Monday, February 23, 2009

Average people make a huge difference for our environment

Average people make a huge difference for our environment
In 1989, an 'average Australian bloke' had a simple idea to make a difference in his own backyard - Sydney Harbour. This simple idea has now become the Australia's largest community-based environmental event, Clean Up Australia Day.
It is hard to believe that this campaign began twenty years ago as the inspiration of one man, Australian yachtsman, Ian Kiernan.
As he sailed through the oceans of the world in his yacht 'Spirit of Sydney', he was shocked and disgusted by the pollution and rubbish that he continually encountered in areas such as the remote Sargasso Sea. The polluted state of the world's oceans motivated Ian to act.
Clean Up Sydney Harbour Day in January 1989 received an enormous public response with more than 40,000 Sydneysiders donating their time and energy to clean up the harbour.
In Whitsunday, Libby Edge is the driving force behind Eco Barge Services, a local marine clean up operation to work amid our Whitsunday Islands and their foreshores.
Libby first got the idea to clean the islands when she saw that marine debris was a constant and ever increasing problem on our local islands and marine life and wanted to take action herself.
"Eco Barge is planning to run trips out to the islands to remove plastics and rubbish from the beaches and inlets," Libby told Waterfront this week.
"Eco Barge will be taking volunteers to help with the removal of debris and is looking for help with the clean up operation," Libby added.
Libby has already teamed up with Reef Catchments and O.U.C.H. Volunteers; Jan Jarratt has chipped in and the Whitsunday Local Marine Advisory Committee is encouraging support for the Clean up Australia day event on March 1 and the Clean up business day on February 24.
Eco Barge Services is seeking help to the clean up Whitsunday. Contact Libby Edge at
VMR Whitsunday logbook
VMR has had towing, police and medivac jobs and assisted boaties with varied difficulties.
On February 3, VMR1 was tasked by Queensland Ambulance Service to carry out a medivac from Long Island for a young woman with a suspected Irukandji jellyfish sting. The patient was stabilized by a Paramedic and transported to an ambulance waiting at Abel Point. VMR Media and Public Relations Officer Malcolm Priday, commented that this was probably "Not a good way to start a honeymoon" for the young woman and her partner.
Island Park news
Construction is underway at South Whitehaven Beach to upgrade the visitor facilities including a new day-use area installed with seating. A new toilet system for day visitors and campers is to be installed.
South Molle Island; Following an upgrade to the waste management system in 2008, work will start on the Sandy Bay campground (weather permitting). The area will be closed to camping and visitors are encouraged to use nearby Paddle Bay, South Molle Island, North Molle, Planton and Denman islands camping areas during this time.
Notices to mariners
Shute Harbour - Rooper Inlet lighted starboard lateral No.3 buoy Fl.G 2.5s in the Shute Harbour south entrance channel, is off station. Mariners should use caution in the vicinity. AUS charts affected 252, 253, and 824
Military Live firing and flares. The Army School of Transport - Maritime Wing will be conducting live firing and a flare shoot from 0730 to 1400 hours on Saturday March 14. The active area is within a five (5) nautical mile radius of Rattlesnake Island, Mariners are warned to keep well clear of this area throughout the above times. AUS charts 256, 371 and 827
A brave man
"Noah was a brave man to sail in a wooden boat with two termites."
Fair winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan

Monday, February 16, 2009

Boating and fishing lifestyle resists downturn

Boating and fishing lifestyle resists downturn


Boating is part of the Australian lifestyle. Unlike other recreational pursuits, such as golf, boating is a family affair. Boaters can float away from onshore worries for a weekend and spend time with the ones they love. The lure of wetting a line in a few spots with friends and anchoring for the night in a secluded cove is still an affordable lifestyle option.

The Miami International Boat Show opens this week and is focusing on family activities such as the Discover Boating Center staffed by experts who can answer your questions to help you become a boater.

Exhibitors will showcase wellness at Dubai International Boat Show taking place in March at the Dubai International Marine Club,

'The ultimate frontier of wellness; a yacht with a gym onboard" says Christian Dietrich, Managing Director, Technogym Emirates,

The need for relief is what keeps Frank Herhold, Marine Industries Association of South Florida executive director, optimistic despite the economy.

''People still want to relax,'' he said.

So, while the economic downturn may be affecting new boat sales, boaters can still enjoy the sizzle of boat and fishing shows and the best in this part of Australia is the Oceanic Whitsunday Boat & Leisure Show on June 6 and 7 sponsored by Rotary Club of Airlie Beach.


Dam Sydharbs


In Australia the size of many bodies of water are referenced back to the size of Sydney Harbour, that is a body of water x is y times the size of the Sydney Harbour.

So the sydharb is an Australian unit of volume for water. One sydharb is the amount of water in Sydney Harbour: approximately 500 gigalitres.

Geologically, Sydney Harbour/Port Jackson is a drowned river valley, or ria. It is 19 km long with an area of 55 km². The estuary's volume at high tide is over 500,000 megalitres.

Peter Faust Dam is an earth and rockfill embankment 50 metres high, on the Proserpine River and when full, covers 4350 ha with a capacity of 500,000 ml (one sydharb). The Dam was constructed for irrigation, flood mitigation and town water supply. It is situated 26 km inland from Proserpine and construction was completed December 1990, just before the big wet of 1991. Although anticipated to take 10 years to fill, the Dam was at 98% after this first wet season.

It has significantly reduced the frequency and severity of floods in the Proserpine River.

The Bureau of Meteorology operates a flood warning system for the Proserpine River catchment.

Australia uses 25,000 gigalitres of water per annum - which is equivalent to 50 Sydney Harbours.


Sunken vessel


Mariners are advised that there is a sunken sailing vessel about 400 metres in an easterly direction from Abel Point in Boat Haven (Muddy) Bay. A lighted yellow special mark buoy Fl.Y.3s has been temporarily established to mark the position.

Mariners are advised to use caution when in the vicinity. AUS charts: 252, 253 & 268


Oar what?


"A straight oar looks bent in the water. What matters is not merely that we see things but how we see them" Michel de Montaigne


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan



Monday, February 09, 2009

Cyclone shipwreck discovered at bridgework site

Cyclone shipwreck discovered at bridgework site
Bridge builders on the Pioneer River this week discovered the remains of the wooden steamship Brinawarr while working on the new Forgan Bridge.
Construction work has halted until the wreck, sunk in the 1918 cyclone is investigated.
Main Roads acting regional director Ian Husband says that as required by heritage legislation, the Environmental Protection Agency has asked Main Roads to suspend all work until a marine archaeologist has investigated the wreck.
Mr Husband says he is hoping work will resume before the end of the week.
"Under the legislation we're required to stop work," he said.
"We've done that and we're arranging for these marine archaeologists to come and examine the site, and we're hopeful that by the end of this week we'll be in a position to recommence work on the bridge.
So far, a number of artefacts have been salvaged, including a compass and a number of ornate brass dragon figurines. The propeller was salvage years ago and is in the Mackay museum.
The Brinawarr is of an age to be an historic shipwreck. A wooden ship, Brinawarr was a 91-foot steam powered vessel of 119 gross tons, built in 1890 by J Hawken Snr, of Coolangatta, at Shoalhaven, New South Wales.
October 1893 Brinawarr was acquired by the Adelaide Steamship Co and employed as a tender on the Pioneer River, Mackay.
During the January 1918 cyclone the "Brinawarr" struck the bridge and badly damaged, she sank. Captain Hone, his son and the cook were on board. The three managed to scramble on to the bridge.
Brinawarr is an Aboriginal word for 'Place of water lilies'
Parks news
Visitors can expect minor disruption during final work to the Nara Inlet walking track and viewing platform, including restricted access at times to allow for safe heli-lift operations.
Work to upgrade sections of walking tracks on South Molle Island will continue until March 2009. During this time some track closures will occur as machinery, plant and equipment are in use. Access to the Spion Kop track will be restricted from 9 February 2009.
The Whitsunday Great Walk is currently closed due to flooding, and will be closed to visitors during annual maintenance from 2 February to 31 March 2009. Day visitors can still enjoy two short walks, the Kingfisher Circuit and Honeyeater Track (weather permitting).
The amended Plans of Management for the Whitsundays and Cairns Areas are now in effect, and a number of changes have been made to opportunities for tourism operators. For further information please contact the GBRMPA on 07 4750 0700 or visit under
Hazard reported
Mariners are advised that a danger to navigation, similar in appearance to a vertical floating pylon, has been reported about 2.5 nautical miles south of Shaw Island in the Lindeman Group. The hazard is reported to be floating about one (1) metre out of the water.
The danger has similarities to the lost vertical floating 9-metre pylon sighted off Grasstree Beach, near Sarina Inlet and reported on September 18.
Mariners are advised to navigate this area with caution. Chart AUS 252
Not afraid of storms
"I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship."
 Louisa May Alcott American Author, 1832-1888
Fair winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Aussie sailor's record breaking ocean quest

Aussie sailor's record breaking ocean quest
Aussie sailor Jessica Watson has just completed a 13-day, 1,300 nautical mile passage from Mooloolaba, Queensland to Whangarei New Zealand.
Not much surprising about that, even though this was Jessica's first trip as skipper on an ocean voyage, she has crewed on several other passages.
Jessica has been sailing since she was eight years old so sailing a 10-metre yacht across the Tasman with two other crew onboard doesn't sound special until you find that one reason is that Jessica is too young to have a boat licence.
Indeed this voyage is preparing 15-year-old Jessica for her quest, to become the youngest person to sail solo non-stop and unassisted around the World.
Imagine sailing 22,000 nautical miles, circumnavigating the globe, alone, unassisted and non-stop.
Inspired by Kay Cottee, the first woman to sail solo non-stop unassisted around the world and by Jesse Martin, the youngest person to do so, Jessica Watson has set her sights on shattering Jesse's record. In the process, Jessica hopes to inspire young sailors, adventurers and everyone with a dream in their heart.
Jesse Martin was 18 years when he returned to Melbourne to claim the current record for youngest solo, non-stop unassisted circumnavigation in 1999. 
Jessica aims to depart shortly after her 16th birthday in May this year, giving her plenty of time to return home safely to Mooloolaba and make history. 
While Martin took 327 days and Cottee took 189 days, Jessica is expecting to back within 210 days (7 months).
Two records Jessica could break are in the process of being set right now.
Seventeen-year-old Zac Sunderland is making his leisurely way around the world, and has only to cross the Atlantic, transit the Panama, and sail to San Diego to be the youngest sailor to sail round the world.
However, sixteen-year-old (108 days younger) Michael Perham has just left the Canary Islands and is heading for the Cape of Good Hope in a much faster racing boat, attempting to sail Non-Stop and Unassisted round the world. If he reaches the Canary Islands again any time less than 108 days after Zac reaches San Diego, then he will be beat Zac's potential record, and the Non-Stop and Unassisted criteria.
Jessica will have to beat both to be the 'youngest around', but it would not prevent her from being 'youngest woman around'.
Solar storms study
A new study from the National Academy of Sciences outlines dire consequences on Earth for a worst-case scenario giant solar storm. Scientists involved in the study say that damage to power grids and other communications systems could be catastrophic. All types of radio communications could be affected.
Solar activity is expected to rise sharply in coming years and what is known as severe space weather will ramp up a year or two before the peak in 2012. Once the Solar storm hits Earth it can disrupt power distribution grids, cause blackouts, and downgrade both terrestrial wire-line and satellite to ground communications.
Royal yacht sale
Once used by the Queen, Prince Phillip, Prince Charles and Princess Anne the former royal yacht Bloodhound is up for sale.
The 63-foot fully restored 'Bloodhound' is no ordinary yacht. She is one of the few authentic classic 1930s racing yachts left. Her uniqueness and attraction lie in the fact she was one of the most successful racing yachts ever built, becoming the Queen and Prince Phillip's personal yacht during the 1960's.
Built in 1936, she was one of three yachts designed and built by Camper & Nicholson to the twelve-metre class.
This yacht not only has great provenance, she is also capable of establishing herself as the yacht to beat on the classic circuit.
"In a sense, these boats are irreplaceable and part of living history," current owner Cindy McGrail said.
Run down?
Offshore sailors worry about being run down by ships. The danger is less now than anytime in recent memory partly because of new technology, but much of it because of economics. There's just not as much shipping as there used to be. With oil having dropped over $100 a barrel, some 50 mega-tankers around the world are being used solely for storage, as on-shore storage is nearing capacity.
With world trade dropping, international shipping has plunged. Perhaps the best indicator is that for the first time in many years the cost has dropped significantly. The cost of shipping a 40-foot container from Hong Kong to Rotterdam has dropped from $2,700 last year, as low as $200 this year. What's more, many ships are now operated at lower speeds to save money on fuel. I guess that's what is meant by the economy slowing down.
Hamo light back on
Mariners are advised that the Q.R light on the port lateral mark No. 2 beacon marking the entrance channel into Hamilton Island Marina has been restored to normal. Chart AUS254
Haul up yer anchor!
"I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving: To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it, but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor"
 Oliver Wendell Holmes, Writer, humorist and Professor at Harvard, 1809-1894
Fair winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan