Monday, February 21, 2011

The magic of Hobart

Hobart is always a great place to be - even in winter. But in summer, the city comes to life, beginning with the Sydney to Hobart yacht race that had its beginning in 1945. According to those who have actually done this, it is one of the toughest yacht races. The start of the race in Sydney Harbour on Boxing Day is always spectacular with around 100 yachts eagerly awaiting the starting gun. The first - and indeed every subsequent yacht that crosses the finishing line, always receives an enthusiastic welcome from the Hobart people.

This year, we were able to watch the finish from our balcony at around 8 pm - 3 days later. While we live a few kilometers from the finish line, we nevertheless felt part of this special occasion and salute all involved. The following morning we visited the docks and mingled with the crowd. It is such a festive atmosphere. Not only does Hobart host the Sydney-Hobart race, but also the Melbourne-Hobart race via the East Coast, the Melbourne-Hobart race via the west Coast, and the Launceston-Hobart race.
Heading for the finishing line.
An exciting moment for both crew and spectators (Jan & I!!)
Our house is somewhere on the far left across the river.

The festivities are many and continue throughout January and February. Large cruise ships that come to Hobart during the summer also add to the occasion.

Last weekend was the annual Royal Hobart Regatta, another Hobart icon that dates back to 1838. In recent years, this event has been extended to include the Wooden Boat Festival and I think, contributes extensively to the atmosphere. This year was no exception and the weather was perfect.

Hobart at its best!
The naval warship as flagship of the Regatta dressed for the occasion!
We began the day by walking across the Tasman Bridge. I had never done that before and thoroughly enjoyed the walk, except for the deafening noise of the traffic. But the views certainly made up for that!The views extend from Rosny Point on the eastern side to the distant view of Bruny Island and the mouth of the Derwent River, to Mount Nelson, the Hobart city and the Domain that incorporates our beautiful Government House, the official residence of Tasmania's Governor.

Tasmania's Government House. What a great setting!
If you click on the above photo you will see Jan taking photos
of me while I am on the bridge.

Once on the Hobart docks, we enjoyed mingling with the crowds that grew by the hour. We were really happy to have made an early start! There was much to see and to enjoy, including:
The Tall Ships at Elizabeth Street Pier
The vast collection of wooden boats in the harbour:

The three-masted barque James Craig plus several other tall ships:

People took the opportunity of doing things they normally don't, like rowing (if you can call it that) boats, playing music, etc etc. Let me share the activities pictorially:

This looked like fun!
An old but beautiful lady of the Derwent that was used at times for Royal visits.
It was delightfully busy with the James Craig keeping a watchful eye on things!
The above was ENTERTAINMENT!! A music group in a hut on
a barge had lots of fun. They were joined by a boat that had a
pianist playing in unison with the barge mob . Good stuff!!

It was obvious that people enjoyed the day. Weather perfect. Lots do to, including wooden boats of all varieties manufactured from different timbers. We happily joined the other 'dreamers' perhaps wishing we could all be young again.And what about the one above Jan?Perhaps, every picture tells a story.
It was a wonderful day that reached incredible heights!