This past weekend saw the International Fleet Review in Sydney. We went down to the Quay on Friday to see some big ships arriving (after checking out the NSW Parliament Open Day), watched the fireworks on Saturday night, and on Sunday headed down to Garden Island to check out some of the navy ships that were open to the public. I had never been on a battleship before (or even to the base at Garden Island), so it was interesting to see what these hulking lumps of metal that lurk around the harbour look like close up.
As well as the Australian ones there were ships from India, Japan and Thailand to visit, and it was interesting to see how the boats from different countries had a different feel to them - in some ways they were very similar but they each had their own national character too.
I have never been particularly interested in things military or naval, but I really liked being able to see inside the boats and getting a glimpse of the way that the navy personnel live when at sea for long periods. It really is a different world. The Open Day was incredibly well organised (dare I say, "with military precision"..?), and a great excursion to do with the children. They were both fascinated by the big boats, and Ali was very excited to make up the paper model ship and helicopter he was given and to take them in for news at school today.