to a mooring, relaxed and had lunch.
There was much discussion about whether or not we should go in for a swim. We were moored a few hundred metres from shore and my friend told me that at the moment there are a lot of Great White sharks in the harbour and that quite a few beaches are closed because a whale carcass is close to shore and that is bringing in the sharks who are feeding off it.
But her husband (the skipper) piped up and said it was perfectly fine for us to have a swim because he had this gadget he’d bought in South Africa that’s some kind of electronic device on the end of a thing that looks like a hose and you attach one end of it to the boat and the other end you throw into the water and it lets off some sort of sound and sharks don’t like that noise so won’t come into those waters for a few hundred metres around the boat. So the skipper gave the thingy to one in our party who happens to be an electronics engineer (so bound to know all about these sorts of devices thought the skipper) and it was switched on and thrown overboard while we all changed into our swimwear.
I was about to put my toe in the water to test the temperature when next thing the engineer pushed me overboard. And I bet you’re sorry the tomfoolery wasn’t caught on camera but I actually didn’t mind a bit a bit. It was such a hot day and the water was crystal clear and very refreshing that so it was perfect swimming conditions. The skipper saw some friends on another boat about 100mtrs away so we swam over to introduce ourselves and have a chat and then I swam back to the boat leaving the others behind me.
Within half an hour we were all back on board and it was now early evening and so time to head back to the mariner. The skipper went to pull the anti-shark thingy out of the water only to discover the engineer had thrown the wrong end into the water and so actually we had had no protection from Great White sharks whatsoever. Excellent.
But we had the most wonderful day where the weather was amazing, the harbour beautiful, the boat utterly incredible and as for the Great Whites, well they obviously found us totally undesirable.
Friends with 53ft Rivieras are definitely my ‘friends with benefits’.