Seabourn Pursuit named by indigenous godparents in historic Kimberley ceremony

Author: Kaye Holland

Published on:

Updated on:

Seabourn Pursuit, Seabourn’s newest ultra-luxury, purpose-built expedition vessel, has officially been named in a ceremony at Ngula Jar Island, Australia

With guests on Zodiacs alongside the ship and the onboard team lined up along the decks, the Wunambal Gaambera Traditional Owners named the ship.

The day-long celebration and naming ceremony were thoughtfully planned to honour Wunambal Gaambera Country, people and Kimberley region. Guests participated in a Wunambal Gaambera welcome and smoking ceremony, jimɨrri, to welcome guests to the country and wish them safe travels.

Wunambal Gaambera traditional owner,Lillian Karadada, said: “Our smoking ceremony is done for visitors so that our old people’s spirits won’t follow them.”

Attendees also had the opportunity to visit ancient rock art sites and hear the cultural stories of that area.

To celebrate their new relationship, Seabourn and Wunambal Gaambera Traditional Owners exchanged gifts. In addition, Seabourn guests Vince and Jane Roig, who have sailed on every Seabourn inaugural voyage on the current seven-ship fleet, presented the Traditional Owners with a symbolic gift of art supplies as a token of appreciation.

The day culminated with the naming ceremony in Wunambal Gaambera language and English. Representatives from the Wunambal Gaambera Aboriginal Corporation wished the vessel an abundance of blessings and extraordinary expeditions to come in Wunambal Gaambera Country.

Seabourn used a specially made bottle crafted from sugar and coated with sand from Ngula, Jar Island, to further celebrate and show respect to the land. Keeping with the time-honoured maritime tradition, guests and crew members both on board and on the Zodiacs cheered and celebrated the moment the bottle broke on the bow of the ship.

Seabourn president Natalya Leahy said: “This day marks a very special event with the christening of Seabourn Pursuit, our newest ultra-luxury purpose-built expedition ship.

"This is a wonderful maritime tradition, and today is extra special for us because we asked the Wunambal Gaambera to be the ship’s godparents, which marks the beginning of long sustainable partnership between our brand and this community.

"We know our guests visit these wonderful places in the world because they believe in the transformative power of travel, and today we celebrate exactly this.

Catherine Goonack, chair of the Wunambal Gaambera Aboriginal Corporation, added: “We are honoured to be the godparents of Seabourn Pursuit and share our culture with their crew and guests.

"It’s good to see our people working on Country and sharing our unique culture in the right way. Living and working on Country is important for us. When we are living and speaking language on Country, we are healthy. Thank you, Seabourn, for your support. Biyanga graa winya – welcome.”

Most recent articles

About Kaye Holland

Kaye is a London-based wordsmith who has written for a range of publications including The Times, The Independent, The I, Culture Trip, The Sun, and ABTA among others. In June 2022, Kaye joined the Real Response Media where she looks – together with Lucy Abbott – after the World of Cruising website. Want to get in touch? Kaye can be reached at: [email protected]