Despite all hands on deck for the City of Greater Geraldton’s campaign to entice the Dutch Tall Ships to detour to Geraldton on their Abrolhos Island trip this week, the weather has dealt the campaign a fatal blow.
The campaign was working well with City Mayor, Ian Carpenter, and the community on board to divert the ships to Geraldton on the weekend of August 10 and 11.
Communications with the ships’ captains showed they were keen to come and were very interested in filling in the missing pieces of the Batavia puzzle. The latest development in the plans was to come to Geraldton on Saturday 10 August.
However, forecast weather conditions indicate that Geraldton Port would have to go into lockdown due to heavy swells at the end of this week. This would delay the Tall Ships from their planned sailing itinerary.
The Geraldton Port must often close due to surge caused by strong swells. The design of the channels leading into the Port appear to have caused this problem. The Geraldton Port has attracted criticism after underwater works in its 2003 $103 million Port Enhancement Project designed to allow larger ships into port, now cause constant chronic erosion along our foreshore as well as the issue with tidal surge.
Mr Carpenter said everyone is disappointed.
“We are all disappointed, but we understand the risks involved in delaying sailing vessels from their itinerary, he said.
“Thank you to all the generous offers of support for what could have been an amazing unplanned visit.”
Captain Harko, of the bark Europa, said: “We are really sorry not to be able to visit the City of Geraldton but believe me, we really wish the weather was different.”