CREW: Ben (C), Luke, Rhys, Yeates, Ally

It’s 4pm and the crew have finalised setting up for the big night. All day there have been weather warning’s of a big Southerly buster approaching, but it is yet to arrive.

6pm comes around and we have 80 wonderful guests all checked in at Lavender Bay wharf, ready to board the KRAKEN for their cruise. The crew are getting ready to depart as we see the flags on the top of the harbour bridge spin 180 degrees, then comes the howling wind. Skipper Ben assesses the situation and prepares a new plan for departure. Shortly after departing Lavender Bay, the front passes, and we begin the Harbour Cruise part of our night.

An open bar, pumping tunes and food platters make for a great start to the night. Everyone begins to settle in, find their space on the vessel and mingle with each other. The deckhands Luke and Rhys are working hard behind the scenes to set up the buffet dinner table, whilst our funny bar stuff Yeates and Ally are making sure everyone is well watered.

Our skipper Ben now begins to complete his circuit of the Harbour, with a destination of one of the closest moorings to the firework action in Lavender Bay. The beast of a ship, the mighty KRAKEN turns hard to Port, bow into the wind and like a hummingbird at a flower, perfectly approaches the mooring. Luke hooks up the line and gives Captain Ben the thumbs up. It’s 8PM and she’s all secured in her spot for the remainder of the evening.

The vessel is now out of the bustling vessel channels and in the perfect spot for the guests to begin their buffet feast. During dinner Yeates and Ally get a well earned break from a rowdy start at the bar. After dinner the tunes step up a notch. DJ Prawn has now hit the decks and he realises he’s going to have to musically cater for ages between 18 and 80. No problem, the man is a pro. He get’s the dance floor going downstairs, sneaks away to check the top deck and to his delight not one person is sitting. Young and old are celebrating together as they all await the teaser 9PM fireworks, which is now fast approaching.

9PM comes around but where are the fireworks? The guests begin to start asking questions which we cannot answer! In all the years the crew has been on the harbour we have never known the fireworks to show up late, however, better late than never! 15MIN past schedule the 9PM fireworks begin, the music is turned off and the guests all gather on the top deck. Beautiful.

After the teaser fireworks we now have 3HRS of dancing, drinks, and desert, which is put out for guests to continue to snack on throughout the night. This is a great time as the crew have now completed most their duties and can begin to relax and mingle with the guests onboard. Ben, Luke and Rhys start to get to know all our passengers and provide regular top ups to maintain the party vibe. The party is raging and everyone is loving it!

The 20MIN before the 12PM fireworks display always feels like an hour. The guests have all found their vantage points on the boat and everyone is eagerly waiting. The countdown begins! The music is turned off and the sound of people counting down to the light display timer on the bridge pylon echoes over the harbour, 3, 2, 1… Dead silence as the first fireworks shoot from the top of the bridge. BANG! WE’RE ON! The next 15MIN is full of colourful explosions, hugs and kisses, the occasional tears of joy and clinking of glasses as the guests and crew watch in awe the 12PM fireworks display of 2019.

It really is an amazing feeling. 80 people beginning the cruise as strangers, are now celebrating the coming of 2020 with each other and every person onboard is smiling ear to ear. A night to remember!

The KRAKEN slowly makes her way back to the wharf at Lavender Bay, the guests slowly depart, some not wanting to leave the boat, and why would they! It was an awesome night, but the time has come for it to end. Or has it? The crew after party has just begun! 😛 But thats a story for another time…