Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Whale watching - a special privilege
The annual whale migration to the Whitsundays has started with sightings on the increase. Whale watching is an experience not to be forgotten. To see a humpback whale lift its massive body into the air, or slap the sea surface with its long fins, is a breathtaking sight and a special privilege.
Whale watching involves many senses. As well as seeing whales, you can hear the characteristic sounds of the blow, breach, or fin slap, and feel the sea spray from this behaviour.
Remember! While the humpback whale's behaviour can sometimes seem playful, it has a purpose and isn't there for our benefit alone.
The migration of humpback whales along Queensland's coast is essential for the survival of their species, and must not be disturbed.
Whales are protected by Australian and Queensland laws, which are based on continuing research and management including regular boat patrols.
Boaties: Please follow the guidelines so the whales remain uninterrupted on their journey. A person in control of a boat must not: bring the boat any closer than 100m of a whale; bring the boat any closer than 300m of a whale if: - three or more boats are already closer than 300m to a whale; bring the boat to a position that would cause a whale to come closer than 100m to the boat if the whale continued in its direction of travel;
Move or operate the boat in a way that causes the whale to alter its direction or speed of travel or its behaviour; or bring the boat between members of a pod of whales.
A person on a jet ski must not bring it any closer than 300m to a whale. A person in water must not move any closer than 300m to a whale. A person must not enter water closer than 300m to a whale.
A person must not do any of the following to a whale in the wild. Deposit rubbish near a whale; make a noise that is likely to disturb a whale; make a noise that is likely to attract a whale; intentionally feed a whale; or touch a whale.
Commercial whale watching is operated under permit using skippers and crew with experience in Hervey Bay, Moreton Bay and the Whitsunday Islands.
These are only some of the regulations, which protect and conserve whales from disturbance and harm.

Satellite shopping
Boating is only a minor user of satellite GPS (Global Positioning System) with much bigger sales for transport vehicles, commercial applications, hikers, and now supermarket trolleys.
For those who have problems doing the shopping here is the answer; a shopping trolley that takes you to the correct shelf. All you have to do is pick the product off the shelf and place it into the trolley.
Now being tested in Britain, the shoppers merely point to the item they are looking for on a screen, which sits on the trolley's handle and off you go to the destination shelf.
And, hold the steak knives, this GPS-trolley will suggest recipes, bring bargains to shopper's notice and work out the fastest way to get what you want and get to the check out.
No ETA for installation in Australia. Not quite like a fish finder either, where you still have to bait a hook and wet a line or stop at the fish shop on the way home.

'It's freezing out here' says skipper
"It's freezing out here" Sailors with disABILITIES skipper, David Pescud reported Tuesday afternoon, "we're at 43 degrees latitude in the Southern Ocean, and it's freezing on deck, minus 20 degrees, I reckon, cold enough to freeze the bark off a humpy."
"We are in 25 knot headwinds, east-nor-east, can you believe it. We are waiting for the wind to go left, then we can reach instead of beating into it like we are now.
"We haven't seen much life out here in the Ocean, a few beautiful big birds, a couple of seals, that's about it, no ships, nothing else."
Meanwhile, on land, weatherman 'Clouds' advised, "no change this morning - see that you're working tight and making reasonable progress. Short term, models are still unfavourable."
The only worry now is the Coast of Tassie. With this in mind, the next few days will be crucial for KAZ and her around Australia record attempt.

Fisheries say
Thousands of Queenslanders have responded to the Department of Primary Industries combined Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) and Draft Public Benefit Test.
Queensland Fisheries Service general manager Jim Gillespie said it was encouraging to see how many people took the time to comment on the new management proposals.
"Queensland's fisheries resources belong to everyone not just those with fishing interests," he said. "We received responses from a broad cross section of the community which will enable us to consider community expectations when we make our decisions."
A range of recommendations were outlined in the RIS including changes to measuring blue swimmer crabs; commercial netting regulations; new regulations for commercial and recreational Spanish mackerel catches; and a number of other management initiatives in the trawl, net, spanner crab and line fisheries.
Mr Gillespie said the RIS contained proposals aimed at protecting the State's valuable fisheries resources therefore it was very important to conduct a detailed analysis of the responses to the RIS.
"Analysis of the responses has commenced and QFS is expected to provide final recommendations to the Government in early July."
"The responses were in the form of 1500 full RIS responses and over 4000 form letters relating to specific issues," he said.
Mr Gillespie said while there is no denying that these recommendations will affect the various fishing sectors.

Secrets of the sea
"My soul is full of longing for the secrets of the sea, And the heart of the great ocean sends a thrilling pulse through me."
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Fair winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Southern Ocean excites sailors with disABILITIES

The sailors with disABILITIES sloop KAZ, attempting to break the Around Australia circumnavigation non-stop sailing record have turned the corner to sail into the Southern Ocean.
David Pescud, owner skipper of 54-foot KAZ reported from the sailboat. "We are excited about entering the Southern Ocean, the outlook doesn't look too bad, I mean it's never that nice, but the predictions look fine. We are comfortable on board, everything is going really well and KAZ is prepared," the 55 year-old dyslexic grandfather said.
Still on pace to break the Jeremy Pearce/Kanga Birtles 1999 record, Pescud and his six disabled cohorts, Phil Thompson, Kim Jaggar, Harald Mirlieb, Albert Lee, Allan Grundy and Brett Pearce, have already dragged out their thermal gear including the balaclavas in preparation for the iciest part of their journey so far.
KAZ was trucking along near Cape Leeuwin, the most south-westerly tip of Australia, off Western Australia, where the Indian and Southern Oceans meet. She has covered 4500 nautical miles of her 6500-mile odyssey, with an ETA at the Sydney finish line late on June 28 - well ahead of record pace.
Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse sits alone at its tip, a solitary sentinel. Totally manually operated until 1982 by a clockwork mechanism and kero burner, one of the last in the world, the lighthouse marks the turning point for KAZ as she sails across the Southern Ocean, the Great Australian Bight, her likely next sight of land Maatsuyker on Tasmania's southern tip.

Hog's Breath Race Week

That time of the year has come around again. Once again Hog's Race Week August 8-14 is coming together say race organisers.
The four main people in the organisation are Overseer and Sponsor representative, Race founder Don Algie. Whitsunday Sailing Club Commodore George Canfield. Once again Principle Race Officer is former Olympic official Tony Denham. New on the crew is Event Co-ordinator Andrew Palfrey.
"All names you know, except for Andrew (Dog) Palfrey," says Commodore Canfield. "Andrew is a professional yachting event co-ordinator. He has a wealth of experience, knowledge of the fleets, and the competitors who usually compete in this style of event. Dog in his spare time, (ha, ha), flits around the world sailing with Ian Murray, training for the Star Class Olympics in Athens."
"As we all know, a few people cannot run an event of this magnitude," adds Commodore Canfield. "So we are calling for our much needed and appreciated volunteers. This year we are having an external bar open after racing, so we even need staff for this"
"Last year was a very successful Hog's Breath Race Week and all we can do is to try to make it a little better each year. I ask you again to help if possible. There is a spot for everybody; start boats, boat crew, shore crew, general helpers. Please contact me as soon as possible, with any question, queries, and hopefully a commitment." Contact George Canfield 0439 922487 or the club on 4946 6138.

Reef zoning

" Hi Gang, This is the most important Email I will ever send you."
"The green area's proposed by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority in the Whitsunday area would wipe out all of the bill fishing grounds including the historic area north of Hayman Island and the new Blue Marlin grounds off the reef shelf.
"It is vitally important that we stop this and your assistance in submitting your views is VERY important. The G.B.R.M.P.A. wants to take the easy way out and will destroy the fishing industry in the process. Please Help. Please read the letter from Laurie Wright, president of the Cairns Professional Game Fishing Association of which I am a member. It's available from me at,

Captain Ken Bryant, Marlin Blue

Special ship

Ham radio operator Frank VK2ZL had an interesting CW contact recently when he had words with WW2-LST (Landing ship tank) crewmember in LST 325 now resting in a museum in Mobile, Alabama.
This tank landing craft saw action during the invasion of Normandy in WW2. A crew of dedicated volunteers sailed her back to the States recently from France. The average age of the volunteer crew was 80 years. Some feat. This craft is apparently given regular shake down cruises.

Group names?

Ever wonder what a group of a certain animal is called? Here are some suggested proper terms for naming a group of: Boar: A sounder of boars. Emus: A mob of emus. Ferret: A business of ferrets. Ravens: An unkindness of ravens. Jellyfish: A smack of jellyfish. Porpoise: A pod of porpoise. Sailor: A bar of sailors.

Boats for sale

Roads leading to Airlie Beach were lined with boats for sale during recent long weekend. Taking advantage of the Rotary Boat Show?

Langford light destroyed

Mariners are advised that the lighted South Cardinal Mark beacon Q(6) + LFl.15s in approximate position Latitude 20°05.7864'S, Longitude 148°52.65'E which marks the southern end of Langford Reef has been destroyed. Mariners should use caution in the vicinity. Charts affected: AUS 254, 825
NOTE: Your Waterfront writer went around to Langford and had a look at the yellow temporary replacement buoy. It is a lot lower than the destroyed light so it is not visible from the same distance, but you can see it from a couple of miles.

Fair winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan

Monday, June 16, 2003

Boat show success: See you next year
"A great place for a boat show" has proved to be true following the successful Whitsunday Rotary Boat Show on the weekend.
Near perfect weather and twice as much to see brought boating enthusiasts from all around the region to Airlie Beach.
The new floating pontoons at Abel Point marina were thronged with people gazing at the broad array of boats on show.
"How much is this yacht worth?" enquired an onlooker. "Four million dollars, but it's not for sale," said the proud owner.
One exhibiter with a large engineering stand said they would now class the Airlie Beach show as the second or third in the state and would be back next year.
Gleaming timber to exotic synthetics, it was all there. Can't wait to see the turnout next June.

Blessing of the Fleet
As part of the boat show the annual Blessing of the Fleet was celebrated on Sunday, Whit Sun, morning. Rev'd Fr Don Fernance of the Mission to Seafarers conducted the service in the beaming sunshine.
A Blessing of the Fleet is part of the activities of many seaside communities around the world. Here in Whitsunday, we celebrate Whit Sun Day and the naming of our area by James Cook in 1770.
"Father Keith Felgate was inspired to conduct an annual blessing of the fleet here in Whitsunday some years ago. Today as we conduct another blessing of the fleet our thoughts turn to Father Keith who, in his retirement is no doubt also thinking of us.
"Rev John Williams also contributed as an organiser and a sailor.
"Today we look out and see many boats on the water. Many activates related to this marvellous boat show. Importantly we see children who we wish to enjoy memorable and safe journeys on the water and through life."

Science 1 -V- poacher nil
Department of Primary Industries scientists have pioneered innovative molecular forensics techniques to help convict an Indonesian fisherman caught with dolphin remains in Queensland waters.
Customs officers found pieces of organs of a large animal aboard the fishing vessel and recruited the skills of the scientists to help identify the animal, according to DPI Animal and Plant Health Service executive director Dr Kevin Dunn.
"Mitochondrial DNA sequencing technology was developed in what is thought to be an Australian and potentially a world first use of this technology to convict a person charged with illegal fishing practices," he said.
Dr Jane Oakey, a DPI scientist based at the Oonoonba Veterinary Laboratory in Townsville, developed the technique in under three weeks when asked for assistance by the Commonwealth Department of Public Prosecutions.
According to Dr Oakey, the team developed the forensic method using genetic sequence data published on the Internet at the international gene database known as Genbank.
"The technique was validated with samples from other known marine species including tissue from a bottlenose dolphin, dugong, an estuarine crocodile tail and a green turtle," she said.
"When applied to the animal sample seized as evidence, the test results achieved a 99.3 percent accuracy to positively identify the samples seized as being of dolphin origin."
Faced with the forensic evidence, Ilham Sinon admitted to prior possession of the whole dolphin in Cairns Magistrates Court on May 14. Sinon was charged with an offence under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 for keeping part of a bottlenose dolphin.
Sinon was jailed for one month for this offence but will spend a total of nine months in prison for defaulting on fines totalling $13,600 imposed for illegal fishing.
Dr Dunn said this sort of DPI Smart Science is imperative to help protect Queensland's marine and wildlife resources for future generations.
"The application of this technology is enormous," he said, "It can be applied to any animal tissue dependent upon state of degradation."
Dr Dunn said that DPI Animal and Plant Health Service scientists have had a flood of enquiries from a number of law enforcement and wildlife agencies that need this technology.

Group names?
Ever wonder what a group of a certain animal is called? Here are the suggested proper terms for naming a group of: Boar: A sounder of boars. Emus: A mob of emus. Ferret: A business or fesnyng of ferrets. Ravens: An unkindness of ravens. Jellyfish: A smack of jellyfish. Porpoise: A pod of porpoises. Sailor: A bar of sailors.

Fog defined
According to international definition, fog occurs when visibility is 600 feet or less. Visibility in mist may extend up to 3,000 feet.

Scam uncovered
Many people receive unsolicited scam letters from Nigerian royalty asking your help in getting money out of that nation. You know, the letters that offer you a percentage if you are willing to help?
Well Amateur Radio NewsLine listener Bill Whitney, N7CD, passes along word of a similar hoax now running around world.
In a posting on the Internet, a reader warns to watch out for offers to buy your 'for sale' gear with a Bank / cashiers cheque from someone who claims they are owed money above and beyond the price of your sale and has a bank / cashiers cheque in that higher amount.
The person offers to send you the cheque if you will send back the difference. This, while he or she arranging for someone to pick up the equipment you want to sell.
You receive the bank / cashier's cheque. It looks real so you deposit it and send the purchaser the difference. Within days you are informed that the cheque is forged. You are not only stuck with the gear you were trying to sell but a big bill owed to a bank as well.
If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is. Caveat Emptor means buyers beware.

Boats for sale
Roads leading to Airlie Beach were lined with boats for sale during the weekend. Taking advantage of the Rotary Boat Show?

Langford Reef light destroyed
Mariners are advised that the lighted South Cardinal Mark beacon Q(6) + LFl.15s in approximate position Latitude 20°05.7864'S, Longitude 148°52.65'E which marks the southern end of Langford Reef has been destroyed.
Mariners should use caution in the vicinity. Charts affected: AUS 254, 825

Enter here . . .
"Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself."
Chinese Proverb

Fair winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

Let the sun shine for Rotary Boat Show!

Rotary Club of Airlie Beach members will be looking skywards and keeping a 'weather eye' out in the lead up to this weekend's second annual Whitsunday Boat Show.
The ambitious, and sold out, show will draw boating fanciers from the entire region to Abel Point Marina this Saturday and Sunday with gates open at 9 am.
This year's facility is twice the size of last year. It will be chockers with boat bits, interesting displays and personalities. Featured will be demonstrations on marine safety, mast rigging, engine fixing, tucker, fishing advice and tackle care. The Queensland Fire and Rescue Service and Queensland Ambulance will be on site and may rescue the damsels at the Fashion Parade if it's a hot day.
About 10,000 boating, sailing and fishing enthusiasts are expected from the coastal and hinterland regions of North and Central Queensland - from Townsville to Gladstone.
Scott Hillier, well known reporter and local Townsville fisherman, will be a key presenter on the main stage. Scott will be talking on the subject of "Catching the Big Red Fish" being favourite reef fish Coral Trout and Red Emperor.
Senator Ron Boswell, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Transport and Regional Services has kindly accepted Rotary's invitation to open the Boat Show. A great start to the Show and recognition of the event's growing importance in the region - in just two years the Show has become the third largest Boat Show in Queensland. Senator Boswell will open the Show on Saturday at midday.
The annual Blessing of the Fleet is held each year on Whit Sunday/ Pentecost Sunday. That special day falls this week. Rev'd Father Don Fernance of the Mission to Seafarers will conduct the Blessing of the Fleet from the Boat Show main stage at 10 am on Sunday.
For two days, boating enthusiasts will see a grand display of eighty-eight stands, featuring engines, sails, marine electronics, chandlery, boating and fishing accessories and scuba gear. All housed undercover in two giant Hoecker buildings surrounded by a large outdoor display of trailer boats and engines. Floating exhibits will grace the new marine berths.
Visitors will enjoy non-stop boating and fishing demonstrations, fashion parades, fine food, music and entertainment, all in the most laid back and appealing atmosphere of any boat show in Australia. Great door prizes and competitions will be won during the show. Information -
Airlie Beach -- What a great place for a Boat Show!

Repacking the Liferaft

The only time you want to see the inside of a liferaft is during the annual inspection at an authorized dealer.
When it comes to lifesaving equipment and the prospect of abandoning ship, no piece of gear has a stricken crew's immediate hopes pinned on it as much as the liferaft. Whether because of fire, collision with a floating object at sea, or being overwhelmed by the elements, the liferaft is expected to be an unfailing safety net in the event it is pressed into service.
Whether liferafts are permanently encased in a hard fibreglass case or packed in a soft fabric valise, their hidden nature renders them largely inaccessible to the probing minds of sailors. Many cruisers are capable of diagnosing electrical problems, fearless when it comes to valve adjustments or injector extraction, and gung-ho about any number of other maintenance feats that cruising requires, but when it comes to liferafts and servicing them, this is the terrain of authorized personnel only.
The liferaft is a Pandora's box of sorts, offering equal parts hope and terror. You hope it will work when you need it, but also know getting into it means confronting a worst-case scenario.
There is the tendency to consider bypassing the liferaft inspection based on budget constraints, half-founded ideas about safety margins, dealing with the host of competing chores a boat demands, and the propensity to think optimistically that you won't ever have to use it.
Think again. The life you save might be your own.

'Grab the rod!

Heaps of boats and fishing tackle were on display at the recent Sanctuary Cove Boat Show but there was only one talking fishing rod holder.
The Campocatcher basic model flashes lights and buzzes when a fish bites and the more expensive model does all this and also says 'Grab the rod, the rod, grab the rod, the rod,' and then yells 'GRAB THE ROD'.
The rod holder is made from stainless steel, it's adjustable, has an independent bait light and a multi-functional base for securing in rocks, sand or a boat's rod holder.
Designed in Queensland, it has already won an award in China for ice fishing.

Boats as business

The Boating Industry Association of Queensland reports some statistics that provide food for thought. They say there are more than 172,500 Queensland boat registrations and that Queensland's marine industry employs 6,500 people with an annual turnover of $1.2 billion.

Whales at Sydney

Sea gazers down Sydney way report the annual migration of whales has started with numerous sightings of humpbacks swimming up the NSW coast.

Old time feeling

"Nostalgia isn't what it used to be."

David Anderson, ABC Radio Capricornia

Fair winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan