Last weekend we had an unusual event here in Nelson: the annual “Blessing of the Fleet”. Nelson is still an important focus for New Zealand’s seafood industry and locals understand its importance. This ceremony, which has been going for 10 years now, remembers those lost at sea and offers prayers for the safety of the fleet. On an unusual grey day, more than 3000 people turned out.
You can read about the official stuff here. These images are attempt to give you a feel for the day and what it means for Nelson.
It was a fun day. The sea cadets were there, along with a brass band and choir.
There was Buzz Falconer, Chairman of the Seafarers Memorial Trust:
And of course Bishop Ellena, here competing with one of the marines attached to Lord Nelson:
Lord Nelson? Of course! Who else? (He’s the short guy on the right.
The marines had great fun with their cannon:
while the navy watched from a safe distance round the corner
We were shown a demo of lifting a crew member off the Apollo by the rescue helicopter, a lot easier in flat water than it would be at sea:
My Rotary club was heavily involved, cooking many thousands of lunches. One piece of fish, two scallops and a scoop of chips, all for $2. It was quiet before we opened up, then long queues.
The seafood was all provided by Talley’s, along with some of their people. Filleters, for example, demonstrating their skills:
and greenshell mussels on the barbeque
The boss seemed to be in good spirits too:
I bought two 1kg boxes of greenshells (frozen half shells) for $2 each!
Even though such events have a long history in other parts of the world, this is the only one of its kind in New Zealand, It felt good to be part of it.