Saturday, December 19, 2009

Plastiki on voyage to Great Barrier Reef

Unique message in a bottle


We have all heard of a ship in a bottle, but what about a ship made of bottles.

In the future, we could sail the seas in a yacht made entirely of recycled plastic bottles.

 This is exactly what environmental storyteller David de Rothschild and his intrepid crew of scientists, sailors and adventurers are doing on the Plastiki, an ocean going one-of-a-kind 60-foot catamaran on a mission to beat waste.

Following the launch in California, Plastiki will sail across the Pacific to Australia.

It is hoped that the plastic fantastic will provide support for another awareness-rasing event, The Great Barrier Reef Swim, a record-breaking ultra-marathon ocean swim of 2300 kilometres calling attention to ocean conservation and awareness.

Two open water swimmers Rob Hutchings and Todd Cameron plan to embark on the world's first swim of the entire length of Australia's Great Barrier Reef in 2010.


Sea Trail tracks open


From this week rangers welcome visitors to explore the new walking tracks constructed on Hook, Whitsunday and South Molle Islands as part of the new Whitsunday Ngaro Sea Trail. An official launch in 2010 will complete the two-year project, which has seen the investment of more than $1 million into our islands walking tracks. Information about the walks can be found online at or collect a visitor guide from QPWS Airlie Beach.


Lucky, Not Lonely!


"For the first time in over two weeks I saw something man made other than Ella's Pink Lady. It was a small white piece of plastic that floated by this morning while we were becalmed for a short while. Not all that exciting, but it made me think about just how completely in the middle of nowhere I really am and about how every mile is taking us further into a pretty much empty stretch of ocean" writes teenage sailor Jessica Watson.

Jessica's position is East of New Zealand and SW of Pitcairn island heading across the south Pacific to Cape Horn and after sixty days at sea she has sailed over 6,000 miles on her voyage around the world.


There be monsters


Monsters are found in Queensland, Minister for Primary Industries, Fisheries and Rural and Regional Queensland Tim Mulherin said this week.

Those keen fishers who want to land a metre long monster barramundi should be dropping a line in one of Queensland dams.

"The easiest way to catch one of these monster barramundi is by fishing in one of the State's dams," the Minister said.

"Stocked barramundi in Queensland reach the golden length of one metre in five years compared with 10 years for wild fish.

"To reach the legal minimum size of 58cm* stocked fish take just two years as opposed to four years for wild caught barra.

A recent study found barramundi released into freshwater dams reached the 'magic metre' twice as quickly as wild barramundi.

Mr Mulherin said the study used data from more than 120,000 tagged fish.

"The study was developed with the help of anglers through fish tag collection and monitoring research conducted since 1987," Mr Mulherin said.


Make my day


"I don't believe in pessimism. If something doesn't come up the way you want, forge ahead. If you think it's going to rain, it will,"  - Clint Eastwood


Fair winds to Ye!


Cap'n Dan

Monday, December 14, 2009

The World comes to Airlie Beach

The World comes to Airlie Beach


Arriving in Airlie Beach this Sunday, The World is a cruise ship serving as a residential community owned by its residents. The residents, from about 40 different countries, live on board as the ship slowly circumnavigates the globe. Some residents live onboard full time while others visit their floating home periodically throughout the year.

The World flies a Bahamas flag and has a gross tonnage of 43,524 tons. The vessel is 644 feet (196m) long, 98 feet (30m) wide, and has a 22-foot (6.7m) draft, 12 decks, and a maximum speed of 18.5 knots (34.3 km/h). The crew numbers 250.

The ship has 165 residential units (106 apartments, 19 studio apartments, and 40 studios), all owned by the ship's residents. The ship carries between 100 and 300 residents and their guests.

The World was the idea of Knut U. Kloster Jr., whose family had a long history in the cruise ship industry. The ship was built in Rissa, Norway and launched in March 2002.

In October 2003, the residents of the vessel purchased The World. ResidenSea in Miramar, Florida, remained the management company responsible for operations and administration of the ship. The residents, through their elected board of directors and a network of committees, provide guidance to the management about the ship's itinerary, finances and lifestyle.


2011 Around Australia


The 2011 'Around Australia Ocean Race and Ocean Rally' feature a multi-stop anti-clockwise circumnavigation of Australia's coastline. At last count this week, 211 yachts have taken up Race or Rally.

"Australia is the only country in the world that has a continuous coastline you can freely sail around. From the tropical north to the rigours of the southern ocean, it has a magnificent coastline. Rather than dreaming about it, sailors can now do it in an organised event." Bob Williams, CEO of Ocean Events said.

The Race will take a yacht capable of averaging 130 NM per 24-hours at sea around 110 days to complete the circumnavigation including stopovers.

The Rally is for the experienced ocean going cruising yacht owner and is based around the considered 'prime times' to be circumnavigating Australia. There are many excellent Rally events that take place around the Australia coastline and where practical the 'Around Australia Ocean Rally' will incorporate many of these excellent rallies.

Participants can select where on the Coastline of Australia they start and finish in The Race or Rally.


The Reef


A controversial $3.5 million Australian-made film, 'The Reef' tells the story five young travellers who are sailing in tropical waters when their yacht sinks, stranding them in open ocean to be harassed by a Great White shark, a species seldom seen on the Great Barrier Reef.

The Association of Marine Park Operators is worried the film would turn off foreign visitors who could not distinguish fact from fiction.

Shark attacks are not the reef experience most tourists seek; indeed the shark footage had to be filmed in South Australia, as there aren't any up here.

Producer of 'The Reef' Michael Robertson says, "I think in most cases people that go to watch these films understand that the horror genre is part of fantastic cinema and the aim of these films is to scare an audience."

And hey, even after 35 years many still hum the theme of 'Jaws' when someone is entering the water.

The Reef is set for release in late 2010.


Navigation hazard


Mariners are advised that a steel pile is located in Shute Bay at position latitude 20° 17.524' S, longitude 148° 46.903' E and a timber pile is located in position latitude 20° 17.498' S, longitude 148° 46.898' E on the northern shoreline of Shute Bay. These piles could be covered at high tide and should be considered hazards to navigation at those times. Mariners should navigate with caution when operating in the vicinity. AUS charts 252 & 253


That's life


"Living is strife and torment, disappointment and love and sacrifice, golden sunsets and black storms," observed actor Sir Laurence Olivier


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan



Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Island Arks meet first for Whitsunday Island

Island Arks meet first for Whitsunday Island


A symposium discovering and informing sustainable use of island ecosystems will be conducted on Daydream Island December 7 - 11.

Organiser Derek Ball, Operations Manager of Biodiversity Coasts and Marine for Reef Catchments said, "It is surprising that there has never been a conference of this type before in Australia. We are expecting that the symposia topics and location will attract major interest from around Australia and the South Pacific.

The island destination will attract scientists, island managers, ecotourism operators, students and others with a direct and indirect interest in island sustainability and management to identify, discuss and resolve management challenges; identifying pathways for long-term conservation of island ecosystems including sustainable use.

"The sustainable use of island ecosystems requires strong inter-disciplinary knowledge bases including terrestrial and marine ecology, coastal engineering, fire ecology, invasive species management, waste management, communication and marketing, and environmental economics."

"The symposium aims to bring together practitioners in these disciplines," Mr Ball added.


Hugh Williams Day


On December 5, 1664, a ship sank in the Menai Strait off the coast of Wales. Of its 81 passengers, the sole survivor was a lucky fellow named Hugh Williams.

On December 5, 1785, 121 years later, another ship sank in the Menai Strait. All 60 souls aboard perished… except one. His name was Hugh Williams.

On December August 5, 1820, 35 years later, yet another ship, a small 25-passenger vessel, sank in the Menai Strait. Once again, there was only one survivor. Once again, his name was Hugh Williams.

"So if you're ever going sailing in Wales on December 5, I won't be offended if you forget to invite me," says the modern day Hugh Williams who stays away from the sea.

"There are many versions of this story in circulation that have all three events taking place on December 5; I only recently found the source material that dates the third event in August, not December" Mr Williams added.


Spitfire Rock


Mariners are advised that the west cardinal mark beacon Q(9)15s in approximate position latitude 20° 28.59' S, longitude 149° 01.7' E which marks Spitfire Rock in Kennedy Sound has been reported to be unlit. Mariners are advised to use caution in the vicinity. AUS charts 252, 254, and 824


Important as anything


"When people talk about all the things needed to sail around the world they never seem to mention patience, but I'm fast learning that it's as important as anything." Teenage sailing adventurer Jessica Watson


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan