PHOTO GALLERY: Thousands come to Blessing of the Fleet

FREEDOM Whale Watch owner Sue Reid purchased the vessel in the 2009, and has taken part in Hervey Bay's traditional Blessing of the Fleet ever since.

Riding aboard with a number of passengers on Saturday to an enchanted crowd, the boat was blessed by five pastors wishing a prosperous whale watching season.

"It was very lovely; so calm and serene outside the harbour coming in to be blessed," Ms Reid said.

Historically, the blessing is meant to occur prior to a season but the current one is obviously already under way. "The blessing always happens at a slightly different time each year and happened a bit later this season," she said.

"We've seen lots and lots of whales already this year."

Hervey Bay newcomer Ruth Macartney came out to enjoy the festivities

"It's my second year living here but my first time coming to the Blessing of the Fleet," Ms Macartney said.

"It's a great night out being a part of the community."



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