Thursday, November 18, 2010

Love on the Great Barrier Reef

Love is in the sea


It's springtime and love is in the sea. It's Hot; the sea temperature that is. And after the romantic full moon rises, you have to be under the sea at night to witness the world's largest living organism, the Great Barrier Reef, undertake its annual reproductive cycle.

Only Scuba divers and those that have gills can witness this natural wonder as the corals release their eggs into the warm water, then rising to the surface like thousands of bubbles in a champagne flute.

Annual coral orgies, the simultaneous mass spawning of corals on the Great Barrier Reef were first observed scientifically in 1981.

Scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef during coral spawning is an amazing experience and to add to that experience, the coral spawn only at night,

Coral spawning is now the focus of international research, but nature cannot be totally predicted.

The process begins six months before when eggs and sperm begin to form inside the coral polyps. For spawning to take place, water temperatures must be at least 27 degrees.

However, corals need a specific cue so they can release eggs and sperm into the water at the same time. That cue is November's full moon and on the 2nd to 6th night following the full moon, the majority of corals spawn. This year, coral spawning is expected to occur around November 25, 26 & 27 (give or take a few days)

Spawning is timed to coincide with periods when there are minimum tidal movements, which allows the reproductive components time to find representatives from the same species and mix and match before being swept away. Some years there is 'split' spawn with corals in shallow warmer inshore reefs performing in November while those in colder waters on the outer reefs, spawn in December.

Corals make such an effort to spawn at the same time in order to increase opportunities for fertilisation. Mass spawning also overwhelms the appetite of predators. Developing larvae (planula) are swept off to begin new reefs. A planula attaches itself to a vacant patch of reef and starts to grow as the founder polyp for a new coral colony. Coral spawning is a once in a lifetime experience and the highlight of diving at night.


Turtle breeding


Although the whales have returned south, boaters still need to keep an eye out on the water as marine turtles have begun the mating phase of their breeding cycle. Turtles mate on the surface, and there are a fair few turtles in the area, so ensure you stay clear for their protection, as they may not be aware of your approach!


Marine Notices


Boat Haven Bay, (Muddy Bay), adjacent Airlie Bay: hazard to navigation, a lighted buoy Fl Y 3s is established in position to mark the drying wreck, a steel coral viewing vessel, situated just off the rock wall of the Whitsunday Sailing Club.

Boat Haven note: A meeting of the Proserpine Shire Council on June 9, 1960 approved the adoption of 'Boat Haven' as the name for the bay at the eastern end of the Town of Airlie, till then known as Muddy Bay. The idea was to rid that muddy bay of the stigma of the earlier name. Source: Ray Blackwood.


Dent Passage caution


Mariners are advised that vessels transiting Dent Passage off the western end of the Hamilton Island airport runway are cautioned about frequent day and night aircraft movements. Vessels with an overall height greater than eight (8) metres are advised to keep clear of the flight path zone during aircraft movements. A chartlet (Map S11-41 dated 8 November 2010) details 'distance from runway' and 'mast height' restricted areas.

AUS charts 252, 253 & 254


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan

Observing Remembrance Day - November 11

Observing Remembrance Day - November 11


With recent calls for both Melbourne Cup Day and Halloween to be declared public holidays it may be time to take a minute or two to consider a most deserving alternative.

November 11 is Remembrance Day, also known as Poppy Day, Armistice Day (the event it commemorates) or Veterans Day. It is a Commonwealth holiday to commemorate the sacrifices of members of the armed forces and of civilians in times of war, specifically since the First World War.

King George V specifically dedicated the day to be observed on November 11, "at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month" to recall the signing of the Armistice and the end of World War I on that date in 1918.

In Bermuda, which sent the first colonial volunteer unit to the Western Front in 1915, and which had more people per capita in uniform during the Second World War than any other part of the Empire, Remembrance Day is still an important holiday.

In Canada, Remembrance Day is a public holiday in all provinces.

Veterans Day is commemorated in the United States on 11 November, and is both a federal holiday and a state holiday in all states.

Armistice Day November 11 is a national holiday in France, Belgium and in Poland.

In the United Kingdom, two minutes of silence are observed on 11 November, although the main observance is on the second Sunday of November, Remembrance Sunday.

The poppy's significance to Remembrance Day is a result of Canadian military physician John McCrae's poem "In Flanders Fields." The poppy emblem was chosen because of the poppies that bloomed across some of the worst battlefields of Flanders in World War I, their red colour an appropriate symbol for the bloodshed of trench warfare.

There is a case to consider putting Remembrance Day on the 'holiday' calendar and if so, it must be observed on the '11th day of the 11th month' with no apologies to those who only want a long weekend.


Newfies not forgotten


The Royal Newfoundland Regiment was the only North American unit to fight in the Gallipoli campaign of 1915.

The regiment was chosen to be a part of the rearguard, finally withdrawing from Gallipoli with the last of the British Dardanelles Army troops on 9 January 1916.

Later in the war the regiment was virtually wiped out at Beaumont Hamel on July 1, 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

Of the 780 men who went forward only about 110 survived, all the officers were casualties. Only 68 were available for roll call the following day.


Mariner notices


Further work completed by MSQ on damaged navigation marks and hazards to navigation around the Whitsunday coast and islands. Update AUS charts 251, 252,253, 254,268, 824 & 825

Unsafe Passage: the leading lights on the northern end of Daydream Island marking Unsafe Passage are restored to normal.

Abel Point Marina Entrance: the Fl R 3s light on the port lateral mark No. 4 beacon that marks the entrance into Abel Point Marina is restored to normal.

Hamilton Island Marina Entrance: the damaged lighted starboard lateral mark No. 3 beacon Fl G 3s that marks the entrance channel is repaired.

Shute Bay: a steel pile and a timber pile on the northern shoreline of Shute Bay are considered hazards to navigation and may be covered at high tide. Mariners are advised to navigate the area with caution.

Goldsmith Island: Mariners are advised that a one-metre diameter metal buoy be reported adrift north of Goldsmith Island.


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan

Eco Barge helps clean Whitsunday beaches

Eco Barge helps clean Whitsunday beaches


Ever see a pile of trashy flotsam and jetsam on a beach and wish you could pick it up but aren't sure what to do with it?

Libby Edge of Eco Barge has some ideas to help clean our waterfront every day of the year. Libby and her band of volunteers have collected tonnes of trash to prove it.

"From December, you'll be able to get hold of your own Eco Barge Services marine debris collection bag. They're large, lightweight and durable."

"This is a great chance for everyone – locals, yachties and tour operators – to help keep all our Whitsunday beaches clean," says Mrs Edge.

"If you want to go the whole distance, come into our Marine Debris sorting shed with your full bag. We will weigh and catalogue the debris and enter the data into our system.

"We'll even give you a replacement bag and give you your tally every six months to see just how much you are collecting.

Libby and the Eco Barge crew have been busy finding options to plastic bags and will shortly launch a bag made of bamboo. Fully capable of being recycled, Waterfront can testify that the bamboo material is so nice in feel and looks you could wear it.

Libby also reports a recent special guest in Member for Dawson, George Christensen MP who survived 25-knot winds and rain to help the volunteers scavenge 42 kilos of marine debris from Roma Point. 

Info on bags and volunteering call Eco Barge 4946 5198.




Is it a bird? A plane? No, it's new loos!

With the aid of helicopters to uplift the heaviest of the materials, parks rangers have begun construction on three new toilet facilities located at Tongue Point lookout, and Dugong and Sawmill Beaches.

This will be a big 'relief' for visitors and charter operators, especially those taking advantage of the new Ngaro Sea Trail walk up to the Whitsunday Peak! Both the Hill Inlet lookout and the campground at Dugong Beach will stay open throughout the construction period.


Mariner Notices


Mariners around the Whitsunday islands will be appreciative that MSQ have worked at many sites repairing or mitigating the danger of damaged navigation marks, some destroyed during cyclone Ului.

Mariners are advised to update AUS charts 252,253,254 & 824 and note the following.

Reef Point, Whitsunday Island; a lighted buoy has temporarily replaced the destroyed port lateral mark beacon Fl R 2.5s, which marks Reef Point.

Nara Inlet, Hook Island; Mariners are advised that a lighted port lateral mark buoy Fl R 2.5s has been temporarily established to mark the entrance to Nara Inlet. The buoy also marks the remnants of the destroyed port lateral mark beacon, which is exposed at low tide and submerged at high tide. Mariners use extreme caution when transiting the entrance.

Surprise Rock, east of Hamilton Island; a lighted Isolated Danger Mark buoy Fl(2)6s has been temporarily established adjacent to Surprise Rock. The buoy marks the position of the destroyed beacon.

Spitfire Rock, Kennedy Sound, south-west of Lindeman Island; a lighted West Cardinal Mark buoy Q(9)15s has been temporarily established next to Spitfire Rock in Kennedy Sound south-west of Lindeman Island. The buoy marks the destroyed beacon.

Whitehaven Beach, a lighted north cardinal mark buoy Q has been temporarily established at the southern end of Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island,

Fitzalan Passage; the special mark light Q Y located in Fitzalan Passage has been altered to a Fl Y 2.5s light. This light and the Fl Y 2.5s lights to the immediate north and to the immediate south are now synchronised.


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan


Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Reef Festival Raft Regatta success

Reef Festival Raft Regatta success


Half a dozen rafts constructed from all manner of flotsam and jetsam and staffed by crews that could be similarly described, converged at Abel Point Marina for the inaugural Recyclable Raft Race on Saturday.

The new event, part of the Reef Festival activities, had all the elements that make for a fun Whitsunday event.

Mix warm water; some thrown, good weather, a happy crowd and every description of craft inventively fashioned from materials that could be later recycled is an intriguing cocktail too good to pass up.

Amazingly all the craft finished the windward leeward style course, some shedding various bits along the way, with only a few fun-filled capsizes at the finish.

Hold the front page; the winner is, well, the Whitsunday Times team splashed their way to victory in a boat not made of newspaper but of miscellaneous things. The Lounge Surfers seemed to be second on their contraption with EcoBarge taking third spot with a terrific rollover at the finish line. PCYC kids lost most of their SOS plastic bottle raft around the course and the floating Pallet was the quiet achiever.

This was so much fun and thanks must go to John Nayler for pushing it along with Meridien Abel Point Marina allowing such a kooky event. Terry Kemp was on lifeguarding duties with other helpers and everyone got wet.

Can't wait until this event floats its boats again.


Eco quiz a winner


Another new part of Reef Fest Family Day on Sunday, the EcoKids Schools Environment Quiz was successful and well received.

The finalists were teams of three students from Hayman Island, Proserpine and Cannonvale State Schools.

The high standard of competitors shows that our local youth are very interested and knowledgeable about the environment and that the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Reef Guardian Schools program is making a difference supported by our local professional and caring teachers.

The EcoKids Schools Environment Quiz was planned and executed with the assistance of Whitsunday Catchment Landcare, GBRMPA, Queensland Parks & Wildlife Service and the Reef Festival Free Family Day committee lead by Team Kerr.

The winning school was Proserpine State School in a tight contest with Hayman Island and Cannonvale.

Proserpine State School Principal, RaeLee Cox received a valuable prize that will benefit the school and a lucky family who will enjoy an Air Whitsunday Reef Adventure Tour scenic flight to the Great Barrier Reef.


Whitsundays - more to offer!


Researchers from the Queensland Museum, along with Queensland Parks & Wildlife Service Rangers, are conducting fauna surveys and undertaking trapping activities on Whitsunday Island.

The survey is targeted at accurately identifying a number of animals that were first revealed when QPWS conducted an environmental impact study (EIS) behind Whitehaven Beach before the construction of the Ngaro Sea Trail.

If these surveys prove fruitful, a couple of previously unidentified species may be revealed. The researchers are particularly interested in an unknown gecko and a freshwater crayfish, recorded during the initial EIS.




Sandy beaches and rocky shores are great places to observe a wide variety of plants and animals. Be careful not to disturb animals or trample plants and leave rock and shells as you found them. Check the marine park zoning for the area and find out if collecting limits apply. Taking photos works well everywhere. Ensure children don't pick up anything dangerous; cone shells look nice, but can be dangerous.


Macona Inlet, Hook Island


Mariners note that a lighted Starboard Lateral Mark buoy FL.G.2.5s be temporarily established in the entrance into Macona Inlet. The buoy is located 50 metres southeast of the destroyed beacon. Mariners should use caution when navigating nearby, and not to pass close to the buoy, as remnants of the destroyed structure may remain. AUS chart 252


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan

Youth sail training

Youth sail training this weekend


Young sailors from around the region will converge at the Whitsunday Sailing Club this weekend for two days of competition training.

Aimed at sailors preparing for the NQ Championships in Townsville on October 30/31 and the Sabot and Optimist national events in January the training will be competition based.

This will be a great way to get a good weekend's sailing in with most of the NQ Sabot and Opti sailors including some "Oppie" sailors from Hamilton Island taking part.

Klaus Lorenz will co-ordinate and coach at the event and would appreciate some help.

"The aims of the event are, primarily, to help those sailors going to the nationals, and also to encourage others, sailors and parents, to think about competition sailing as a 'way of life'." Klaus says.

"As part of the event, we plan to schedule some discussion about the logistics, costs, etc., of taking up competition sailing from a base in NQ."

If you have any queries please call Gayna 4955 0000.


On the Edge


On Boathaven Island amidst the lush mangroves between the Airlie Sports Park and Mandalay Road is a unique boatyard owned for years by David and Bill Edge.

Lurking crocodiles and popping mud crabs maintain security around the boatyard while sailors and tradesmen spend character building time on their various projects and labours of love; the only sign to most of the outside world being the towering masts looking like a grove of sea trees on a verdant green ocean.

To give David and Bill time to concentrate on the marine contracting side of their business, they have announced that Neil and Sandra Mann will take over managing the boatyard. All details remain the same.


$60 million toy


The Royal Australian Navy supplies 'Sea Patrol' with vessels and crews and a $60 million, Armidale-class patrol boat to play the role of the HMAS Hammersley as filming starts in North Queensland on the fifth season of the Australian drama series.

Sea Patrol executive producers Di and Hal McElroy say the drama has a loyal audience of about 1.2 million viewers each week.


Submarine storm cooling


Atlantic hurricanes, typhoons in the northern Pacific and south Pacific cyclones are all tropical revolving storms (TRS) and need warm surface temperatures to form and increase in destructive power.

Ise Kogyo Co., a hydraulic engineering company based in Japan, has obtained a patent for a submarine designed to dive in the path of a typhoon and pump cold water to the surface to stop the storm in its tracks.

Their idea is to build a fleet of submarines to dive in the path of a typhoon and pump cold water to the surface to deprive the storm of its source of power.

"The idea is to have a series of 20-metre long water pumps, attached to the submarine to pump cold water to the surface," says spokesperson Tomotsu Omori.

Each submarine would be able to pump around 480 metric tons of water per minute and would work in coordinated groups of up to 20 underwater vehicles. In one hour, the inventor estimates, the submarines would be able to reduce the surface temperature of the ocean by 3 degrees over an area of 57,000 square metres and take the punch out of the storm.


Whitsunday Pilotage


Mariners are advised that a lighted buoy has temporarily replaced the destroyed south cardinal mark beacon Q (6) + L Fl 15s, which marks Langford Reef. AUS chart 254


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan

"Spy ship" visits Whitsunday ports

'Spy ship' visits Whitsunday ports

One of the most talked about vessels on the waterfront in the last week has been the 'spy ship' fitted with a big communications dome and helicopter parked on deck.

Waterfront can reveal that the vessel, while of somewhat military appearance, is an expedition yacht named Karima and her flag is that of Bermuda.

Also Bermuda registered; the helicopter is a US$2 million Aérospatiale AS 350B2 Ecureuil (Squirrel) nicknamed 'Sea Baboon'

Built in the Netherlands and launched in 1993 as 'Maupiti' and later renamed 'Karima' she has diesel electric propulsion and is fitted with a dynamic positioning system and an ultra-modern stabilisation system.

'Karima' is 49 metres (161-feet) in length and since her NZ refit was completed in early 2009, she has chartered around Tahiti, French Polynesia and has just returned from Indonesia.

Built of steel with aluminium superstructure, 'Karima' can accommodate up to ten guests in five suites with 11 crew members.

Its South American and British owners use the yacht for round-the-world expedition adventure charters and before you decide it is the motor yacht for you, consider the cost of filling up the diesel tanks with 80,000 litres.


Oil from algae


A bill (legislation) in the United States House of Representatives to give tax breaks to companies working on algae feedstock-generated biofuel has become law.

The Algae-based Renewable Fuel Promotion Act (HR 4168) includes a US$1.01 per gallon production tax credit and 50 percent bonus depreciation for property employed to produce algae-based biofuel.

The bill defines "algae-based biofuel" as "any liquid fuel which is produced from the biomass of an algal organism (in essence, an organism that is primarily aquatic and classified as a non-vascular plant),"

"The passage of this bill is a huge first step towards our goal of creating parity for algae-based biofuels within the tax code and among various other government programmes," Mary Rosenthal, executive director of the Algal Biomass Organisation (ABO) trade group.

"Algae to produce green crude can be grown on non-arable land, in salt or brackish water using carbon dioxide and sunlight as its primary feedstock."


Hayman Rocks


Although Proserpine rock wallabies inhabit mainland areas, they also call Hayman Island home!

As part of the population recovery plan for the threatened species, the wallabies were introduced to Hayman Island in an attempt to establish a safe and stable colony.

To ensure that the objectives of the recovery plan are being met, Queensland Parks & Wildlife Service Conservation Officers are currently conducting a nine week research study on Hayman Island to determine population numbers, health and the genetic diversity of the colony.

Each individual rock wallaby examined within the study will be condition assessed and micro tagged for future identification.

Further, breeding activity will be investigated for evidence of a normally breeding and genetically diverse population.

The project is undertaken with the full support and assistance of Hayman Island Resort.


Raft Regatta


Recyclable raft entries are still needed for the regatta at Abel point Marina on Saturday October 23.  

This is a great way to highlight the problem of plastic in the ocean and to propose a solution; inventive ways of recycling of plastic while having some fun. Want more information? Call John Nayler on 0407 15 13 11.


Mariner notice


Mariners are advised that yacht races will be conducted between Mackay, Airlie Beach, Hamilton Island and Bowen between Tuesday 12 and Saturday 16 October. The Whitsunday Offshore Yacht Racing Circuit (WOYRC) Series sails the waters of the Whitsunday Passage. Mariners are advised to navigate the area with caution. AUS charts 253, 370, 824 & 825


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan

WWW. 2011 = Whitsunday Whale Week 2011

WWW. 2011 = Whitsunday Whale Week 2011


Mate tugboat Gordo alias Gordon Simmons has come up with a stunningly great event idea – Whitsunday Whale Week.

Gordo reckons we need to liven up the place and figures that besides highlighting the majestic mammals the grace our seas in winter it would be a chance to have some music onshore.

OK, what is the connection between whales and music? Well whales actually sing. Although the whales might have a problem with electric guitars, they could really beat the drum.

Me thinks Gordon wants a concert for whales and music lovers  down on the waterfront.

Surely, we will also dream up some other ideas, a whale photographic competition, a whale beauty contest, a whale welcome and greeting, whale calling, a whale paddle, whale naming and a whale of a music festival.

Anyway, the idea is to have the inaugural Whitsunday Whale Week next year just before the Race Weeks at Airlie Beach and Hamilton Island.

There were whales everywhere this year and trained observers state that Whitsunday waters were "chockers with whales."

Local business owner Maria Dwyer of Oceanic Insurance told Waterfront this week "It's time for us to do something new. Something fun. And Gordon's idea is new and it's not boring. We will get behind it."

So, if the idea of frolicking whales promoting the Whitsunday 'brand' sounds good drop a line to


Health check


It's time for a reef health check up and over the next few weeks Marine Park Rangers will be conducting reef health impact surveys (RHIS) to assess the health of our inner and outer reefs.

RHIS are important for keeping track of the state of corals in the Whitsunday area and are also useful for learning how well different corals regenerate after damaging storm events such as Cyclone Ului.

RHIS can also help to identify any areas or causes of concern affecting reef health.


Last wish goes adrift


FORT LAUDERDALE — A burial in his beloved sea was the wish of Daniel Scott Lasky, who died last month at his home in Hickory, North Carolina USA.

The next day his family packed his body in dry ice, loaded it into a van and drove to Fort Lauderdale, Florida where Lasky once vacationed.

They chartered a local fishing boat, the Mary B, and Lasky's widow, Sharon, her pastor and other family members, along with the boat's captain and crew, motored four miles offshore from Port Everglades.

They tendered their final goodbyes and consigned Lasky to the deep. Family members then fished for a spell in his memory.

"Clearly what they were doing was trying to honour the wishes of their loved one," said Veda Coleman-Wright, spokeswoman for the Broward Sheriff's Office.

But the sea proved no resting place. Though weighted down, Lasky's body resurfaced Saturday. About 9:30 that morning, a fisherman reported a man's body floating about four miles offshore.

Sheriff's marine deputies raced to the scene, along with the Coast Guard. Homicide detectives waited onshore.

Investigators later found Lasky's intended resting place in his obituary in the Hickory Daily Record: "Burial will be at sea."

Coleman-Wright said Sharon Lasky had a proper death certificate and permit to transport her husband's body.

Sheriff's deputies are conferring with the Coast Guard in deciding whether any laws were broken.


Hazard removed


Mariners are advised that the vehicle, which was partially submerged in the Proserpine River near the Proserpine River boat ramp, has been removed. AUS charts 370 & 824


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan

Reef Festival Recyclable Raft Regatta


Reef Festival Recyclable Raft Regatta


Sailors the world over are concerned at the accumulation of debris of all descriptions in our oceans. Plastic is the main offender even though the dumping of plastics into the sea was banned over twenty years ago.


The Whitsunday Reef Festival includes an event on Saturday October 23 to raise awareness of plastic in the sea while having some fun.


The first ever 'Recyclable Regatta' will be held at Abel Point Marina with youth, adult and corporate teams invited to enter a raft and participate in this great fun awareness event.

There will be prizes in each division and an award for the most ingenious design says organiser John Nayler.


"This is a great way to highlight the problem of plastic in the ocean and to propose a solution; inventive ways of recycling of plastic while having some fun"

"The design rules are simple," says Mr Nayler

"The rafts must be made entirely of recyclable waste material, excepting fasteners, glues or tape, with a maximum size of two square metres.

"The judging is at 11 am on Saturday October 23 at Abel Point Marina and includes the rule that at the end of the event the rafts will be broken down by the competitors and recycled." Mr Nayler added.

Raft builds are already underway with anti plastic campaigner Ian Thompson and the SOS kids at the PCYC demonstrating their raft at the lagoon this week.

Local debris campaigner Libby Edge from Eco Barge Services is also combing her tons of collected rubbish for suitable floatation.

To get involved in this event, take up the challenge. Start collecting your recyclables and design a raft for family fun, corporate involvement or team building. Information, John Nayler on 0407 15 13 11.


Turn on some lights


Waterfront is amazed that boat owners often don't have a light lit at night when at anchor.

It is also a good idea to have a light showing while on a mooring, although it is not required.

However, at anchor a light is required by the International Collision Regulations.

On a recent dark and stormy night, coming into Abel Point Marina there were several boats that did not conform to the regulations. They were near to the channel leading to the marina.

All on the water have a duty to avoid collision and one good way is to have the correct lights; and have them lit.

To ensure your navigation lights comply with the Collision Regulations you can check with your supplier about approval/ certification or check out the National Registry of Compliant Equipment on the National Marine Safety Committee's website at

Further, care must be taken when changing the lamp of navigation lights.

For instance, an LED lamp may not be a suitable replacement for an incandescent lamp in a particular navigation light. The lamp must match the navigation light fitting and its optical characteristics.

When buying replacement lamps check for rated voltage, power (wattage) and recommended part numbers.


Marine animals


Although it is unfortunately normal for mortalities of marine animals to occur in the Whitsundays, Qld Parks & Wildlife Service make it a priority to record each event and monitor trends. Whether it is a case of obtaining mortality details for our records, or investigating an unusual peak of stranded or deceased animals, QPWS are interested in every event. Call the DERM hotline 13 74 68.


Mariner Notices


Proserpine River; Mariners are advised that a vehicle is partially submerged in the Proserpine River in the vicinity of the Proserpine River boat ramp. Mariners should use caution in the vicinity.

AUS charts 370 & 824


Leeper Reef; Mariners are advised that the east cardinal mark buoy VG (3)5s, which marks Leeper Reef has been re-established in position. AUS charts 249 & 823


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan

Best fun in the sun

Sailing series voted best fun in the sun

The final day of sailing in the 2010 Meridien Marinas Airlie Beach Race Week perhaps highlighted what makes the series a winner.

With little wind, in fact a glass sea surface, last Thursday morning was a time for crews to play while waiting for the wind. Any wind.

Reminiscent of Fun Race of old, the Scott's Cats media boat with TV cameras rolling recorded the antics on the bay with Airlie Beach as the backdrop.

It is amazing how camera lens will find every bikini on the bay and as the race committee pondered their next move racing crews start having some fun.

Ian Thomson and the crew of SOS Racing cooled off in the bay and started kicking and splashing behind arguably the world's biggest kick-board.

Fourteen yachts of various descriptions rafted up and drifted around the bay proving that mono and multihull sailors all know how to have a good time.

There was plenty of splashed heard around the bay, the bowsprit balancing (un-balancing?) attempts attended the Samuel Beckett absurdist 'Waiting for Godot' spirit as the painted ships waited on the painted sea for a breath of wind.

As the trumpet player on 007 tooted the theme from 007, a bare breath of breeze tickled the surface of the sea. The committee sprang from the doldrums and the last race was on.


Highlights – the wrap


During the week no doubt the wrapping of Whitsunday Sailing Clubs flag officer Terry Archer's Questionable Logic in toilet paper was a highlight, however there was also locals in the racing results.

IRC Racing Division 1. Michael Hiatt's Farr 55 Living Doll claims this year's crown. IRC Racing Division 2 champion Flying Cloud, Howard Piggott's First 40 with Christopher Jiggins Adams 10 from the Whitsunday Sailing Club, third. Sirocco, Bob Thomson becomes the 2010 Multihull champion.

The Performance Racing Division Overall series winner is Terry Archer's Sydney 40 Questionable Logic from the Whitsunday Sailing Club. Damian Suckling's Another Fiasco finishes second with Kevin Fogarty's Idle Time third, making it a Whitsunday trifecta.

The IRC Cruising Division 1 champion is Stewart Lewis' Martin 49 Ocean Affinity, finishing one point ahead of Peter Moseley's Local Hero. Martin Power's Bacardi was third.

The Cruising Class Division 2 winner is Peggy, Benjamin Meakin's Austral Clubman 8. Queensland Marine Services (John Galloway) third

The Cruising Non Spinnaker champion is Rumrunner LL, Chris Hillier's Cole 43


Our Jessica visits


"Somewhere along the way I learnt that if you truly want to live life you have to get involved, pursue your passions and dream big."

So writes Jessica Watson in her new book 'True Spirit'. In it she details the extensive preparation she and her team made for the big voyage, her journey and the battles she fought along the way – against sleep deprivation, gale-force winds, mountainous seas and the solitude most of us can only imagine. When she sailed back into Sydney Harbour on 15 May 2010, after 210 days at sea and 24,000 nautical miles, she was cheered in by a huge crowd.

To many, Jessica was our newest hero. She disagreed, saying she wasn't a hero, "just an ordinary girl who had a dream and worked hard at it and proved that anything is possible." This is her story.

Jessica is touring Australia and talking about her around the world sailing adventure in Mackay on Sunday August 29. She will be on the lawns out the front of the Mackay Regional Council building at 1.00pm and will answer your questions. Enquiries 4951 2121


Hammo light out


Mariners are advised that the starboard lateral mark No.1 beacon Q.G, which marks the entrance into Hamilton Island Marina, is temporarily unlit. Mariners should use caution in the vicinity.AUS charts 253 & 254


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan

Sailors highlight Whitsunday waters

Sailors highlight Whitsunday waters to the World

Australia's top yachts and crews gave their best and closest results proven by the Audi IRC Australian Championship battle between Stephen Ainsworth's Loki and Harvey Milne's Aroona that saw Loki win the richest prize in sailing by a mere 0.31 of a point.

Audi Hamilton Island Race Week saw over 200 yachts and crews competing for bragging rights and the keys to a brand new A5 Cabriolet 2.0 TFSI Quattro S-tronic valued at over $90,000.

Ainsworth, who had promised his wife the car if he won the series, thought he had missed out in the close sailing.

"I'm speechless, "Ainsworth said when told of his win. " I was sitting on my boat this afternoon thinking, "I've lost the Audi."

"You've made my wife very happy, because I promised her the car if I won it – she's out checking to see if the golf clubs will fit in the boot," he said.

"It was a battle to the end, but obviously the best boat and crew have been victorious," Audi Australia's Managing Director Uwe Hagen said while handing Stephen Ainsworth the keys outside the Hamilton Island Yacht Club.


Whales and Watson


Televised pods of energetic whales and the announcement that teenage solo sailor Jessica Watson is onboard as Tourism Queensland's Sailing Ambassador, kept Whitsunday in the national spotlight as the place to be.

Jessica's first official duty as sailing ambassador at the Hamilton Island Race Week was to go sailing with her boyfriend in the exciting sports boats division.

Jessica captivated the world during her seven-month quest to become the youngest person to sail solo, non-stop and unassisted around the world.

Jessica has already succeeded in generating huge interest in sailing with people all over the world.

She is also Queensland's ambassador for the World Sailing Championships next year, which aims to get more people involved in sailing.

"I am happy to encourage more people to take up the sport of sailing," Jessica said.


Whitsunday Multihull Rendezvous


The Multihull Solutions Whitsunday Multihull Rendezvous is sailing this week with presentations on Friday.

Incorporating the Queensland Offshore Multihull Championship, the week of sailing is organised by Abel Point Yacht Club assisted by Whitsunday Sailing Club.

The Cruising/Rally division will be doing a 5-day overnight event while racers will vary between bay races and island courses.


Now it's An-Tiki


Complete with an 'elderly crossing sign' and named the An-Tiki, this Atlantic crossing will be the next daring adventure to follow Kon-Tiki and the recently completed Plastiki adventures.

Adventurer Anthony Smith, 84 years young, retired writer for the Telegraph newspaper and Granddad will depart the Canary Islands with his crew of three on a 2,800 mile journey towards the Bahamas, on a raft made from 13-metre plastic gas pipes.

Smith placed an advertisement in the Telegraph, brief and to the point: "Fancy rafting across the Atlantic? Famous traveller requires three crew. Serious adventurers only."

It caught the eye of several experienced seafarers and now the 84-year-old former RAF pilot is preparing to lead his veteran team across the ocean. Rejecting the idea he is too old to embark on the 60-day crossing, Smith insists that rafting is relatively safe.

"Most people my age are happy with a trip to Sainsbury's every Tuesday, or maybe helping out fixing the church hall roof," he said.

"What I want to show is that you don't have to be satisfied with a trip to the supermarket. You can do other things."

A support vessel will accompany the raft for the first few days at sea, "in case we forget the can opener." A film of the voyage is planned, and Mr Smith hopes that schools will follow his progress.


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan


Famous or infamous

Fun Race sails yet again this Saturday


Famous or infamous, love it or hate it, after more than 30 years the Great Whitsunday Fun Race is on again this Saturday with all the usual entertainment both on and off the water at Airlie Beach.

Presentations are at the Saturday evening party for first, second and third in each division as well as prizes for Best Theme Boat, Best Dressed Yacht, Best Dressed Crew and Yacht from Furthest Away.

Registration is $10 with a briefing Friday night and Saturday morning; Division 1 warning signal goes off at high noon.


Turtle voyaging


A green turtle discharged from the Reef HQ Aquarium Turtle Hospital in June and bon voyaged off the Townsville's Strand has travelled over 400km south along the GBR Coast.

'Torres' the turtle was fitted with a satellite tagging device as part of a study  supported by James Cook University and the Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM).

Weighing a tiny 366 grams Torres came to Reef HQ Aquarium in 2006 after being discovered by a member of the public and has called the Reef HQ Aquarium predator tank home.

A regular "Star" of the Reef HQ Dive Show, Torres has touched hearts with its larger than life personality and repertoire of cheeky antics and after four years of rehabilitation, Torres is now a healthy 45 kilograms and has grown faster and larger that green turtles of similar age due to the optimal conditions provided at the Aquarium.

At the time of release, Torres showed no external indicators that would determine whether Torres is male or female.


City of Adelaide


The world's oldest passenger clipper ship the 145-year-old City of Adelaide, is currently resting on a slipway on the west coast of Scotland, faced being broken up.

Built in Sunderland, northeast England the ship predates the Cutty Sark and took people and wool between Australia and Britain on more than 20 round trips.

Historic Scotland says the ship is considered by naval experts to be one of the most significant historic vessels to survive to the present day, for its age, rarity and historic connections.

Later known as the Carrick, the ship was left to the elements at Irvine, North Ayrshire, where it faced deconstruction.

The trust aims to preserve the vessel on a land-based maritime precinct at Port Adelaide in time for the 175th anniversary of settlement next year.


Servicing PFDs


Sailors may not be aware that Inflatable Personal Floatation Devices (PFDs) need be serviced by the manufacturer or manufacturer's agent before the expiry date

Inflatable Personal Floatation Devices are permitted as a source of buoyancy for personal flotation device type 1 for body mass of 40 kilograms or over.

If they are out of date, the boat is deemed by legislation not to be equipped with the required safety equipment and you would be liable to prosecution for failing to carry the required safety equipment.


Rattlesnake Island


Mariners are advised that military units will be conducting live firing activities and flare shooting on Friday, 17 September 2010 between the hours of 0630 and 1700 hours.

A range safety radius of five Nautical Miles is to be established and monitored by radar and visual means. Mariners are warned to keep well clear of this area throughout the above times. AUS charts 256 & 827


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan

Pirates? Ye just Aarrrrrgh!

Whitsunday celebrates International Talk like a Pirate Day


Yarr! Avast! Shiver me timbers is not something you expect to hear in everyday conversation, but it'll be more commonplace this Saturday, as centres around the world celebrate International Talk like a Pirate Day.

Tri-corner hats, scarves, eye patches, parrots and strange accents will be part of the special event in the Airlie Beach, complete with plank walking and pirate jokes.

Organiser of the Airlie Beach event, Cap'n Dan, says all pirates will be on their best behaviour.

"We're the polite pirates and we always use our manners and say please and thank you and ensure our visitors always come first," Cap'n Dan says.

"That's pretty important in a town like Airlie Beach, which is a tourist destination and we want people to come here and have a good time.

"We'll be here waving our hooks in the air and having a jolly good time talking about booty and rope burns."

Those who don't enjoy themselves will have to walk the plank.

Anyone can have their own party, dress up and talk like a pirate. If raising money for charity is your thing, send the treasure to VMR.




Déjà vu


"The more things change the more they stay the same," wrote George Bernard Shaw. And it was Déjà vu this week for your Waterfront writer.

Firstly the background, remembering the near miss Category 5 cyclone Joy at Christmas 1990, sailing back to Airlie from Hamilton Island in the still testing conditions it was time to refresh the crew of one.

Lunchtime found me hiding in Hunt Channel sheltered by Cid Island from the nor'westerly wind and soaking cloud bands.

For lunch, the fridge gave up a few beers. Yeah! However, the only food was a chocolate Bavarian desert.

Turned out to be a memorable and much needed lunch.

Later that day I watched a houseboat turn turtle and submerge in Cid Harbour and found a pod of unattended bareboats sheltered in the tight anchorage of Dugong Inlet. 

Landlubbers will remember that the Peter Faust Dam filled to almost capacity after this weather event.

What brought this to mind? This week brought a nice new big bareboat back from Hamilton Island and found the fridge contained imported beer and . . . a chocolate Bavarian.


Crew holiday


The crew and the MV Magellan Star ship management company kept their heads and their sense of humour when Somali pirates boarded the ship last Wednesday.

When pirates boarded the 8,000-tonne Magellan Star, the officers and crew disabled the engine and retreated to a hidden safe room. 

After searching the Antigua flagged container ship for three hours, the pirates were unable to locate the crew, say the ship's German owners, Quadrant.

The pirates then phoned the shipping company in Hamburg to ask where the crew were hidden.

"They were told the crew was on holiday," said representative Juergen Salamon.

"They then asked how to switch the engines back on, but were told they were broken."

Knowing the crew was safe 24 U.S. Marine commandos stormed the ship off the Somalia coast reclaiming control from pirates and took nine prisoners without firing a shot.


Cape Upstart hazard


Mariners are advised that a fishing net with two buoys attached was reported adrift 1.6 nautical miles off Cape Upstart in approximate position latitude 19° 41.74' S, longitude 147° 43.53' E. Mariners are advised to navigate with caution whilst operating in this area. AUS chart 826


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan