Please remain seated until the boat comes to a complete stop.

Please remain seated until the boat comes to a complete stop.

On a whim, we decided to leave Pittwater for Sydney on New Year’s Eve. After only a couple hours’ sail we entered the harbour, a zoo of sailboats, motor boats, ferries, jet boats, dinghies, floatplanes, kayaks, and a cruise ship with attending tugs and security boats. As the famous opera house and harbour bridge came into view, we sailed past huge mooring fields of boats waiting for the pyrotechnic display of the evening. We’d decided to keep away from the stress of that mess and took a turn into the quiet of Blackwattle Bay, seemingly one of the only places in all the nooks and crannies of Port Jackson where a boat can actually anchor.

In the afternoon we went ashore at the Sydney Fish Market and fought our way through a busy crowd of tourists, diners and shoppers onto the city streets. After a bit of provisioning, the shadows grew long and the streets became more and more deserted. We came to the scenic part of town and the roadblocks and people in neon vests with loudspeakers shepherding the crowds made it seem as if some apocalyptic event had happened. But it was only preparation for the New Years Eve fireworks. Most vantage points on the harbour had been closed off because of overcrowding, so we had to backtrack towards Observatory Point, on a hill in the middle of town. We found a spot in the grass and waited amidst a growing crowd.

At some point during the final hours of a given year, I usually get a bit of a nervous twinge, a combination of melancholy at the memories of past events, regrets for missed opportunities, shame for past mistakes, and sadness for the general insignificance of human life in the constant flow of time. But lying in the grass, in my t-shirt and shorts on a warm summer evening, it was hard not to feel slightly happy at the passing of another year. Maybe it’s easier to feel melancholic in the wet cold of a Seattle winter’s night, or maybe the last six months have just made me feel like the future is full of adventure and opportunities…

Happy 2013!

Happy 2013!