Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Night lights on Pioneer Bay

Night lights on Pioneer Bay


Sailing up Pioneer Bay on Sunday night in the failing breeze, the sea looked like oil glistening with the reflection of shore lights. A thin crescent moon struggled to peer through the thin clouds as a light cool breeze wafted from the shore bringing the smell of land in the close, mist-like atmosphere.

That lit-up pile of a house on Mandalay Point first appeared as a giant birthday cake with candles glowing, then changed to a vision of a cruise ship on a slow voyage across the languid water. Later it morphed once again into a riverboat on a gaudy cruise, me imagining the piano playing for a crowd of poker players and consorts complete with clinking glasses and laughter across the water.

Keeping lookout across the shimmering sea, a memory of years gone by when Romeo's Italian Restaurant had red and green lights displayed on the seaward side of his waterfront establishment. Romeo said it was the Italian colours; the uninitiated thought it was the navigation lights of an approaching vessel.

A thought crossed my mind of another Airlie Beach castaway; Irish James had a distrust of things mechanical or electrical. James' yacht was old, timber and unequipped with fancy stuff such as engine or lights.

When it was explained to James that others in charge of their craft would not know his direction due to his lack of lights, notwithstanding his slow pace, candle and joint burning in the cockpit.

James obliged by buying an electric torch and two plastic buckets; one red, one green. If you yelled out to him he would show a light by putting the torch in one bucket or the other, or just shine the torch around. If he be upwind, ye would smell the burning grass.

Nearing Abel Point Marina I spied through the mist a large timber ex-trawler looming massively, a mountain of a boat resembling a dark iceberg softly silhouetted by the lights of Airlie, but showing no light onboard to mark her anchorage.

So take care on the water at night, it is that time of the year when sailors arrive in Airlie Beach for the first time. Aided by a page torn from a library atlas and a Queensland road map of considerable age they have made it to the yachties destination of the north. Nothing left to do than throw the old builder's brick and dog chain over the side to anchor and go ashore to seek the fun of Airlie.


Galapagos Wonders


Laura Dekker sailed from the Netherlands last summer aged just 14 to enjoy a cruise around the world on her 38-foot Jeanneau Gin Fizz ketch Guppy.

She is now at anchor in Academy Bay on Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos after successfully crossing the Atlantic Ocean and entering the Pacific Ocean through the Panama Canal.

Laura is enjoying the sights and charging her batteries in preparation for the long Pacific crossing to Australia.


Mariner notices


Out on the weekend sailing a new Seawind 1250 catamaran, I noticed issues with the navigation marks on South Whitehaven Beach, Lagoon Rock destroyed, Daydream Island lead lights wonky and Pioneer Rocks light is extremely restricted.


Seaforth Creek - Mariners are advised that the lighted Port Lateral Mark No.8 beacon Fl.R.3s in Seaforth Creek has been destroyed and is temporarily unlit. Mariners should use caution in the vicinity as remnants of the beacon remain. AUS chart 251


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan


Cap'n Dan is a regular commentator on ABC Radio Tropical North

Cook's ship to rediscover Whitsunday

 Cook's ship to rediscover Whitsunday


As part of a circumnavigation of Australia, HMB Endeavour will sail through the Whitsunday Islands following in the wake of James Cook on his voyage in 1770.

The magnificent replica of Captain James Cook's ship, HMB Endeavour, was farewelled in Sydney and arrived in Brisbane this week. Her next voyage is to Gladstone for the week of May 21-26 then she will transit the Whitsundays en route to Townsville for public viewing on June 10.

Of course it is unfortunate that HMB Endeavour is unable to arrange a stop locally, so far, as many will have memories of her previous visit to Shute Harbour. She would look mighty fine in the new Port of Airlie marina.

However, no doubt some of us will chase her down for a visit or photos of a ship called a 'virtual museum', as the ship is built to the exact specifications of Captain James Cook's original, which sailed on Australian waters 231 years ago."

HMB Endeavour is part of the Australian National Maritime Museum's historic fleet and gives people the chance to learn about day-to-day life on an 18th century vessel.

Her voyage around Australia will see the ship return to the port city of Fremantle where Endeavour was launched in 1993 and a starring role at the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships in December.


Privatised Navy?


Using navy ships for tourism is underway as the Sri Lankan Navy branches out into whale watching tours utilising one of its luxury fast passenger vessels (FPV), designated 'A-543', for the purpose.

The ship had earlier been used for troop transportation and humanitarian operations, but hey, what fun is that?

According to naval sources, (what landlubbers would call the marketing department) the ship is scheduled to set sail four times per week and operate for three to six hours each tour. Between December and April, the seas south of Dondra Head and Mirissa in the south of the country are well known for blue and sperm whale sightings close to shore.

The operation will head north towards Colombo-Kalpitya and Trincomalee with the changing weather and monsoon.

At least they are not harpooning the whales.


Radio changes


The first Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race held 1949 saw seven sailboats start on Good Friday. Only two yachts carried radios while Brisbane's Homing Pigeon Club supplied pigeons to the others for position reporting!

Each yacht issued with birds was to release two each day.

And the winner was Doug Perrins on 'Hoana'


Flood stops race


Due to flood conditions on the Ohio River, the Kentucky Derby Festival's Great Steamboat Race between the Belle of Louisville and the Belle of Cincinnati, originally scheduled for today, May 4, will be rescheduled for June 29.


Mariner notices


Fitzalan Passage: Mariners are advised that the Fl Y 2.5s light on the special mark buoy in Fitzalan Passage between Henning Island and Whitsunday Island has been restored to normal.


Pioneer Rocks: Mariners are advised that the lighted isolated danger mark beacon Fl (2) 6s 5m, in approximate position latitude 20° 13.6' S, longitude 148° 45.45' E, which marks Pioneer Rocks has been reported to be unlit. Mariners should navigate with caution in the vicinity.

AUS charts affected: 252, 253, 824 & 825


Quote of the week:


"The trouble with quotes on the internet is that you can never tell if they are genuine" - Abraham Lincoln.


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan


Cap'n Dan is a regular broadcaster on ABC Radio Tropical North

Summer is over: Whitsunday 'winter' on the way

Summer is over: Whitsunday 'winter' on the way


The sailing of the Yeppoon to Mackay offshore yacht race this weekend signals the return of the best yachts and crews to our northern climes for our 'winter'


Following on the long running Easter Weekend Brisbane Gladstone race the idea developed over many years around our festival of sail concept; a series of events enjoying and revolving around the Whitsundays and the Queensland coast.


One of the key events has been Hamilton Island Race Week now sponsored by Audi and racing in 2011 on August 19 – 27.

The first regatta saw a fleet of 93 yachts front up in April 1984. It rained every day and blew like hell and the media unkindly dubbed it "Hamilton Island Rain Week", and said it was held in the "Wetsundays". However it was a great even and was held in April until a late cyclone blew a bit too much wind; then the date was altered to August.


Airlie Beach Fun Race has been sailed since 1977 and like the tide, it floods and ebbs. Still sailed for an empty rum bottle mounted on a nice piece of Mackay cedar, Fun Race may enjoy a renaissance this year with the Rotary Boat and Leisure Show relocating to the same weekend of September 10 and 11 at the new Port of Airlie venue.


In the late 1980s a nice yacht with a clipper bow arrived in our waters. 'Storm' was owned by Don Algie who told me he planned to start a new restaurant named Hog's Breath CafĂ© and start sailing with the Whitsunday Sailing Club. As club members wanted a new event to fit in with the Hamilton regatta so was born the Hog's Breath Race Week, rebadged as Meridian when Boss Hog retired but still retaining the fun concept of tropical shirt sleeve sailing so beloved by sailors who come to dodge their hometown grey skies. Meridien Airlie Beach Race Week with sail August 12 – 18.


At the same time the late Fr Keith Felgate got a calling to create an annual Blessing of the Fleet so he gave me a call and we began the now 21 year old celebration of the naming of Whitsunday by Cook on Pentecost Sunday / Whitsunday 1770. This year the event will be a People's Family Day on the Airlie foreshore with community markets and lots of kid's fun in the planning stage right now for Sunday June 12 on the long weekend.


It is nice of Tourism Queensland to finally recognise the concept of our festival of sail, after all, imitation is the sincerest of flattery. Long time supporters of Jessica Watson will be happy with her choice to be the Season of Sailing Ambassador as announced by our Whitsunday MP and Minister for Tourism, Jan Jarratt.


The final event on our 'winter' calendar is International Talk Like a Pirate Day on Saturday September 17 when we can wave our hooks in the air and bid our visitors a big 'Yarrr!' until next year.


ANZAC report


The dawn service was moving and beautiful at the new Cenotaph location that is a credit to Whitsunday Council. Very much an amphitheatre with ample and safer parking the Cenotaph will provide a wonderful place into the future. Considering the number of children attending in is fitting that nearby is a playground.

"The kookaburras came in right on call" Mayor Mike Brunker said to me.

At least the squawking cockatoos stayed around the old site.


Proserpine River entrance


Mariners are advised that the lighted starboard lateral mark No. 1 buoy Fl G 3s temporarily established to mark the destroyed starboard lateral mark in the entrance to the Proserpine River has been re-established in position.


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan


Easter Regatta sailing

Easter Regatta sailing


Organisers of the annual Easter Regatta are expecting dry-ish and windy weather and a good roll up for the event to be sailed this weekend.

There will be an invitational race on Friday with four further races on Pioneer Bay over the next two days.

Whitsunday Sailing Club Race director Jim Hayes says "We've had a good number of entries coming in online with 16 boats confirmed so far including a strong Laser division with 7 boats - and another three boats tentatively booked in."

"No boat? No worries. We have a number of boats of different types available for hire." Jim added.

Check the programme for a full schedule of the weekend's action at www.easterregatta.com.au/


ANZAC Day change


On Monday morning don't go to the usual spot on Altmann Ave near the Police Station as the new Cenotaph has been commissioned around on Coral Esplanade near the Cannonvale State School.

The old site served well for many years, however the new site will provide improved parking and safety advises Terry Brown from Airlie Beach / Whitsunday RSL, "The Dawn Service this year and all future services will be held at the new Cenotaph."

The bet is on that those noisy cockatoos will find their way around to the new site unaided.


Quake, then tsunamis?


It is the new "where were you when the earthquake hit?" with most people having the moment remembered. Thankfully while the quake, the State's biggest in more than 70 years registered a fairly big 5.2-magnitude there was almost no damage, only people running out of their houses saying "what was that?"

Your dedicated newspaperman was dozing with footy on the TV Saturday afternoon just after 3.30pm when "the earth moved."

So of course the question asked is "where there are quakes are there tsunamis?" The answer is a definite maybe.

Natural disasters expert Professor Jon Nott from James Cook University who studies the long-term history of natural disasters said Cairns had been struck by two tsunamis in the past 700 years. The tsunamis were likely to have been similar to the 2007 Solomon Island Tsunami that had minimal recordings conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency, through its network of storm tide gauges, after the wave travelled rapidly across the Coral Sea.

The Great Barrier Reef provides much protection from outside events; however, as usual more study is needed.


An-Tiki crosses


After 66 days at sea, Anthony Smith and a crew of three friends arrived in the Caribbean island of St. Maarten on a voyage from the Canary Islands on the raft "An-Tiki". Smith celebrated his 85th birthday during the voyage. 

"Some people say it was mad," he said when he arrived Wednesday. "But it wasn't mad. What else do you do when you get on in years?"

The jovial crew said they wanted to raise awareness about the environment and to prove the elderly are capable of embarking on adventures that are mistakenly considered dangerous.

They also aimed to raise money for the British non-profit group WaterAid, which provides potable water to impoverished communities.


Mariners be advised


South Channel, Stonehaven Anchorage - that the lighted starboard lateral mark beacon Fl.G.2.5s which is between Black Island and Bird Island in the South channel adjacent Stonehaven Anchorage has been restored to normal.

Spitfire Rock, that the lighted west cardinal mark buoy Q(9) 15s temporarily established to mark Spitfire Rock in Kennedy Sound south-west of Lindeman Island has been reported to be destroyed.

Fitzalan Passage, the lighted Special Mark buoy Fl.Y.2.5s in Fitzalan Passage between Henning Island and Whitsunday Island is unlit.

Mariners should navigate with caution in the vicinity. AUS charts 824,

252 & 253.


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan


 Cap'n Dan is a regular broadcaster on ABC Radio Tropical North

R.M.S. Titanic 99th Anniversary

R.M.S. Titanic 99th Anniversary


RMS Titanic sank off the Great Banks of Newfoundland at 2.20am on the morning of the 15th April 1912. This year marks the 99th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic and the loss of 2,223 passengers and crew that night.

To recognize this anniversary, there are events held around the world.

Admiralty House Naval Museum, St. John's, Newfoundland and the Society of Newfoundland Radio Amateurs will be on air, there are postage stamps for collectors, and a dinner at the Wallaroo Town Hall South Australia will commemorate the bandsmen who died on that tragic night.

I am wondering about the R.M.S. Titanic 99th Anniversary Dinner Event with the tag line "Don't miss the boat!" and you really have to wonder about the Facebook entry "RMS Titanic i love titanic. she's totally cool and beautiful! i really want to meet her. ?"

In the Irish Parish of Addergoole the people of Lahardane will again remember fourteen North Mayo emigrants by the ringing of the free-standing Timoney Bell at St Patrick's Church at precisely the time of the sinking.

Dr Paul Nolan, Chairman of the Addergoole Titanic Society, recalls;

"Titanic's dead may be down in the dark icy waters of the North Atlantic, but they are still remembered. As our bell tolls for that lonely time in the darkness of the early morning, the peals ring out over the windswept slopes of Nephin Mountain and echo across the dark waters of Lough Conn, reminding us, that all our emigrants, no matter where they travelled to in the world, or how they fared, are fondly remembered by us here in North Mayo."

Just a point, amateurs built the Ark. Professionals built the Titanic.


Jimmy Buffett Day


A resolution recognizing April 16, 2011, as "Jimmy Buffett Day" in Florida has been passed by the Florida House of Representatives, in appreciation of Jimmy's charitable efforts, support of the environment, and positive economic impact in the state.

WHEREAS, Jimmy Buffett is known for his support of charitable and environmental causes throughout the world, founded the Save the Manatee Club, in 2004, Jimmy Buffett raised $3.4 million at his "Surviving the Storm" Hurricane Relief Concert in Orlando to provide relief for hurricane victims in Florida, Alabama, and the Caribbean, in 2010, he organized and performed a concert for Gulf Coast residents to raise awareness of the effects of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. The official drink will no doubt be the Margarita.


Changing Colours


Captain Paul Watson writes "Since 2002, our ships have been painted black with the objective of driving the Japanese whaling fleet from the waters of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

"The colour black served our purposes for the Sea Shepherd fleet as the colour black absorbs heat and this helped conserve energy in an environment with 24-hour sunlight, but a close to zero degrees climate.

"We now need to reflect heat instead of absorbing it. The Steve Irwin has now been repainted camouflage and is anchored off Fremantle.

"The Gojira will be painted metallic silver. It's a great name, Gojira, Japanese for Godzilla. But the only thing scarier than Godzilla itself is Godzilla's lawyers and we have been told that we do not have the rights to use the name.

"We still had the opportunity to unleash Godzilla on the Japanese whalers and that was super cool especially when the whalers issued a distress signal from the Southern Ocean saying, "We are being attacked by Gojira (Godzilla)." That one radio broadcast was priceless."


Fitzalan Passage


Mariners are advised that the lighted Special Mark buoy Fl Y 2.5s in Fitzalan Passage between Henning Island and Whitsunday Island has been re-established in position. AUS charts 252, 253, and 254


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan

Seeing under the sea

Seeing under the sea


Seeing under the sea has taken a turn, you can now do it without scuba gear or even getting wet and on Monday night you can see how it is done.

Mike Cappo from the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) will show you at a free presentation at the Reef Gateway at 7:00 pm. 

Did you ever wonder how scientists study the fish populations of the deep inter-reef habitats? 

And what have they found? Well, wonder no more and come along to a fascinating evening with Mike Cappo from AIMS and learn all about BRUVS.

Baited Remote Underwater Video Stations (BRUVS) have been developed by AIMS scientists in order to monitor the vast areas of deeper inter-reef and shelf habitats inaccessible to research divers so that important bioregions there can be included in marine protected areas.

BRUVS consist of tourist-grade "HandiCam" video cameras in simple underwater housings made of PVC sewer pipe and acrylic, with a canister of minced pilchards on the end of a bait arm in the field of view. The housings are held in steel frames, and picked up after one or two hours filming at the seabed.

In his talk, 'One Fish, Two Fish, Green Fish, Blue Fish' Mike will present some ideas formed by counting and measuring deepwater reds, coral trout, tusk fish and reef sharks including tigers and hammerheads with BRUVS.

The Whitsunday Local Marine Advisory Committee and the award winning OUCH Volunteers have pooled their resources for the presentation at Reef Gateway on Monday April 11 at 7:00 pm.  More information WLMAC Secretary 0407676952.


America's Cup News


"The big news today is that San Francisco AC34 (34th America's Cup) will be designated a "National Special Security Event," which means that the US Secret Service will take over the responsibility for regatta security and the FBI will take over policing duties.

"The announcement was accompanied by a maritime security plan produced by the newly formed 34CUP security organization that shows all San Francisco harbors will be closed during the 43 days of racing from July through September, a move that drew strong reactions from the local boating community.

"Close all the harbors?" asked local sailor Roman Barnakle. "I don't understand why they just couldn't set up some of those barriers with the retractable nylon webbing around the racing area."

However, due to budget cuts, maritime law enforcement will be closing off harbors rather than trying to patrol the perimeter of the racing area.

"There's no way that taxpayer dollars should be spent on providing security for these super rich guys to go play around in boats," said Richard Stiphington of the American Way Taxpayer's League.

"Why should taxpayer dollars be used for event security when they can be used to build a life-sized ark in the middle of Missouri?"

Your Waterfront writer then noticed the press release date was April 1, 2011.


China rejects 'hot' ship


Singapore flagged motor ship 'MOL Presence' was this week refused entry to the Chinese port at Xiamen in Fujian when high levels of radiation were recorded on arrival officials say.

The incident represents the first time a ship has been prevented from entering a foreign port due to radiation.

Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) rejected Chinese claims that 'MOL Presence' was contaminated when inspections off Kobe, Japan found levels below the Chinese figures.


Marine Notice


Stonehaven Anchorage - Mariners are advised that the lighted starboard lateral mark beacon Fl G 2.5s in approximate position latitude 20° 05.3' S, longitude 148° 53.1' E, which is between Black Island and Bird Island in the South Channel adjacent Stonehaven Anchorage, is reported to be unlit. Mariners should use caution in the vicinity. AUS charts 252 & 254


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan


Queensland's saviour or another disaster

Queensland's saviour or another disaster


Strewth! It's the Million Dollar Memo


Million Dollar Memo News says Hot or Not; go with what ya got


One week since the launch of Queensland's Million Dollar Memo campaign and entries are starting to arrive, slowly.


Exactly four entries in the first seven days; Hot or Not? Million Dollar Memo News is on the job with a quick review of two.


Hot! The Croatian bank girls from Zagrebacka Banka. I wouldn't want to work there, but I would accept an invitation to join them for a drink after work. Eastern European girls are always welcome in Queensland!


Not! The property pigs - What is the message here? Get your snout in the Queensland property trough?


Member for Whitsunday and Queensland's Minister for Tourism Jan Jarratt told Million Dollar Memo News this week that "We're encouraging people to have a bit of fun with this."  So we at MDMN have taken her at her word.


A week is a long time in politics and fashion and Friday will be two weeks into the Million Dollar Memo as well as April Fools Day. That should get the traffic flowing or Queensland Premier Captain Anna Bligh will be keel hauling some of her tourism staff.


Airlie Beach, Whitsunday - The Heart of Australia's Great Barrier Reef


Million Dollar Memo News is a fun site promoting Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays  http://www.milliondollarmemonews.com/

Cyclone milestones

Cyclone milestones this week


This week marks one year since cyclone Ului crossed our coast and 100 years since the luxury steamship S.S. Yongala disappeared during a cyclone just north of the Whitsunday Islands, with a loss of all 122 passengers and crew.

For almost 50 years the steam ship kept her watery grave a secret until divers recovered her safe and noted her name in 13 inch tall letters on her bow in 1958.

Today, March 23, a wreath will be placed in honour of those 122 lost souls who perished in one of Australia's most tragic maritime incidents.

Scuba divers with Alva Beach based Yongala Dive will mark the longevity and endurance of the wreck that is now protected under the Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976 and managed through the Maritime Archaeology Section of the Museum of Tropical Queensland.

At 110 metres (361-feet) long she is one of the largest, most intact historic shipwrecks registered on the Queensland National Estate as a Heritage site

A special interpretive sign was unveiled by the Burdekin Mayor, Lyn McLaughlin on Sunday during a special family day at Alva Beach, the closest launching point to the famous wreck, with Alva-based Yongala Dive providing a 30-minute boat trip.

The SS Yongala is a popular dive spot with an extensive array of marine life that has prospered throughout 100 years of tides, currents and high winds.

The anniversary provides the opportunity for divers to recall the S.S. Yongala's history, and reflect upon how a tragedy can become a lifeline for a wide variety of marine species.   Yongala Dive - www.yongaladive.com.au


Descendant tribute voyage


MV Sea Esta has departed Townsville bound for an exceptional rendezvous with historic S.S. Yongala and carrying a special passenger.

Charles Woodward is the son of Jack Woodward, the third son of Charles and Maud Woodward and the great grandson of Mary Anne Woodward, who perished on the Yongala's final voyage 100 years ago.

The crew on MV Sea Esta are on a voyage to pay tribute to the 122 lives lost on the 23rd March 1911.

122 flowers will be scattered during a memorial service on the day.  Sandra de Matos, Marketing Manager of Adrenalin Snorkel & Dive and President of the 100 years of Yongala Tribute on The Seabed committee says "the 122 flowers recognizing the lives lost will add their own personal touch to the day.  It is important for family members to take time on that day".

Mr Woodward said "It is too late to do anything for the victims of the Yongala except to honour their memory but we can at least contribute to the victims of Cyclone Yasi."


Nemo spotted


Very cute little Dutch children on Saturday's FantaSea reef trip burst into a long and loud chorus of "Nemo, Nemo, Nemo," et cetera, when they spotted the famous Clownfish on the ship's wide screen. Other children of unknown origin joined in the chorus. Bet is they had a great fun day.


Notice to Mariners


While out during the last week I saw that the front leading light on Daydream Island guiding vessels through Unsafe passage between Mid Molle Island and North Molle Island be unlit.

Lagoon Rock - Mariners are advised that the lighted west cardinal mark beacon Q (9) 15s which marks Lagoon Rock off Whitehaven Beach has been destroyed.

Fitzalan Passage - Mariners are advised that the lighted special mark buoy Fl Y 2.5s in Fitzalan Passage between Henning Island and Whitsunday Island, usually in approximate position latitude 20° 18.8' S, longitude 148° 56.05' E, is reported to be off station. The reported position of the lighted buoy is between Henning Island and Plum Pudding Island.

Mariners should navigate with caution in the vicinity and report any sightings to the Regional Harbour Master's Office Mackay, telephone 4944 3700.


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan