Fleet to be blessed for 25th year
This Sunday, at 11am, the Blessing of the Fleet will be held for its 25th year as a Whitsunday event.
As well as providing some divine intervention for those who live, work or play on the sea, the blessing commemorates the naming of the 'Whitsunday' region and the significance of the seventh Sunday after Easter.
Started in 1989 by local identity Cap'n Dan Van Blarcom and Father Keith Felgate, the blessing has been traditionally held on 'Whit Sunday' each year.
According to Cap'n Dan, it all started when Father Keith "got the call from upstairs, and then he picked up the telephone and gave me the call".
"It was a bit of a Christian outreach thing for a drinking town with a sailing problem, but it's also for all the people who go out, live or work on the sea and to honour the naval people, safety services and water police - all those people who live and die on the water," he said.
Cap'n Dan said a lot of people might consider themselves atheists until they experienced a storm at sea.
"Then, to me, I know I've got a hand on my shoulder," he said.
To commemorate this year's special anniversary event, Cap'n Dan and Father Chris Yule have invited the Anglican Bishop of North Queensland, Bishop Bill Ray, as a special guest who will bless the fleet, from a vantage position on Father Keith's rock at the Whitsunday Sailing Club. Locals with boats of all types and sizes are welcome to join in the fleet that passes in front of the club to be blessed. The Whitsunday Navy Cadets will also be involved in the event.
BLESSING OF THE FLEET
What: 25th anniversary event
Where: Whitsunday Sailing Club
When: Sunday, June 8