Friday, June 01, 2007

Marine stinger funding cut leaves public at risk

Lisa Gershwin studies jellyfish. She is the world's only dedicated jellyfish taxonomist and has named over 150 jellyfish. Lisa's work concentrates on the box jellyfish and Irukandji.
Best known to the public as the Marine Stinger Coordinator for Surf Life Saving Queensland, Lisa is a bona fide member of the George and Ira Gershwin family and if you pardon the obvious, George Gershwin’s ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ springs to mind when one learns that Lisa is out of a job this week.
Lisa has been high profile and worked locally with our Marine Stinger Committee who won an award from Surf Lifesaving this week. Additionally, she has assisted organisers of the YEA! Youth Environment Awards at the PCYC. Nationally and internationally, she has graced Robyn Williams’ ‘The Science Show’ on ABC Radio National and ‘Quirks and Quarks’ on CBC in Canada.
Talking to Lisa this week, she thanked the Whitsunday Shire Council especially Mayor Demartini and Councillor Jack Lumby for their support in regaining funding for her work; work that has seen public awareness raise while jellyfish stings have fallen.
“The work by Whitsunday Shire in support of stinger safety has been just fabulous,” Dr Lisa told Waterfront.
“They have worked tirelessly for the safety of all in North Queensland. I get a bit emotional but it isn’t about me really, it’s about whether little kids survive, its about tourists and moms and dads being safe.”
Whitsunday Shire Council has been a leader in trying to regain funding for Lisa’s work and are currently attempting to interest the State government.
The Irukandji jellyfish are named because of the condition, Irukandji syndrome, which results from their sting. Irukandji syndrome includes lower back pain, nausea and vomiting, cramps, sweating, muscular restlessness, and a feeling of doom. There's no mark left from the sting and there is nothing to test for. Death is usually the result of a stroke.
Simply wearing a protective suit could save a life.

Give thanks for Blessing

A big Thank You to Reverend Terry Ayling and his Dad Peter for their work developing the Festival of the Wind in support of our 18th Blessing of the Fleet on Sunday.
At the sailing club, the ever-helpful Jim Hayes and his sailors, young and still young, were wonderful. Those young sailors displaying boat-handling skills in their small boats are always an inspiration, even to old-err seadogs.
The Citizens band and the Proserpine High School band were excellent. The Lions marquee on the front lawn of the club was perfect for those gathering in His name to give special thanks, recognition and prayers to those who work and serve on the sea, those of the Navy, merchant service, and the Water Police and rescue services who do a dangerous job to benefit all.

Dent to Dunk

“The 2007 Dent to Dunk Race was sailed in wet and windy conditions. Six yachts faced the starter and only five finished the race,” reports John Graham from Port Hinchinbrook at Cardwell
Spud Gun, a catamaran owned by Peter Millar of Airlie Beach, took line honours in a time of 22 hours 45 minutes to average just over 10 knots over the 228 nautical mile downwind course. Mummbo, a Mumm 36 sailed by Chris Smith of Townsville, was the first monohull to finish two hours 44 minutes behind SPUD GUN.
The Dent to Dunk Rally had a fleet of 40 yachts that anchored each night on the way up.
The forecast 25 to 30 knot southeasterly soon developed with rain squalls reaching a reported 40 knots.

Film fight for Pirates

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End set a new US Memorial Day weekend box office record. Pirates brought in $142 million Friday through Monday, but fell short of breaking the best Friday-Sunday opening ever, the $151 million made by Spider-Man 3 a few weeks ago.

Master Mariners Regatta

More than 80 craft ranging in size from the 23-foot Bear Class sloops to the 122-foot topsail schooner Lynx set sail at the weekend to contribute to a spectacle on San Francisco Bay – the annual Master Mariners Regatta.
Many entries date back to the early 1900s and at least one - the veteran scow schooner Alma - to the 1800s. Back then, indeed since 1867 the Master Mariners was raced in commercial sailing ships, and the object was to raise money to care for retired sailors and the families of those lost at sea.
In those days, winners didn't get trophies. They got useful things like a cord of wood or a ton of potatoes. The potato tradition continues today in perhaps the oddest wrinkle you will ever read in any sailing instructions: If one of the big schooners can't quite make it around a mark, it will count as a rounding if they can hit the mark with a thrown potato. (Hmmm, maybe they should try that at the America's Cup.)

Old gaffers

Historic gaff cutter Jenny Wren, launched in the 1890s and probably the oldest yacht in Australia still racing (albeit occasionally), won her division of the Sydney Harbour Bridge 75th Anniversary Regatta.
The 28-foot gaff-rigged cutter that features a bowsprit almost half her overall length was one of more than 40 classic wooden yachts that added their tribute to the Bridge's birthday.

Gipsy Moth IV home

Gipsy Moth IV returned to Plymouth this week after completing her second global voyage, this time sailed by young people. She returned to the city exactly 40 years to the day since Chichester sailed into Plymouth Sound after completing his record-breaking circumnavigation in 1967.
The Gipsy Moth IV Project has provided nearly 90 deserving young people with the opportunity of a lifetime - of challenge, adventure and achievement. The famous vessel has visited 20 countries around the world and generated a following of thousands via the project’s website and educational resource packages distributed to UK schools.
Following the global voyage, Gipsy Moth IV will join UKSA’s fleet of yachts in Cowes and continue to take young people on adventurous sailing experiences.

For my roses

“Some people grumble because roses have thorns; I am thankful that the thorns have roses”

Fair winds to Ye!

Cap’n Dan