A river cruise is all properly and good, however while you depart with an consciousness of the tradition and historical past that surrounds a spot, it makes your journey vital. That’s what Saltwater Eco Excursions in Mooloolaba is all about.
The waterways of Mooloolaba in Queensland’s Sunshine Coast have particular which means for the Kabi Kabi, the normal custodians of the area.
From the elegant decks of a 115-year-old crusing boat, skipper Simon Thornalley and Kabi Kabi lady ‘Aunty’ Bridgette Chilli paint an image of what this space represents to a tradition that’s tens of 1000’s of years previous.
Try our video from our time aboard the great ship Spray of The Coral Coast right here.
Saltwater Eco Excursions—the Cultural Tour on the Mooloolah River
Crusing the Mooloolah River, simply past the attain of multimillion-dollar waterfront mansions and luxurious superyachts, is the Spray of The Coral Coast, a tidy century-old timber boat, its masts reaching for the sky.
Captained by proprietor Simon Thornalley, who’s himself of Indigenous Australian and Torres Strait Islander heritage, the Spray of The Coral Coast is a traditional 58ft gaff-rigged Huon-pine ketch.
In-built 1925 to the plans of the unique Spray that Joshua Slocum sailed single-handedly all over the world between 1895 and 1898, the Spray of The Coral Coast is one among a sort.
And simply as Slocum was the primary particular person to circumnavigate the globe on his personal, so Simon has created one thing actually distinctive; the primary of its like.
What to anticipate on Saltwater Eco Excursions’ Cultural Tour
On the Penny Lane Jetty, Bridgette performs a smoke ceremony, welcoming us to her homeland and cleaning us in order that we will all “stroll on Nation with the identical footprint.” Her music lets the ancestors, the Previous Ones, know we’re right here and asks for protected passage up and down the river.
Earlier than we get underway, Simon additionally performs his didgeridoo for us. Its deep resonating music rings in our ears because the crew solid off and we strike a course alongside the Mooloolah River.
As we go, Aunty Bridgette tells us the tales she learnt from her grandmother, who raised her the normal Kabi Kabi methods, passing tales and data all the way down to her the way in which her grandmother had, so had at all times been down the millennia.
Her explanations of what the land right here means, the way it interprets and speaks of its personal and the Kabi Kabi’s historical past, is as essential as it’s fascinating.
Lunch is actually a moveable feast—a unending procession of scrumptious bush-tucker and platters as we sail the river, listening to Aunty Bridgette inform her historical past.
Deliciously ready snacks of kangaroo, crocodile, grilled prawns, bunya nut, even a cocktail utilizing Australian botanicals too, come from the galley, in addition to a cheese and charcuterie plate.
There’s even a bar arrange the place you may order extra cocktails or beers when you journey.
You’re welcome to go beneath deck too. Simon may be very pleased with the renovation—there are some pictures of the work that wanted to be executed and of the Spray of The Coral Coast via its 115-year service.
Earlier than we depart, Aunty Bridgette additionally performs an ochre ceremony on all of us, defending us from the world and blessing us.
It’s a exceptional expertise from starting to finish.
You possibly can’t assist however marvel why there aren’t extra experiences like this that train concerning the unimaginable historical past that run via this land just like the rivers themselves.
Maybe you discover a number of the reply from how exhausting it was for Simon to even get approval to start out the enterprise and renovate this boat, which is in itself a touchstone of historical past.
Many times, Simon needed to cope with financiers and councils telling him to simply use an everyday boat or that his wasn’t a viable enterprise concept. To see Saltwater Eco Excursions survive the toughest couple of years for tourism due to Covid is signal sufficient that they had been all fallacious.
However having sailed with Simon, we will say with authority they had been actually blind to the chance and ignorant to the importance of this journey.
Set Sail with Saltwater Eco Excursions
We skilled the Saltwater Cultural Tour and there are a number of various excursions out there to ebook right here.