Monday, October 26, 2015

Day 100 !!! The Blessing of the Fleet

We spent our 100-day jubilee celebrating "the Blessing of the (Fishing) Fleet" together with the Fremantle Italian fishing community. For watching the procession we spotted the perfect corner where the crowd would walk past. Hopefully not a bad omen that exactly on that spot, a defect bus barred the road so that the festive procession had to wreath around the bus because TransPerth wasn't able to fix it in time (as we could watch).
The approaching procession, watched
through the windows of the defect bus
standing in their way ;-)
The procession takes place once a year, after its Sicilian example. Many fishermen here are Italian, and in front of the Saint Mary walk two Italian police officers in their uniforms.

We followed the procession all the way to the fishing harbor, where there was already a lot of celebration with BBQ and booze on the boats. The four most nicely decorated boats where blessed with (1) the "Miss Blessing of the Fleet" and her four Girl Misses, (2) a troop of Christ child figures and an entire playing marching band, (3) the argentine Madonna sanctuary carried by women, and (4) the Saint Mary sanctuary carried by men (and guarded by the Italian Policemen). All the four boats then sailed some rounds around the harbor to bless all the fishermen and their boats, then returned back to the pier so that the sanctuaries could be returned to the cathedral - but not before a lot of noise was created by a daylight fireworks at the harbor. 
The "floating-marching band"

We then visited the Shipwreck Museum which was very unfitting we noticed later, but the best time and date. The gallery showed quite interesting stuff like the remainders of Batavia wreck, a Dutch ship which sunk in the 17th century in Western Australia. The Batavia wreckage triggered an incredibly sad story: Since the survivors were not able to find food or water on the arid Western Australian coast, the officers built a boat and sailed to Indonesia for help, leaving women, children and some lesser important sailors behind. One of the men started a tyranny, killing all women and children and many of the men. Some loyal sailors separated from the tyranny camp. When the officers returned with a rescue ship, only by accident the loyal sailors reached the rescue ship first, and the officers brought the mutineers to justice by first cutting their hands off and then hanging them. Cruel times back then.
Some other wreckage victims had not a better fate by being killed by indigenous people, or by just starving on the arid beaches of Western Australia. Good for science however that many items of daily life of the 17th and 18th century have survived at the wreckage sites. There was even a display of German silver "Thalers" from towns such as Brunswick, Nuremberg, Frankfurt or Hanau. We were even more surprised to see coins from Santa Fe and Mexico - an indicator for Global Trade as early as the mid 17th century.

This is the one of the earliest maps of Australia,
when it wasn't clear yet that Australia is an island.
Fireworks at night (8PM...) celebrating the Blessing of the Fleet


No comments:

Post a Comment