The citizens of Ballina on the New South Wales coast are bosltering their defences and getting ready for an invasion. The word from sources close to the CIA is that a very scary-looking Portuguese pirate ship is about to enter Ballina waters this weekend.
Pirates are coming
The pirate ship even has a scary name. Notorious is a full-sized replica of a 15th century Spanish caravel, a light sailing ship that that was developed by the Portuguese in the late 1400's. This particular reconstruction is claimed to be the earliest in Australia. Caravels were favoured by both explorers and pirates.
Pirate ship Notorious
The owners of Notorious are a very unpirate-looking couple called Graeme and Felicite Wylie. They were inspired to build the vessel by the legendary Mahogany Ship, an ancient shipwreck discovered in 1836 on the coast of Victoria.
It took Mr Wylie 10 years to research, design and build it. The 17-metre long ship was constructed almost entirely from reclaimed wood - not a single tree was felled for her build - and she was launched in February 2011.
Mr and Mrs Wylie are sailing with their daughter, Tegan, and two ship dogs, Taz and April. 'We're excited to come along and be part of the fourth annual Ballina Boat and Leisure Show,' Mrs Wylie told the Northern Star.
Ballina will be the tenth port of call on this historic voyage along the east coast.
'It's the first vessel of this type in these waters for more than 500 years.
'We're inviting people to come along and explore on board and below deck. We're having a wonderful time on this voyage, but we're thinking Ballina will be as far north as we'll go, because of the cyclone season, so we're going to head back to Victoria after this stop.'
Mrs Wylie said she loved seeing people's reactions to Notorious.
'Sometimes children won't want to come aboard because it looks to scary,' she said.
'But the overwhelming response is of joy and amazement - she really is a feel-good experience. '
Notorious will be open to the public, for onboard and below deck inspection, between 10am and 4pm on Saturday and Sunday at the Lance Ferris Wharf in Fawcett Park. Cost is $5 for adults and $2 for children.
It is part of the Ballina Boat and Leisure Show, which will be held over the weekend at Fawcett Park. The event is a major fundraiser for Marine Rescue Ballina and entry is by gold coin donation.
If you are anywhere within reach of Ballina, be brave enough to go visit Notorious.