KALBARRI ROCK LOBSTER FEST
the legend of the golden cray
Centuries ago at the time of the Batavia shipwreck on the Abrolhos Islands, a Crayfish crawled into the holds of the sunken vessel to avoid being caught and eaten by the mutineers who were desperately trying to salvage food and other items from the wreck to provide for their survival.
In a chest deep down in the hold, which contained most of the treasure trove of gold and jewels, the Cray found a safe haven. It got trapped in this chest during a big storm which caused the lid to bang shut.
For months the Cray could only scrape away and feed on the gold, which due to the reaction of salt water with its mineralisation, caused the Cray to fall into a state of deep hibernation. During this time, it shed its hard outer shell and the new soft carapace became encrusted with gold and embedded with jewels as it hardened.
Many years later another huge storm caused the chest to roll and break open, freeing the Cray from its prison and be carried to the safety of a small underwater cave. This violent storm activity caused the Cray to emerge from its hibernation, only to discover that its tail was now formed in gold and its body encrusted by jewels.
Thus the legend of the 'Golden Cray' was born.
The Golden Cray had gained a taste for its previous golden diet and did not grow and shed its outer shell like the other Crayfish of the Abrolhos reefs.
This made the Golden Cray isolated from its own species.
Eventually the gold it had access to, was eaten up so it searched the reefs along the coast to find more shipwrecks and more gold.
The Golden Cray travelled north along the cliffs and after almost a century, it found the wreck of the Zuytdorp - and not only gold but also spices from the Northern Islands, which it also found to its taste. This had the combined effect of revitalising the Golden Cray and gave it immortality.
The Golden Cray continued on its journeys and found new wrecked vessels and new edible items which gave it not only immortality, but the knowledge of the locations of all the underwater treasure troves off the coast in the vicinity of Kalbarri.
Each year the Golden Cray relentlessly journeys up and down the coast between the Abrolhos Islands and the Northern end of the Zuytdorp Cliffs, but rests up over winter in a secret cave hidden in the reefs off Kalbarri's river mouth.
Just over half a century ago the original educators of the first school in Kalbarri discovered the Golden Cray and incredibly found that it could communicate with them. It told its story and thus the Golden Cray legend became known.
These educators decided to protect this unique Golden Cray and its secret resting place. They were now its sentinels becoming its guardians and protectors.
This responsibility has been passed on to the current teachers of the Kalbarri school. Such responsibility they take very seriously and refuse to divulge the location of the Golden Cray's secret cave to anyone who is not also a sentinel.
Each WA Day long weekend, pirates land on the Kalbarri foreshore in their quest to capture and eat the Golden Cray. In doing so, they then would become immortal and gain the knowledge to the riches still residing in all the watery graves of the unfound wrecks off our coast..
The 'pirates' and their wenches, many of whom are the 'ghosts' of sailors from the shipwrecks past, 'run amok' around the town and carnival site to plunder and steal spices and taste morsels of any Crayfish they see - hoping that it is the Golden Cray.
They also search out for a current sentinel to force them to divulge the secret of the Golden Cray's resting place. When they find a sentinel they drag them from the foreshore to their vessel, to torture and force them to walk the plank as part of their ‘persuasion’ to divulge the location of the Golden Cray.
This is the pirates quest - to gain the immortality, knowledge and riches which only the Golden Cray can give them.
Will the pirates succeed in their quest at this years Kalbarri Rock Lobster Fest ?
The only way to find out is to be there on Sunday of the WA Day long weekend which finishes the Western Australian Public Holiday.
Come for the whole weekend and get a taste for just some of what Kalbarri has to offer ........