Sunday, October 06, 2013

Fleet Review

There had been a noticeable increase in the military presence and regalia in sydney.  Most people didn't pay too much attentionto the changes. This was Sydney after all. There were events happening all the time.  In Martin Place alone, there seem to be memorial services held every second week next to the cenotaph.  Working in the city also meant that you'd be occasionally buzzed by black hawk helicopters as exercises were conducted around the city towers.  Most Sydney events are usually ignored by the locals as well.  No one takes any notice until several weeks after the event at which point they complain that they would have "loved to have gone" had they known about it.  To be fair to them, most events aren't well promoted.

As time went by, it became clearer that something was different with this event.  The number of military personnel kept increasing.  The decorations began appearing.  The chatter began to spread that foreign dignitaries would be arriving.  The words "Fleet Review" began to circulate the city.

This was no ordinary Sydney event.

This was the "Fleet Review".  It was a gathering of warships from around the globe for a "review".... the purpose of which is entirely lost on me.  Apparently it is a big deal.

So big in fact that this was the biggest event in Sydney since the Olympics.

I was fortunate enough that I had a dear friend in Rachel who had managed to get tickets to actually go on some of the warships as they were docked in the harbour.

It was special and unexpected treat to be able to explore these modern warships.  We went on three ships, one from each of the US, the UK and Australia.  Each one of these ships was the culmination of decades of research and development.  They were the pride of their nations and we were wandering around them poking and prodding, touching things we probably shouldn't have and generally gawking at all of the "cool stuff".

It was interesting seeing the different attitudes of the different countries as well.  For the Americans, we were shown very little, the exterior of the ship and a limited amount of the insides.  Through the whole trip, the Americans guided us very carefully through only the most superficial parts... such as hall ways and sleeping quarters.

The Brits on the other hand didn't seem to care as they seemed to let people wander through large parts of the ship.  Kids were seated in front of their computers, people were pushing buttons, trying to make screens light up and work.  All the while, the British sailors stood by smiling and helping the children up so they could get their chocolate covered hands on the precious equipment.
I grew up as one of those kids who was fascinated with the military.  As I've grown older, my interest levels have waned.  However, events such as these still have the ability to reignite some of the old passions.  
These are rare and wonderful events.  I keep searching the world when traveling for sights and events that will capture my imagination, when very often it is the things that are immediately in front of me that make me truly amazed with the wonders of the world around us.

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