11 C
Byron Shire
August 16, 2022

Tribute to Gabriel Salas, navigator of Las Balsas

Latest News

Byron Bay Surf Festival 

Surfers, beach lovers, water people – owing to COVID- related complications, the 2022 Byron Bay Surf Festival has moved...

Other News

Alarming footage of devastation in Ellis State Forest

Today north coast conservationists say they are shocked and alarmed at footage of the devastation being wrought in Ellis State Forest south of Grafton.

NSW bans public display of Nazi symbol

In an historic moment a new law making it a criminal offence to knowingly display a Nazi symbol in public without a reasonable excuse, has passed NSW Parliament yesterday.

Revoke Splendour consent

The legislation that gave Splendour consent has been revoked. Splendour’s consent should also now be revoked.  Originally Byron Council gave...

Evans Head, Iron Gates DA public planning meeting coming

The current development application (DA) for the flood and bushfire-prone site of the Evans Head, Iron Gates development will go before the Northern Rivers Planning Panel (NRPP) on 30 August.

Barilaro begs off today’s Upper House committee inquiry

Today's scheduled hearing for the Upper House committee inquiry into the appointment of Mr John Barilaro as Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner to the Americas has been cancelled.

Bruns underground car park reconsidered 

Byron Council’s decision to approve a controversial mixed-use development in Brunswick Heads that would include the town’s first underground car park could be overturned at this week’s meeting, with a group of councillors moving a rescission motion.

Ballina has lost one of it’s treasures with the recent passing of Gabriel Salas, navigator of the Las Balsas raft, who passed away on Saturday October 31 in Madrid.

Gabriel was one of only two people to have ever crossed the Pacific Ocean twice on a raft. Once on the first expedition in 1970 and then again on the Las Balsas voyage in 1973. Each ocean crossing took approximately six months.

To quote Gabriel, ‘the best time in my life was spent at sea aboard this raft’.

Gabriel has been living in a small town in Spain called Pitres for the last five years or so. I was fortunate enough to spend a couple of weeks traveling with him and stayed at his home in 2013.

Gabriel was an amazing man, full of passion and adventure. He could recount stories from his times on the raft like it was yesterday – and was happy to share them.

Gabriel used to travel to Ballina every year to commemorate the anniversary of the Las Balsas arrival.

I had the pleasure of getting to know him and becoming close friends during one of these visits about six years ago.

He was passionate about the raft, which takes pride of place at Ballina’s Naval and Maritime Museum, and he was instrumental in championing the Las Balsas 40th Anniversary Celebrations in 2013, which laid the foundations for what is now Ballina’s hugely successful Prawn Festival.

Gabriel was a living legend and it was an honour to call him a friend.

His passing will be commemorated with a small memorial service on Thursday November 12, at 2pm in the park next to the Maritime Museum (near the water’s edge). Some tea and coffee will be available at the Museum after the ceremony.

Here is a bit of info about the service today.

We have a short video presentation that will be played in the museum, we have some tributes from some of the other raftsmen, a song that they used to sing while aboard the raft and a memorial card with people’s comments that will be sent to his daughter, Marina Salas, who lives in Canberra and couldn’t make it up. She’s very touched by what we have organised.

The Las Balsas raft is a unique treasure that Ballina should be very proud of. The expedition of 12 brave men is well documented and a DVD is available at the Museum.

Ballina Shire Cr Jeff Johnson

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Finding the fine art

Bangalow Fine Art are boutique art dealers and valuers who hold quarterly online exhibitions of interesting and important pieces of Australian and international art. The...

Mirabelle’s game 

A magical quest is taking place in Lismore Quad from August 15–23. Deep underground, right beneath the town (and unknown to the human inhabitants...

Local pasta, sauces, eggs and custard!

Victoria Cosford There’s a steady stream of customers at Jodie’s stall. Regulars by the looks of it, most unclipping their plastic containers – 100 per...

Halcyon House and Paper Daisy

Simon Haslam A stylish boutique beachfront hotel with bespoke rooms, its own day spa, a beautiful pool and a laidback but upmarket restaurant, with an...