Send us your Las Balsas memories to win

WHERE were you when the Las Balsas raft expedition came to Ballina from Ecuador on November 21, 1973?

The Rotary Club of Ballina-on-Richmond, in conjunction with Paradise FM and the Northern Star, would like to hear your stories of that historic day, or see your photos.

And by sharing them you could win two tickets to the Las Balsas Reunion Dinner at the Ballina RSL Club on November 15, which will be the forerunner to the inaugural Ballina Prawn Festival, celebrating 40 years of Las Balsas.

The Ecuadorian ambassador and several of the original Las Balsas crew will attend the dinner, which will have a distinct South American theme with dancers and the Oz Latin Bros.

The three balsa-wood rafts in the Las Balsas expedition, each with a crew of four men of various nationalities, sailed from Ecuador to Ballina following the prevailing winds and Pacific Ocean currents.

Two of the rafts were towed into Ballina by local trawlers, with many locals, including school children, lining North Wall to see them come in after their voyage of 178 days.

Rotarian Sheila Aveling said the competition was about "celebrating a significant moment in Ballina's history".

The stories need to be 50 words or fewer, and may be read out on Paradise FM.

The winner will be drawn on November 8, and announced on Paradise FM.

To enter, email your story or photo to info@paradisefm .com.au, or post it on the Paradise FM or Northern Star Facebook pages.

Entries close on November 7. A composite of the two surviving rafts is on display at the Ballina Naval and Maritime Museum in Regatta Ave.

Tickets to the Las Balsas reunion dinner cost $60 a head (for tables of 10) or $65 for individuals. They are on sale at the Ballina RSL Club or online.


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