Whale watching boats open for a peek and a prayer
THE entire flotilla of whale watching boats will be open for a peek and a prayer at the Blessing of the Fleet this weekend.
Fraser Coast Tourism and Events Marketing and Communications Manager Bradley Nardi said the boats would all open for inspection as soon as they returned to their berths after the combined sail past and blessing on Saturday.
In recognition of the region's traditional owners, one of the vessels, the Milbi, will have indigenous staff members and Butchulla elders aboard and the didgeridoo will be played during their sail past.
Hervey Bay Christian Ministers Association chairman Pastor Ross Davie said a group of ministers would take turns saying a prayer of blessing over each vessel as it passed by the pontoon in front of the Hervey Bay Boat Club.
"We've discovered that the captains of the boats really appreciate that blessing and that support that's given from the ministers and churches and also from the community at large,” Pr Davie said.
"The boats are all lit up and there's usually lots of people on the boats as well so there's usually lots of celebration with the event.”
Mr Nardi said the fleet blessing, a centuries-old tradition to foster a safe and prosperous season, was just one part of the event which a one of the major drawcards of the Ocean Festival, presented by USC.
"The festivities will start at 4pm with live music and market stalls selling food, arts and crafts ... and culminate with a fireworks display from about 7.20pm,” Mr Nardi said.
Island Venture, Whalesong, Pacific Whale Foundation and Blue Dolphin will be open until 7.30pm, Spirit of Hervey Bay and Yahoo will welcome visitors until 7.40pm, Freedom III, Amaroo, MV Utopia and Tasman Venture will open until 8pm, Milbi will open to 8.30pm and Quick Cat II to 9pm.