Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Experimental reefs set to reopen for fishing
Four reefs that have been part of an experiment to determine how reef fish populations react to various amounts of line and spear fishing are to be reopened this weekend.
The four are part of the eight blue General Use B reefs in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park closed to line and spear fishing as part of the Effects of Line Fishing (ELF) experiment. They will be re-opened to fishing this Saturday March 29.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority closed the reefs on March 29 1998 for five years as part of the ELF experiment conducted by the Cooperative Research Centre for the Great Barrier Reef (CRC Reef).
The experiment contributes to the ELF research project that is trying to determine how reef fish populations react to various amounts of line and spear fishing
The reefs that will re-open include the Rocky Islets B (reef number 14-132b, near Lizard Island), Knife Reef (18-081, off Townsville), Liff Reef (20-296, off Mackay) and unnamed reef (21-124, near Storm Cay in the Swains Reefs). Four other blue zone reefs, one near each of those opening next week, remain closed until March 6 2005.
"The experiment includes research on a range of target and non-target species. ELF researchers are using the results of this research to put together a Management Strategy Evaluation Model. This evaluation will give managers and stakeholders solid information from which they can effectively assess current and potential management measures," said Chip Henriss-Anderssen of GBRMPA.
"The ELF experiment has helped researchers monitor the fish stocks since 1995 and will continue to do so right through until the end of the experiment in 2006. The information being collected is integral to discovering the effective outcome of various management policies including reef closures and fishing effort reduction" he said.

Shame file
This week an ex Sydney Hobart skipper pleaded guilty in a Melbourne court to a shameful crime. The skipper who made a 46-footer now racing as Quest somewhat famous around Port Phillip as the Kids at Sea training boat, by taking disadvantaged young people sailing. On Monday he pleaded guilty to 118 theft and deception charges over fake luxury car raffles held during the past 7 years, amounting to $8m. Police allege the man or his associates held most of the winning tickets, and in some Kids at Sea charity raffles there were no prizes at all. A plea hearing will be held in November.

Bible back on Bark
HM Bark Endeavour, the replica of James Cook s 18th Century voyager, will be returning to Falmouth, berthing alongside National Maritime Museum Cornwall this week. This represents a significant moment for Falmouth as Captain Chris Blake, Master of Endeavour, returns to deliver a very special bible back to its home town.
34 years ago, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston set sail from Falmouth to complete the first single-handed non-stop circumnavigation of the world. Just prior to his departure he mentioned to Reverend David Roberts, the Chaplain for the Mission to Seamen, that he was without a bible. Padre Roberts and Sir Robin both dashed into Falmouth and purchased a copy; Padre Roberts signed it, wished Sir Robin well and then passed it to him.
After 312 days at sea, on 22 April 1969, Sir Robin sailed back into Falmouth, and the history books, and returned the bible, signed by himself, to Padre Roberts. Some time later, Padre Roberts passed it to Nigel Rowe who competed in the 1994/5 Around Alone race and who also safely delivered his signed bible back to Padre Roberts.
When the Endeavour last came to Falmouth in 1997, Capt Chris Blake and Padre Roberts attended a party in celebration of the promise of funding for National Maritime Museum Cornwall. Padre Roberts said to Capt Blake that he should now take the bible with him on Endeavour as she was headed off around the world.
Sadly, three years ago Padre Roberts passed away but before he died he asked the family, including his daughter Sian Cumins, who now runs The Grove Hotel, opposite the Museum, to attempt to locate the bible and hand it to the Museum.
So, this week Endeavour will sail into Falmouth carrying a unique piece of history, a bible that has sailed on more around the world adventures than any other, been the soul mate of some of our most renowned sailing heroes and is a key thread in Falmouth's relationship with the sea dating back 34 years.
At a ceremony after Endeavour's arrival, Capt Blake will sign and hand the bible to Nigel Rowe, who will in turn pass it to Sir Robin Knox-Johnston. Sir Robin will then pass it to Sian Cumins who will then present the bible to Peter Cowling, Director of National Maritime Museum Cornwall. He will accept the bible and place it in the Museum s Bartlett Library its final resting place.
In a final twist to the tale, six years ago, when Capt Chris Blake last came to Falmouth with Endeavour, he stayed in the Grove Hotel - a favourite resting place of his. At the time it was not run by Sian Cumins and her husband, so you could say fate had a large hand to play in the great story of this bible.

Queen Mary II on slips
The construction of the biggest passenger ship of all time is underway at the Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyards in France's western port of Saint-Nazaire.
With a length of 345 metres, the Queen Mary II will be 45 metres longer than the height of the Eiffel Tower and as tall as a 23-storey building. The QM II is scheduled to be launched next year.
She will carry 2,620 passengers on seventeen decks enjoying the most luxurious accommodation and facilities ever provided on a cruise liner, with 1,250 crew at their disposal. With a maximum speed of 30 knots, she will cross the Atlantic Ocean in six days.
Project manager Alain Crouzols described the project as "an extraordinary venture". "The difficulty lies less in the size of the ship than in the industry's lack of references for working on such a scale".
The Queen Mary II will be owned by the British shipping company Cunard, its fourth major passenger ship following the Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth and the still operational Queen Elizabeth II.
The first such ship built outside Britain, she will fly the United Kingdom's Red Ensign, with Southampton as home port.
It is the biggest contract ever signed by the company. Worth 780m dollars, the ship is not only the biggest of its kind ever built but also the most expensive.

Fitzalan Passage Buoys
Mariners are advised that Notice No.66 (T) of 2003 is cancelled. The lighted Special Mark buoys FL.Y.2.5s temporarily established in Fitzalan Passage, which is off Whitsunday Passage have been withdrawn. Charts affected: AUS 252, 253, 254, 824

Rest easy.

Daylight Saving ends this weekend and southerners may now rejoin sunny Queensland.

"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut."
Ernest Hemingway (1899 -1961), American author

Fair winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan

Friday, March 21, 2003

Cyclone Erica wild weather walkabout
Wild weather was on the cards for us a couple of weeks ago, but the system moved off the coast before Cyclone Erica was declared. Erica then went walkabout in the Coral Sea before swooping down on New Caledonia.
We are still in the cyclone season, although it seems to be cooling off somewhat. But never say never - there is always a chance as detailed in this first hand account from friends Dave and Marie Christoper in Noumea, New Caledonia.
"Hello everyone, 'Erica', as it was named, hit New Cal (Caledonia) very hard: our wind speed indicator stopped working at 95 knots, in fact it no longer works at all. Just when we thought this was going to be a year without a cyclone reaching us here in the south end of the island.
Erica started as a small depression off the east coast of Australia, (near Proserpine) which contrary to the norm, travelled north up the coast then headed north east into the south Pacific where it intensified before heading back down south east towards New Cal. Erica approached the Northern end of the island with winds of over 150 knots in the centre then slid down the west coast during Thursday night travelling at about 12 km/hr then early Friday morning while the radars were down in the northern end of the island due to the passage of Erica and while there was no satellite over head, she picked up speed to 50 km/hr, still with a centre pressure of 925 Hpa.
At this time she headed in towards the coast and right over Noumea. Our strong winds started at about 9 am with north-easterly winds of about 60 knots gusting to 70 then at about 11:30 the wind and heavy (torrential) rain died down and we were in the eye of the storm 1/4 hour later the wind came back out of the south west and blew like I have never seen with gusts of over 100 knots. The force of such a wind is incredible and in no time there was massive damage taking place all around us.
"All around boats were dragging and many ending up on the rocks, underwater and even high and dry, blown clean out of the water onto the land as far as 20 meters from the sea. In one of the other marinas a number of docks broke away with all their boats attached and dragged the lot onto the docks behind them making a pile of boats and docks one on top of the other.
"I was not at all scared but did feel the danger very acutely and realized that if anything should let loose near me that that would be the end, there would be no way to duck or move quickly, a few times while helping others put out extra lines etc. I had to go flat on the ground and grab the nearest thing to stop being blown away, a strange feeling to be so over powered and have so little control.
"The hardest thing was seeing the people who lost their boats trying to save them and not being able to achieve anything at all against the force of nature. One guy arrived to find his boat had dragged its anchor together with another boat, to within 2 meters of the rocks, there it had re-hooked and was holding fine but banging into the other boat, so he decided to try and get aboard and motor away. He hardly got more than ten meters when he ran into the mast of yet a another boat sunken in front of him, so with his prop fouled he went straight into the rocks, smashed up and sank, had he left his boat where she was it would have survived easily as the worst was over and the wind slowly dying down.
There are a number of people with their homes and possessions scattered around the bays in New Cal or under water for ever, a few who lost there lives and many hurt, all in such a short time. And now today, 24 hrs later there is almost no wind and lovely sunny skies, hard to imagine.
"There you are and there still will be people who can't wait to see a 'real' cyclone; if they own a boat they are fools. Got to catch up with what could not be done while actively standing watch during the cyclone."
Dave and Marie Christoper, Noumea

VMR Presentation
Seven commercial skippers have completed their training and will receive their VMR Rescue Vessel Commander tickets at a presentation night says VMR Whitsunday spokesperson Michaela Moss.
"On Monday night the 7th of April at 7:30 pm we are issuing seven commercial skippers with VMR Rescue Vessel Commander tickets. This will bring our skipper numbers up to 10."
"We would like members and friends of VMR to attend this event."
"We will also have Kenny from Marine Tech as guest speaker, talking on the common marine electric problems, solutions and the changes in technology.
"To tempt you further there will be some nibbles available and the bar of course will be open at 8:30 pm. Please feel welcome to attend" Michaela added.

Fisher cops fine
A fisherman was convicted and fined $17,500 in Mackay Magistrates Court this week for negligently fishing at Swains Reef last year. Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol officers on the vessel KI Ross detected the fisherman.
"This is by far the highest fine for negligent commercial fishing to date. As a matter of interest the highest fine previously given was for $10 000 for the same fisherman who was convicted and fined in Bowen last year." Says Chip Henriss-Anderssen of Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

Poetic promises
"You campaign in poetry. You govern in prose"

Mario Cuomo (1932 -) American Politician

Fair winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan

Sunday, March 16, 2003

Boat show plans on course
Organisers say the Airlie Beach Rotary 2003 Boat Show - to be held on the June long weekend -- will be bigger and better.
Boating enthusiasts will see a grand display of eighty-eight stands featuring engines, sails, marine electronics, boating and fishing accessories. The show will be housed undercover in two giant Hoecker buildings at Abel Point Marina, surrounded by a large outdoor display of trailer boats. Visitors will enjoy non-stop fishing, safety and cooking demonstrations, fashion parades, fine food, music and entertainment.
Local company Oceanic Insurance Brokers have become the Airlie Beach Boat Show major sponsor, ensuring the financial success and future growth of the Show. The Rotary Club of Airlie Beach recognises and applauds both Oceanic's corporate involvement and community spirit.
Sunday June 8 is Whit Sunday, the day the area was named by James Cook in 1770 and date of the annual Blessing of the Fleet. This year Padre Don Fernance Chaplain of the Mission to Seafarers will conduct the Blessing in association with the boat show and local boaters.
For the first time, the boat show will star a superb floating display from the big names in sports and luxury power cruisers - Riviera, Mariner, Mustang, Princess and Sunrunner. So far there are nineteen floating exhibits of new power cruisers, mono and multihull yachts lined up for visitors to see and inspect, with more big names to come.
With only eight out of 88 stands left to fill, the show will soon be a complete sellout. To save disappointment, interested companies are urged to book their stand or berth without delay. For more details please call Michael Merrick Tel: (07) 4946 4212
Take a look at the Boat Show website: www.rotaryairliebeach.com to see the leading marine suppliers booked into the Show and further details. Saturday June 7 & Sunday June 8 - 9.00am to 5.00pm each day
Airlie Beach - what a great place for a Boat Show!

Have a Break
"Now that the America's Cup is over it's time for a laugh!" Says regular correspondent Kathy McKenzie of BoatingOZ. How right she is!
An email was circulated by an Aussie this week with Have a Break printed in large white letters on a red background above a photo of the dismasted Team NZ. Below was a picture of a well-known chocolate bar and the words 'Made with the finest Swiss ingredients'.
A Kiwi responded with: "At least we had one to break, you couldn't get one up."
The Kiwi's have always been quick to have a go. Remember when the OneAustralia yacht sank? The Kiwis came up with "how do you watch an Aussie yacht?"
"With a glass-bottomed boat."
Then there's the story about the Swiss Rugby Team challenge for the World Cup and the latest immigrants to Switzerland.
On a more serious note, over 20 cities have shown interest in staging the next America's Cup. A decision will be made in December depending on weather conditions and the potential for development. The Alinghi Swiss Challenge are possibly looking for the best place to recoup the reported $120M they spent on the last challenge, and to cover the cost of the next one.
"Speculation will be rife until the announcement," says Kathy, "but I will take an early punt on Spain as they didn't have a challenger. Royal support is assured and it is a proven tourist destination. I really hope it's Majorca as then I will have an excuse to visit my Australian and Swiss friends there!"
The usually conservative Swiss seem happy with the win. The Alinghi team and the America's Cup flew to Switzerland on a special charter flight. Forty-thousand people gathered at La Rotonde on the north bank of Lake Geneva to cheer their victory at a special ceremony. To keep the crowd warm, hot chocolate and tea were served. The evening ended with fireworks and a light show, taking the form of a neon green outline of the America's Cup.
A new chapter opens for the America's Cup.

Crime takes to high seas
Hijackings at sea doubled last year despite a fall in the total number of pirate attacks, according to figures released by the International Chamber of Commerce. The report on piracy shows that while attacks to ships were down by 27% to 335 worldwide in, the number of cases involving the capture and taking of the whole ship doubled from eight to 16.
ICC says the increase in hijackings is due to greater involvement in piracy by organized crime networks.
Pirates killed a total of 21 crewmembers and ships' passengers last year, and 210 more were taken hostage, the new report revealed. All but one of the murders were in Asian waters.
Last year 71 sea attacks involved guns, up from 53 in the year 2000, while assaults using knives fell from 132 to 105.
Indonesian waters and the Malacca Strait remain the world's most pirate-infested seas. But the new statistics suggest that recently intensified patrols have helped reduce pirate activity in the area.

Fitzalan Passage lights
Mariners are advised that a lighted Special Mark buoy FL.Y.2.5s has been established in approximate position Latitude 20°17.9313'S, Longitude 148°55.0470'E and another in approximate position Latitude 20°18.7922'S, Longitude 148°56.0571'E in Fitzalan Passage which is off Whitsunday Passage.
The buoys are expected to be in place until about Tuesday, 18 March 2003. Charts affected: AUS 252, 253, 254, 824

"The light which experience gives is a lantern on the setrn, which shines only on the waves behind us!"
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, English poet, critic and philosopher. (1772 -1834)

Fair winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

BoatSafe license plans unveiled

Following a review of Queensland's recreational boat licensing arrangements, Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ) is proposing to introduce a new competency-based training and assessment framework as a pre-requisite for the issue of a recreational boat licence.
"MSQ has developed the BoatSafe initiative that aims to further improve marine safety outcomes for recreational boat users in Queensland by enhancing the scope and quality of pre-licence training" says MSQ Director Captain John Watkinson.
"In formulating the BoatSafe framework, interstate and overseas recreational marine licence training and assessment models were examined to identify benchmark standards of pre-licence operator training and assessment. The scheme is modelled on nationally recognised competency-based training and assessment principles and processes." Captain Watkinson said.
There are four documents about the BoatSafe initiative for consideration and comment. A BoatSafe Policy Outline, Competency Standard for the Operation of a Powered Recreational Vessel in Queensland, Management Standards and an Audit Framework.
Written comments on the BoatSafe initiative must be received by close of business 14 April 2003 email: maritime.safety@msq.qld.gov.au

Clean up

The rain did not deter the usual suspects from our Rotary club who were on the job early Sunday morning ensuring the safe and orderly participation by volunteers in the fourteenth annual Clean Up Australia.
About forty volunteers were spread along the coastal strip braving the elements while retrieving a variety of rubbish mainly featuring plastic.
One volunteer told On the Waterfront that plastic bags were "everywhere".
"The plastic bags are just floating around the high tide line like a huge mass of jellyfish. It is easy to see why turtles die when the shoreline is also choking with these bags," she said.
One Rotary organiser Peter Jennings said there was a noticeable difference from the earlier years of the clean up.
"We have smaller rubbish to deal with these days. Things like mattresses are about the biggest we get now, where over the years we have had to pull whole car bodies and boats out of the mangroves and roadsides" Peter said.
The cleanest area around the waterfront is the lagoon due to the daily work of our council staff. If smokers would stop throwing cigarette butts around, the lagoon could win an award any day of the week.
Bouquets to our council workers, Rotary, Scouts, Zonta, Wildlife Preservation Society, Quota and the Hydeaway Bay Progress Committee for all the work done to provide a claen and safe environment.
In the Brickbats category, it is still a matter of concern that volunteers have to pick up used hypodermic syringes carelessly discarded by uncaring individuals.

That Cup again!

Certainly congratulations go to Ernesto Bertarelli and the Swiss Alinghi Team for winning the America's Cup and becoming the first Challenger to win on an initial attempt. Now the cup moves to Europe, beginning a new chapter in its 152-year history.
Alinghi eventually defeated Team New Zealand 5 - 0, after Race 4 was abandoned for many days due to too little or too much wind. When they finally raced TNZ was dismasted. Then they were defeated by 47 seconds in Race 5.
Alinghi's 41-year-old skipper, Russell Coutts, broke Dennis Conner's record of 13 America's Cup race victories. Coutts has also now equalled Charlie Barr and Harold Vanderbilt by winning three consecutive America's Cups.
While Coutts has won 14 consecutive races, some of his team-mates, also former TNZ crewmembers, have won 15 - Brad Butterworth, Murray Jones, Warwick Fleury, Simon Daubney and Dean Phipps.
The Commodore of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron at a ceremony handed over the cup to the Swiss on Monday. Commemorative medals were awarded to both crews.
The Challenger of Record for the 32nd America's Cup will be the Golden Gate Yacht Club of San Francisco, the home of Larry Ellison's Oracle BMW challenge. The Challenger of Record negotiates the rules for the next event with the Defender, representing the interests of all eventual challengers.
TNZ and the GBR Challenge will challenge again if they can attract sufficient funding. Patrizio Bertelli has told an Italian reporter that Prada won't challenge again. The French based K-Challenge 2006, set up by Ortwin Kandler, one of the pioneers of the Airbus industry, has been training for the next Cup with Dawn Riley as team manager.

Two land reef fines

Combined fines of $40,000 were handed down to two men convicted for separate offences in Breach of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act.
The Korean trained master, Ha Tek Bok, of the Bulk Carrier Seakoh was fined $15, 000 in default of 12 months imprisonment for unpermitted ship operations.
On November 30 2001 a Marine Parks Ranger observed the, 86,210 tonne, Seakoh come past the northern end of Sykes Reef heading west. Under the Mackay Capricorn Marine Park Zoning Plan, ships with a gross tonnage in excess of 1500 tonnes are not permitted to traverse this General Use B zone.
A fisherman was fined $25 000 in default of 12 months imprisonment for fishing in a Marine Park B Zone, also known as a Green Zone, at the unnamed Reef 21-532 within the Swains Reefs. Marine Parks Rangers observed the man fishing in the Green Zone on April 20 2002.
According to GBRMPA Executive Director John Tanzer the convictions should send a clear message to offenders.
"As we have said earlier and we are now seeing. Our interagency cooperation has never been better. We are very serious about protecting the Great Barrier Reef. To those who think they can get away with damaging or putting the Reef into danger there is a good chance they will be prosecuted," Mr Tanzer said.

Weather report

With cyclone Erica spinning around out in the Coral Sea, media weather reports are saying the position of the storm is '600 kilometres east of Proserpine'.
At least tourist operators can't complain about any reference to the Whitsundays.

Fitzalan Passage lights

Mariners are advised that a lighted Special Mark buoy FL.Y.2.5s has been established in approximate position Latitude 20°17.9313'S, Longitude 148°55.0470'E and another in approximate position Latitude 20°18.7922'S, Longitude 148°56.0571'E in Fitzalan Passage which is off Whitsunday Passage.
The buoys are expected to be in place until about Tuesday, 18 March 2003. Charts affected: AUS 252, 253, 254, 824

Fair winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan