Breathing the sea…

 Today we went boating with a family friend.

We loaded the boat with youngsters, not-so-youngsters, and we oldies, and whilst motoring over to Okehampton Bay, site of the proposed intensive salmon farm, we started chatting about family culture…


What we did today was my own family culture and indeed the family culture of the two young families aboard the boat.


In my case, I was onboard my grandfather’s boat before I could walk and thereafter frequently. So was my brother.

In my mum’s day, she was expected to be more than boat-ish. With no sons, her father expected his daughters to be dab hand at boats, fishing, cleaning fish and cooking fish – a natural expectation.

The not-so-youngsters (all thirty somethings) on board this morning had grown up with that same culture, that way of life, that mind set.


And it didn’t matter whether they went out on a real fishing trawler, a tinny with a tiny outboard or a slightly more comfortable boat, they all grew up on the water.


Today I watched the next generation accept the sea life as if born with gills and buoyancy devices.


There was an 8 month old, two three year olds and a four year old and they were as happy and comfortable as pigs in mud with the four year old wanting to put a line down to catch a fish, or else strip off and swim naked (Brrrr!).





They wore their life jackets as if they were second skins and they slept when they were tired, crashing wherever was comfy, and where the rumble of the diesel motor lulled them into deep sleep.


When too cold to go on deck, they went for’ard and watched an i-pad that one of the enterprising Mums had packed.

And when we berthed, the four year old jumped onto the marina and went straight to the hose, ready to wash the boat down – as natural as can be!

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The bay we visited today is threatened by a huge salmon farm. Where the yellow markers are in this pic is right where 28 pens shall sit between us and Maria Island. As a small group with an ocean-going family culture that stretches back four generations, we all wondered what it would take for our State Liberal Government to revert to the idea of leaving this coastline as preciously protected as it is right now. Where wild fish have been caught by commercial fishermen for an age, where groups like us can go and fish and boat freely without being told ‘Trespassers Prosecuted’.

I really don’t think the State Government cares about family cultures, be they professional fishermen, tourism businesses or recreational lifestyle choices. Not at all. For this State Government headed by Liberal Will Hodgman and for the Minister for Primary Industry and Water, Jeremy Rockcliff, it’s a case of Develop or Die, and to hell with any other vision.