Day 9: Sydney Aquarium and the National Maritime Museum

Well, there is going to be a slight change in my blogging style for the rest of the trip. The apps on the iPad are so lame and unreliable that it has been taking me around 1.5 hrs to do my blog posts. I’m normally writing them at the end of the day, before I go to bed, so this is way too much time. At this point, I’m really wishing I had brought my netbook – I could write these same posts in about 20 minutes. The main problem is getting pictures inserted…So, expect fewer pictures in my posts.

Once again, I’m writing this the morning after due to the reasons above…Yesterday, we got a late start – slept in a bit, did some laundry, and wrote my blog post for the previous day. Our initial plan was to do the Sydney Harbor Bridge climb, but there was rain forecast for the afternoon. We didn’t feel like being on the top of the bridge in a rainstorm, so we decided to walk to the Sydney Aquarium instead.

The aquarium was a little bit of a disappointment. It was very expensive (as is everything in Sydney), and is about the same size as the Seattle Aquarium. There were a couple of cool things to note though. The first – they had a platypus. It really is a strange looking creature, and it is much smaller than I expected it. They also had a shark tank with glass tunnels through it, so you could get up and close to them (and count their teeth if you like). Finally, they had another large exhibit that contained the fishes of the Great Barrier Reef.

After the aquarium, we stopped for a quick snack. I was feeling a little brave today, so I had some kangaroo jerky. Kangaroo is a super lean meat, and the jerky tasted like – well, beef jerky. That was the new food that I braved. Perhaps I’ll try a kangaroo steak for dinner one of these nights.

Since it hadn’t started raining yet, we made our way over to the National Maritime Museum. We figured that we could walk around and look at old anchors for a bit and then grab some dinner. As it turns out, this place was really awesome. We ended up touring 3 different ships.

The first ship was the Duyfken – a sailing ship that was built in the 1500s. It is so old, the steering wheel hadn’t been invented yet – there was a plank that went down to a simple linkage that controlled the rudder. The ship is still operational – it last sailed about 10 yrs ago to Denmark and back. I was surprised at the amount of space under the deck. I still can’t imagine sailing for long distances on it though, it wasn’t that large.

The second ship that we toured was HMAS Onslow – an Oberon class submarine. Thing that really stood out was how narrow the sub was. There is a walkway that goes the length of the interior that is one person wide, with very small rooms off to the side. To answer questions, they had an older gentleman who had actually served on the sub. The really amazing thing was that it contained 68 people while it was deployed. Not sure where they all went.

The last ship was the HMAS Vampire – a destroyer. This ship was quite a bit bigger than the others :). This boat was built in the late 50s and was a support vessel during Vietnam. It never saw any fighting. I don’t recall when it was decommissioned…it did have a very old GPS on it, so I’m sure it made it into the 80s.

After the museum, we snagged some dinner and walked back to the room. The rain still hadn’t come yet, so we could have done the bridge climb. After it got dark, the thunderstorms finally rolled in and it rained pretty hard.

Next, off to Cairns!

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