Whale Season To Open With New Cultural Event

A special event to mark the opening of the whale season, and the launch of the Sapphire Coast Whale Trail initiative, is coming to Bermagui on August 14th. The town will host Walawaani Muriyira-Waraga, an event connecting people to place and celebrating the relationship between whales, Yuin culture and the community of Bermagui.

Walawaani Muriyira-Waraga which means ‘safe journey whale – many’ in the Dhurga language will encompass an official opening ceremony including a Welcome to Country, Smoking Ceremony, Dance performance and talks about Yuin cultural connections to Whales.

Following the opening ceremony, a community paddle out will welcome the whales as they pass Bermagui on their annual journey south to the Antarctic. Throughout the week prior, local school and pre-school children will be getting involved developing­­ a community art trail that will bring a riot of colour to the retail precinct of Bermagui.

It is the first of what the tourism industry hopes will be an annual community event.

Anthony Osborne, from Sapphire Coast Destination Marketing, said the event was the first initiative of the Sapphire Coast Whale Trail 2021 project, with the aim of including Bermagui and other towns in our collective whale story. ‘’ This is a great opportunity to celebrate our rich and enduring history with the Whales and the focus on Aboriginal culture will make this a great way to open the season and launch the Whale Trail project,’’ Mr Osborne said.

Member of the organising committee, and local Yuin man Gordon Campbell, was looking forward to sharing local Aboriginal stories with business members and the community at the opening ceremony. ‘’This is a great way to start the celebration of our whales travelling in Bermagui. I look forward to seeing the community and engaging as we share our local Aboriginal culture, language and watch the whales.’’ added Mr Campbell.

There is special news for the Bermagui Community with Sapphire Coastal Adventures (formerly Merimbula Marina) offering $25 whale watching tours throughout the day as they settle into their new home in Bermagui for the Whale season. Owner Simon Millar is looking forward to providing regular tours from Bermagui which gives easy access to the sea and close proximity to the stunning surrounds of Montague Island.

‘’With the Merimbula sandbar becoming unreliable we have sought a safe and deep access port from which to operate our tours. Bermagui is a fantastic community and provides great access to Montague Island which draws a diverse range of marine life year round. The whale watching in particular is spectacular and we look forward to getting as many locals as we can out for the day.' Mr Millar said.

All events will have strictly limited numbers to ensure a COVID Safe environment.

For full details, to register for events and to learn more, visit sapphirecoast.com.au/walawaani-muriyira-waraga .

Artwork: ‘Mother’s Love’ by Paula Campbell