Monday, February 25, 2008

Super Sunday in Sydney with a visit from the Queen(s)

Like a great many Sydney-siders, your erstwhile correspondent and his good lady wife headed for the harbour on the fine sunny afternoon that was Sunday February 24.

Unlike many others, we were there for a wedding and reception at Pier One, which is located just to the west of the southern end of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Many on the train we caught to the city were headed for the A-League football grand final, as well as some late arrivals for the one-day cricket match between Australia and India. A fair portion were heading for the harbour foreshores to see the Queen Victoria and QE2 sail by each other in an historic moment.

Never again in Australian waters will you see this happen...

The new Queen Victoria (right) sails past the Queen Elizabeth II.

The Queen Victoria is on its maiden world voyage, whilst the QE2 is on its final voyage before retirement. The two ships will never again share Australian territorial waters.

Watching something as massively large as the Queen Victoria move slowly from the mooring at Circular Quay was something to behold. As it moved backwards, the whole slab side of the ship looming above the concourses below, the sheer size and scale of it was daunting.

I personally feel the QE2 is a more stylish vessel, with the increased bow rake and styled top decking area. Aside from the dark colour scheme and red line, if it were painted white, the Queen Victoria could be any other cruise ship, when viewed from the sea. I'm sure the internal appointments are of a far higher standard than you would find aboard a lesser holiday cruise ship, though.

The wedding was great, the night was enjoyable, seeing the ships was an added bonus. Now I can say I've seen a once in a lifetime sight.

For one woman, the day ended quite abruptly. It appears she was out taking photos of the Queen Victoria and toppled over a balcony to her unfortunate demise below. I've read no news on it, so I dont know more than speculation, and the fact that we walked past the scene of the incident where a sheet-covered body lay in the middle of the footpath underneath the balcony. Some things are worth seeing, but not putting yourself at risk.

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