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Recently in Sydney during the International Fleet Review the visiting navies from around the world opened their ships to visitors to board and tour the vessels. You don’t get too many opportunities to normally do this, and of course I had to bring my son – AKA The Pok – to see the big ships. But where the ships were docked was a hefty walk and they told us not to bring prams. So we headed off with my Canon Powershot G15 in hand rather than my SLR and the infant carrier strapped to my back. By the time we got through the gate he was in the carrier on my back. Now at over 17kg he is a heavy solid little boy – a ball of muscle. It reminded me of this scene from Star Wars (me being Luke Skywalker of course) …

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Only problem is that my Jedi mind tricks don’t work on him any more… (by the way – I won’t be so stupid as to not recognise the copyright on this film image being by Lucasfilm, now Disney from Star Wars Episode 5 – The Empire Strikes Back. I am waiting for the takedown email)

Of the over 5 hours that we were at the naval base, he must have spent at least 4 of them strapped to my back. This made ascending and descending some of the steep ladders and manholes a fun exercise of watching my footholds. He did take the opportunity to have a snooze while strapped in too, so not all so bad. In addition it was a bit cool and I felt him tuck in his arms behind my back several times just to keep warm.

When he finally did decide to play, he had real fun. If they weren’t warships I would recommend to the Royal Australian Navy to do this every weekend as a jungle gym. Firstly decided that he wanted to run around the decks and be a 3 year old goof ball.

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Or posing for the camera

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Or deciding to play hide and seek in the metal base of the missile tubes insisting that is was “Your turn Daddy” to hop into an impossibly small hole for a grown adult.

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But it was when he arrived on the bridge that he found his true calling and assumed the chair. Seems like he wasn’t too impressed with the performance of the crew.

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It is possible that he wasn’t too impressed with my impersonation of Sherpa Tenzig, hauling his lump all around the naval dock. Ahhhh – to be as carefree as a 3 year old, and see the world through his eyes…

The International Fleet Review being hosted in Sydney, Australia, is being held to commemorate the centenary of the first entry of the Royal Australian Navy’s Fleet into Sydney. It is to come to an end tomorrow, but in that time we have been greeted to a host of naval festivities around Sydney Harbour including plenty of cool Navy ships playing and strutting their stuff. On the weekend there was a great aerial display followed up the Royal Australian Navy going for a bit of a sail. From my vantage point West of the Sydney Harbour Bridge here is what I was able to shoot, though I wish I had an extra 100mm of focal range on my camera lens. As usual, all the images link through to my larger photos on my Flickr account.

First through the bridge were a couple of the smaller ships in the RAN fleet, the patrol boat HMAS Broome:

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Followed by the minehunter HMAS Gascoyne:

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Then the birds flew over! My boy, The Pok, got quite excited particularly when the large flock of helicopters flew past. I must admit, this was the largest number of helicopters that I have ever seen in the sky at one time. First were the jets, Hornets and Hawks flying formation:

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Then the submarine hunters, the Orions:

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Then the whirly-birds, of all shapes and sizes. There were Seahawks, Squirrels, and MRH90s:

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The RAN’s big boys came through next, with the Guided Missile Frigates HMAS Sydney and HMAS Darwin. HMAS Darwin’s resident Seahawk chopper peeled off and landed on deck, but I was at the wrong vantage point to capture it landing.

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With all this heavy naval metal, maritime security on the harbour was tight. I reckon that this police man on the jet ski has one of the most fun jobs in the world:

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The ship that missed out on all the fun and games was the RAN ship – ADV Ocean Shield, got relegated to hiding in Blackwattle Bay. But with all of its capabilities, I reckon that this is the coolest ship of all of them.

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Two days after all these games we got to go onto the ships that were docked at Garden Island, which was real fun. But that is for a later post.

 

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