The Adventures of Willie

 

A well-known Broome icon, Willie is a 67-foot gaff-rigged schooner, a faithful reproduction of a traditional pearl lugger from the early 1900s.

She was built in Fremantle, Western Australia by shipwright Tony Larard.  Her masts were shaped from two Tasmanian Huon Pine trees, specifically selected and shipped to Perth.

Launched in Fremantle in 1985, Willie began her colourful career, which has spanned across three decades.  Starting work as a commercial fishing boat, she soon turned to the charter industry, taking adventurers and scientists through the untouched Kimberley coastal region and leading expeditions to explore shipwrecks and significant traditional sites.  One of these expeditions featured in a 1991 edition of National Geographic.

From there she became a surf charter vessel cruising the popular surf breaks of Indonesia before returning to Australia.  Willie began her famous sunset cruises along Cable Beach in the late 1990s, her silhouette synonymous with the sun setting over the Indian Ocean.  Many will remember her gracing the waters of Cable Beach during this time.

In 2011, Willie returned to her roots, fishing for Mother of Pearl shell in the waters of the North West.  Willie was a true pearl lugger for three years, fulfilling her original purpose and outlasting many of her predecessors to become the last operating pearl lugger in Australia.

Willie has had many adventures and several owners since her launch over 34 years ago. Most recently, she was used for private leisure cruising in Malaysia where she underwent a total refit and complete loving refurbishment.

Now, in the latest chapter, Willie has returned to her spiritual home to once again grace the waters off Cable Beach.  Visitors and locals alike will again have the opportunity to enjoy an afternoon under her sails, cruising the Indian Ocean, taking in the incredible sunset and creating lasting memories.