Annual Blessing of the Fleet

July 16th, 2010

It will be the 10th year running that the ceremony has been conducted in Australasia’s biggest fishing port, Port Nelson.

Thousands of people usually show up, and donations and takings from the many events planned will go to help the operating expenses of the Port Nelson Mission to Seafarers. (the charity also has funding & support from Port Nelson Ltd, various local churches & industries & the NZ Community Trust.)

This facility, on McGlashen Quay offers ships crew 24 hour access to the internet, and is staffed by volunteer hosts who open it each night.

The annual Blessing of the Fleet Ceremony is held to signify & celebrate the start of the main Hoki and Scallop fishing seasons.

The official ceremonies take place at the Seafarers Memorial on Sunderland Pier, just off Wakefield Quay and therefore it is also quite a sombre time, remembering the reason for that memorials monument.

The formal Blessing Service commences at 1pm tomorrow, and shortly there after at just after 1:25pm there will be a minutes silence to remember all those proud seafarers who never came back home. Some doves will be released and many ships horns will sound. Lord Nelson will follow up by firing his cannon.

HMS Pukaki arriving Friday am....

HMS Pukaki arriving Friday am....

HMNZS Pukaki arriving this morning, part of the NZ Royal Navy official presence.

Performing for the camera?

Performing for the camera?

Don’t know whether she was just posing for the webcam or not here.

CSAV Rio Illapel outside The Cut...

CSAV Rio Illapel outside The Cut...

VLCC about to enter The Cut at Port Nelson, arriving this morning from Lyttelton.

CSAV Rio Illapel entering the Haven having just transitted The Cut

CSAV Rio Illapel entering the Haven having just transited The Cut

VLCC now inside the haven.

CSAV Rio Illapel heading off back to Yokohama - Japan

CSAV Rio Illapel heading off back to Yokohama - Japan

Today’s visit was a bit of a whistle stop – boy they really do turn these big ships around fast today – in to Port, unload – load up – leave Port and all in about 6hours!

Fireworks start the precedings.....

Fireworks start the precedings.....

Fireworks tonight marked the official commencement of the Ceremonies.

As keen eyes may have noted all of todays photos above are snapshots from the Takeabreak Webcam that’s located above the Waterfront Cafe down on Wakefield Quay near The Boatshed.

Summit Rescue Chopper at home base

Summit Rescue Chopper at home base

The Summit Rescue helicopter is scheduled to conduct a demonstration sea rescue between 1:45 ~ 2pm on Saturday too.

Links to the other “Takeabreak” Nelson SnapitHD webcams are on the top left side of this page.

UPDATE:

Another Nelsonians view of the event is here with photos.