Article“…our home is girt by sea”
The quotation in question from Australian anthem is more than just a catchy metaphor - it's one of the key components of Australian psyche. That component is responsible for the fact that Nature's “country-club tour” in Cairns was voted the #1 Tour in Australia for several years in a row; that the biggest New Year's Eve celebrations on Earth happen in and around Sydney Harbour, right next to one of the most striking architectural masterpieces of the 20th century; that cruises aboard sailing ships are always hot tickets in Australia, be it, among others, the “Falla Reef Trips” in Cairns, or “The Tall Ship Harbour Cruise” in Sydney. While being strikingly different (after all, Sydney isn't known as “The Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef” - neither does Cairns boast a world-famous Opera House), the two cruises are quite similar when it comes to the general atmosphere created, in particular, by their hands-on approach.
Several centuries ago, original sailing vessels were predominantly means of transportation. In modern times, their historical re-creations are mostly used for the purposes of entertainment and education. Socialization comes as a bonus, because the ship's beating heart isn't hidden in the engine room below decks - instead, it's located right on (the helm) or above (the sails) the deck. That allows passengers/tourists to see how the ship is being piloted. If they feel like it, they can also participate in the process - and they usually do. Their interest often results in pictures like this
…or like this
Then, there is a cherry on the cake, and it's completely unique for each cruise. While hardly anything beats swimming amidst a coral reef, the ace up the Tall Ship's sleeve is, in a way, just as impressive. Somehow, the management of the company operating the Ship, had pulled off an agreement with the organizers of America's Cup, a sailing race for the oldest trophy in international sports (it dates back to 1851). Consequently, the Ship is cleared to join the boats preparing for the race - and the crew eggs its passengers on to try and actually compete with those boats. Little as the passengers know about the rules of the race and its course, it's still an offer that cannot be refused! And so, many adults and some children - families and strangers alike - spend a portion of the cruise steering the helm, maneuvering the sails, and laughing/screaming at the top of their lungs…