Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Luxury cruise ship visits Whitsunday islands


Luxury cruise ship visits Whitsunday islands


Visiting Hamilton Island on Friday this week will be the six-star luxury ship Silver Whisper on an 18-day sailing Sydney to Singapore.

The ultra luxury all-suite ship features diversions such as historian and writer Professor Geoffrey Blainey whose lecture topics focus on Australia's geography, legends, history, heroes and current culture.

For the Art Aficionado Opera director Thomson Smillie will tell a most entertaining story of opera and through its exclusive partnership with Relais & Châteaux, ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises is introducing L'École des Chefs, a new interactive cooking school.

With almost 300 crew and 382 guests, Silver Whisper takes luxury to the next level while maintaining Silversea's trademark intimate ambience.

Passengers will visit Hamilton Island and the Great Barrier Reef during their stay.


Fishing event


This weekend the Whitsunday Game Fishing Club will hold its annual Sweeties & Squires Tournament. There will be the usual get together at the clubhouse on Friday evening to talk about the fish they will catch and a weigh-in and presentations for the ones that didn't get away on Sunday.


Get ready


With the first low of the season possibly developing off the north Queensland coast, it is a good time for boaties to get into gear and ensure they have a cyclone plan. Some good advice is available from the Meridien Abel Point Marina with their cyclone procedures available on the website.


Mooring checks


QPWS rangers will be undertaking mooring maintenance throughout the Whitsundays. The assistance of boaties in keeping mooring areas safe for scuba diving during this period is appreciated.


Park Guide out


A new edition of the parks visitor Whitsunday islands and Ngaro Sea Trail Visitor Guide with updated information on day-use, camping and walking track facilities has been produced. Copies are available from QPWS office, corner of Mandalay and Shute Harbour Roads, Jubilee Pocket.


Kon Tiki Knut dies


Knut M. Haugland the last surviving member of the crew that crossed the Pacific Ocean in 1947 on board the balsa wood raft Kon Tiki has died at age 92.

Haugland was a former Norwegian resistance fighter and explorer who was honoured with Norway's highest decoration for military gallantry, the War Cross with sword. Similar honours  were also bestowed upon him by Great Britain and France. 

He joined the Kon Tiki ocean going raft expedition of Norwegian anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl, as one of its radio operators. The Kon-Tiki eventually sailed / drifted 4,900 miles from Peru to Polynesia in 101 days to prove Heyerdahl's theory that ancient mariners may have migrated across ocean stretches.

Despite the tiny radio with an output of only six watts, they managed to contact radio operators in Norway, even sending a telegram to congratulate King Haakon VII on his 75th birthday.


Bird Island light


Mariners are advised that the south cardinal mark beacon Q(6) + L Fl 15s about 0.5 nautical miles south-east of Bird Island. Langford Reef in the Whitsunday Group has been reported to be unlit. The light beacon has been repositioned south-eastwards to 20 05.790 S - 148 52.590 E, Mariners should use caution in the vicinity. AUS charts affected: 252 & 254


Travel is a passion


"For us, travel is a passion, and every one of our journeys is a voyage of discovery. Benvenuti a Bordo." Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio, Chairman, Silversea Cruises


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Centaur discovery an emotional experience

Lest We Forget: Centaur 1943


The discovery and positive identification of the Australian Hospital ship 'Centaur' torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in 1943 has been an emotional experience for many and not least for Whitsunday resident Ian Hudson.

Pictures of the sunken ship, its Red Cross still visible, has stirred plenty of emotion.

The Centaur Association's Queensland president, Ian Hudson this week told The Guardian exclusivly, "An extremely emotional day yesterday – I got the first pics at 0750."

"Devastation" and a "mangled mess" were used yesterday to describe Centaur, particularly the aft section of the ship, which is split from the forward section, just behind the main superstructure, and where, on first indication yesterday, was probably where the torpedo struck, rather than further forward as first thought."

"But more pictures in the next two days will reveal much, much more.

"Getting towards the finale, apart from the on and off shore memorial services, of what was Queensland's biggest maritime disaster, and I am suitably humbled for the experience, when I read and see the expressions and heartfelt thanks from relatives and descendants for the eventual finding of Centaur."

"There was one woman who said 'Finally, I know where the gold ring I gave my husband is'. If that doesn't bring a tear to the eye, I don't know what will," Mr Hudson said.

The Centaur was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine off the Queensland coast in 1943. Just 64 of the 332 people onboard survived.

The wreckage lay undiscovered for 67 years until world-renowned shipwreck hunter David Mearns located the Centaur on December 20, 48km east of the southern tip of Moreton Island at a depth of 2,059 metres.

On Sunday, his crew aboard the 'Seahorse Spirit' sent a submarine robot down to capture footage proving beyond doubt that this is her resting place.

Artefacts identified include the Centaur's inscribed bell, a distinctive star on the bow, and a corroded identification number, the Red Cross.

After completing a third mission down to the wreck on Monday, Mr Mearns said a test had shown the memorial plaque would quickly be covered with mud if it were placed on the seabed.

He said he had written to Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett on Monday morning seeking permission to lay the plaque directly on the wreck, which is protected under the Commonwealth's Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976.

"Just shows you that Peter Garrett can make a decision – within 2  hours of our application to place the plaque ON THE SHIP, (probably on or near the bow,) we got it…………It will be placed tonight or tomorrow." Mr Hudson told The Guardian.

The memorial plaque reads: "In memory of shipmates, relatives, colleagues & friends who paid the supreme sacrifice on a mission of mercy, 14 May 1943. 2/3 AHS Centaur Association 2010, Lest We Forget."


Pioneer River light


Mariners are advised that a port lateral mark No.12 light Fl.R 2.5s has been permanently established in the position of latitude 21°08.644'S, longitude 149°09.254'E in the Pioneer River. The light marks the end of a fishing platform. AUS charts affected: Outside pilotage area


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan



Jellyfish potential aphrodisiac?

Irukandji jellyfish love you long time


It's strongly recommended you don't try this at home, but a jellyfish expert says there's potential for the deadly irukandji to be an aphrodisiac.

Director of the Australian Marine Stinger Advisory service Dr Lisa Gershwin says some male victims have prolonged erections after being stung.

She says funding for research has been limited, but the side effects could justify further study.

"I strongly recommend against using an irukandji to prepare for a date," she says.

"I don't think that is appropriate please but I do think that the research should be there to isolate that particular component that's causing that particular reaction."

A great subject for funding?


Monday, January 11, 2010

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Soggy Santa
A few years ago now, Santa arrived at the Whitsunday Sailing Club for the offbeach kids break-up party and created quite a splash.
Santa made a great entrance into the boat harbour aboard the club speedboat, pulled up to the beach with his bag of goodies on his shoulder and Ho! Ho! Ho!-in for all he was worth.
Perhaps the boat nudged the beach. Perhaps the gunwale rail was slippery with spray from the hight speed manoeuvres. Perhaps he had a small libation to steady the nerves before fronting a hoard of cheeky sailor kids.
Betwixt the boat and the beach there is the sea, yes, the soggy Santa slipped into the drink much to the merriment of all.
Nobody seems to remember who that Santa was although the occasion will not leave the memory.
Croc in marina
OK, we do have salt-water crocodiles and it is only a matter of time before a photo of the croc in Abel Point Marina is taken say marina workers.
Although Australia continues to have a bad reputation concerning the threat of shark attacks to swimmers, the statistics do not support these claims. In the last 50 years, there have been 53 human fatalities (1.06 per year) in Australian waters from shark attack. Some years there are no fatalities recorded, other years there have been up to three in a year, but the average remains around one per year. Yet each year 100,000s of swimmer-days take place on our beaches, harbours and rivers and the number is increasing with both increasing population and tourism.
The Australian Shark Attack File is coordinated at Taronga Zoo and is associated with the International Shark Attack File managed by the American Elasmobranch Society.
A winner
From a dusty shed on a cane farm in Calen to TV studios, fame, and the glitz and glamour of Sydney, Colin Chamberlain has been on a wild ride of late.
He has invented a boat propeller that won't sever limbs or cause injury to marine life, something modern day propellers fail to achieve.
The invention not only sounds good but also after winning the best invention gong on ABC TV show - The New Inventors, the patented idea could potentially make the former Calen resident a multi-millionaire.
Brampton Island sold
A private investor has brought the Brampton Island resort for $5.9 million.
Australia's biggest property trust the GPT Group announced the sale this week, with settlement expected to be finalised in February.
GPT chief executive Michael Cameron says the sale reflects a shift from the volatile tourism sector and a refocussing on retail, office and industrial properties.
Brampton Island is an island mostly designated as National Park in the Cumberland Group, off shore from Mackay south of the Whitsunday Islands within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
The Ayers Rock Resort is now GPT's only tourism asset.
Marine notice
A chart update for AUS252 is available showing the infrastructure; pipeline routes in Dent Passage between Hamilton Island and Dent Island. Mariners need be aware of this and the restrictions on anchoring in the passage.
The Australian Hydrographic Service advises that the plan may be accessed and printed from their website http://www.hydro.gov.au/

"Open your presents at Christmastime but be thankful year round for the gifts you receive" 

Fair winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan