by Jeni Bone
'Embrace', we were urged on New Year’s Eve by a disembodied pair of red lips on Sydney’s Harbour Bridge, so Hal-like (2001 A Space Odyssey) and yet we have been assured, entirely earthly and modeled on the luscious kisser of our home-grown pop diva, Kylie Minogue, 'creative ambassador' for the evening’s proceedings.
NYE Sydney 2013
The former Neighbour’s star, honoured with an OBE for services to music in 2008, has racked up a phenomenal 25 years as a singer and internationally revered performer. Kylie inspired the evening’s theme, 'embrace', and chose the official colours of magenta, yellow, purple and red.
On the harbour, a flotilla of around 3,000 boats of all sizes, as well as jet skis and other craft, jostling for the best view of the $6m in pyrotechnics that went off at 9pm and midnight, were as much a part of the harbour tradition as the fireworks. Among them, a fleet of several dozen tall ships strung with rope lights in a tradition called the Harbour of Light Parade.
But residents and spectators around Sydney’s affluent east, Point Piper, were not amused by the positioning of the massive cruise liner, the Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas, which is apparently seeking refuge from Cyclone Freda that has been lashing the Pacific.
A Sydney Ports Corporation spokesman said the boat was due to leave the Overseas Passenger Terminal New Year’s Eve, but the ship’s captain had sought permission to moor in Sydney Harbour for an additional night due to bad weather conditions.
Taking in to account the 2,500 passengers aboard, including 800 children, Sydney Ports granted the extra night and moved the vessel to a mooring at the Point Piper buoy, as there was no room anywhere else in Sydney Harbour for the boat to safely dock while waiting for calmer seas.
Social media was flooded with outcry about this travesty, but passengers couldn’t have been more thrilled, watching what amounts to one of the greatest NYE shows on earth from the prime vantage point.