Santa goes solar for Christmas

SANTA’S SHIP: Passengers for the SolarSailor waiting to board for a cruise as the vessel arrives at the Speers Point Park jetty on Thursday evening. Picture: MAX MASON-HUBERS SANTA’S SHIP: Passengers for the SolarSailor waiting to board for a cruise as the vessel arrives at the Speers Point Park jetty on Thursday evening. Picture: MAX MASON-HUBERS
Nanjing Night Net

SANTA’S SHIP: Entertainers on the SolarSailor Ninan Matthew, aka Santa’s chief safety officer Sparkey Opensleigh, with singers Chloe Jeffery-Williams and Emma Sutton. Picture: MAX MASON-HUBERS

A SOLAR- and wind-powered vessel will do this year’s traditional Christmas Eve cruise around Lake Macquarie.

The word is that Santa is happy about that because he’s a bit of a greenie.

Decked out in solar Christmas lights and spreading festive cheer, the SolarSailor will have Santa and his elves aboard to give out bags of lollies at stops on the shore.

The vessel will wind its way around the lake from Warners Bay to Rathmines, with each stop to last about 20 minutes and musicians playing Christmas songs onboard.

The iconic Wangi Queen had traditionally done the Christmas cruise for many years, but it left the lake in September.

Up to 25,000 people usually gather on the shore to see the vessel’s Christmas lights and wave to those onboard.

SolarSailor owner Robert Dane said he felt privileged to take over from the Wangi Queen.

‘‘It’s been great working with Santa on this project,’’ Dr Dane said, adding Santa loved coming to Lake Macquarie.

‘‘He liked the old boat, but he’s really excited about using the SolarSailor because he believes in renewable energy.’’

Santa and the elves will be wearing life jackets to send a safety message to the community.

TIMETABLE

SolarSailor Christmas Eve cruise stops on Lake Macquarie

4.25pm to 4.45pm Warners Bay

4.55pm to 5.15pm Eleebana

5.30pm to 5.55pm Valentine

6.15pm to 6.35pm Toronto

6.35pm to 7pm Coal Point

7.20pm to 7.40pm Kilaben Park

7.45pm to 8.05pm Rathmines