Toby is taking a few days off and I returned to the ship on Tuesday in Newcastle to continue our passage south. 3600 visitors to the ship in this port, one more successful port on this remarkable voyage. Departing the berth just before 1700, it was slow push out under power past Nobbys Head directly into the teeth of a strong NE’ly. Pitching heavily as we cleared the breakwaters, we were able to fall off to starboard and get under sail. Now with the wind on the port quarter, we set the two courses and Duyfken stormed off to the south, on her best point of sail, sailing large. We made a steady 5 to 6 knots as we threaded our way through a large number of bulk carriers and stood away toward the lights of Sydney. A short steep swell made for an uncomfortable motion at times and we had a few crew struggling with seasickness, but as Toby had so rightly put it in a previous journal entry, it was so good to have a fair breeze after beating to windward for so long. The good sailing continued through the night and at first light, with the wind easing a little, both topsails were set. Catching Sydney Port Control unawares, we entered Port Jackson at 0730 on Wednesday morning. The port authorities had not been informed of our intention to come into Sydney, which admittedly was a change to our planned voyage. However I am not sure why they then saw fit to put out a navigation warning about our entry, I don’t think a 20 metre jacht poses much threat to other traffic on the harbour. Sailing down the east channel, we had to keep clear of an inbound tanker, the “Stolt Sea” and to do so I carried on to pass east and south of Shark Island. Clearing the island, we braced sharp up and passed close under the lee of Bradleys Head, handing topsails as we did. Under the lowers and with no use of engine we stood in the anchorage in Athol bay and came to the port anchor at 0930 about 2 cables SSE of the zoo jetty. A fine passage, 67 miles at over 4 knots and only 53 minutes under power. Our stay at anchor was not long. Cian had arranged a berth for us at the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron at Kirribilli, so we weighed again at 1100 and took the ship across into Neutral Bay. We berthed at the clubs outer pontoon and it proved to be a great place for the ship. We were made very welcome by the club, the CEO Andrew Mcintyre and the Dockmaster Hamish Green could not do enough for the ship and the crew in the two nights we spent alongside, culminating in a BBQ put on for us last night. Our stay here was for a very special event that took place this morning. Departing the berth at 0700, we came across to berth at the Man of War landing steps at the Opera House. The ship was checked over by the police bomb squad and soon after 0800 we welcomed aboard two very special guests, HRH Prince Willem-Alexander and his wife, HRH Princess Maxima, of the Dutch Royal family, accompanied by representatives of the Australian and Netherlands Government. The Royal couple are on a tour of Australia as part of the celebrations of 400 years of contact between the Netherlands and Australia, and it was our great honour to take them for a short sail on the harbour. Prince Willem-Alexander laid the keel of Duyfken back in January 1997 and they both were in Texel to greet the ship when she arrived there in April 2002 after her historic 1 year voyage from Australia. They both clearly were delighted to be aboard and enjoyed their cruise on our great harbour and their visit has added another chapter to this momentous voyage. We berthed again at the RSYS where our guests departed to 3 cheers from the crew of the Royal jacht Duyfken – at least for the morning. As always, the weather dictates our movements and I was keen to make use of a fair northerly breeze for the run down towards Wollongong. No time to waste though, a strong southerly change was forecast overnight, so we motored out of the harbour and once more stood south, setting all square sails as we sailed past the coastal beaches. Making great time again, we were off Botany Bay by noon, and the historical context of this area reminds me that today is the birthday of the great James Cook, born 1726. Towards the end of the afternoon, the breeze left us and with strong squalls starting to hit parts of the coast I decided to get under power for the last few miles to make sure we could get into Wollongong before the weather deteriorated. Escorted by the local volunteer sea rescue launch, we crept in between the Wollongong breakwaters at 2030 last night, the passage covering 48 miles at an average speed of 3.9 knots. I was pleased that we got in when we did as the cold S’ly wind freshened considerably overnight and it would have been difficult to manoeuvre in to the small fishing boat harbour today. The usual routine today, the crew working hard to prepare the ship for exhibition to the public and then guiding as the first of the crowds begin to stream aboard. Toby again takes over from me today for the next stage of the voyage down the NSW south coast and across to Tasmania. Duyfken still has plenty of sailing ahead of her as we continue to spread the story of the 400th anniversary, the charting of the coast and the celebration of our maritime heritage.