Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fast trip north for Offshore Challenge


Fast trip north for Offshore Challenge


Over nine days from August 25, the Offshore Challenge will island and marina hop a course inside the Great Barrier Reef up the Queensland coast to Airlie Beach.

There are races and rallies, cruises and social outings for every form of water craft, but until now there was no real opportunity for a genuine, long-distance, adventure-style, navigational rally for power boating enthusiasts.

This event is designed specifically for the privateer boat owner who might not normally undertake a solo offshore cruise, but who would jump at the chance to explore some of Australia's best coastal waterways in the company of others as part of an organised event.

The Offshore Challenge is sixteen islands, six coastal passages, rocky inlets, coral cays, wide sandy beaches, palm-fringed lagoons, coastal towns, Pacific ocean swells, mangrove-lined hidden surprises, bar-ways, famous holiday resorts and remote secluded passages; the most varied and exciting way the explore Australia's most iconic coastline.

If you are a power boating enthusiast and want to do more to enjoy your boating, then starting and finishing at the world-class marinas of Meridien Marina's Horizon Shores and Airlie Beach, the Australian Offshore Challenge is for you.

You do not need a specially modified craft, just a sea-worthy, offshore capable, production sports cruiser or fishing boat.

The Gold Coast to Whitsundays Rally August 25 to September 3 enjoying the best weather and arriving in time for the Rotary Meridien Boat and Lifestyle Show at the new Port of Airlie on the weekend of September 10-11 and enjoy the Airlie Beach Fun Race and International Talk Like a Pirate Day are on Saturday September 10.


Fans stick together


The Eighth-Annual Duct Tape Festival was held on the weekend to celebrate and pay tribute to the world's favourite fix-all - duct tape.

Hosted in Avon, Ohio, the "Duct Tape Capital" of the world, and home of Duck Tape® brand duct tape, the three-day event celebrated everything duct tape,

The grand parade on Saturday was lead by Miss America 2011, Teresa Scanlan, and featured floats made with duct tape.

With over three million fans on Facebook the Duck® brand celebrates one of the two most used products to fix anything the other being WD-40, the combination of the two referred to as The Redneck Repair Kit.

NASA engineers and astronauts used duct tape in 1970 on Apollo 13 en route to the moon. A workaround used duct tape and other items on board saving the lives of the three astronauts on board.

Sweet, smiling Teresa Scanlan the 18 year old Miss America was crowned the first-ever Miss Duct Tape.

"People think I'm being facetious, but being invited to attend the Duct Tape Festival is a dream come true," said Scanlan.

"It's the greatest invention ever," she said. "If I was ever on a deserted island and only allowed to take one thing, I'd take duct tape. You can hunt with it, fish with it, build with it, use it to decorate your hut and make stylish clothes" she gushed.

Devotees of the famous tape enjoyed a meet and greet with Miss America to hear why she loves to craft with duct tape and how the tape would fix world problems such as poverty, peace and the ailing US dollar.


Titanic II


Who would have guessed that when Briton Mark Wilkinson took his new 4.8-metre cabin cruiser out for its maiden voyage, it would sink?

Sure, most people would think twice before buying a boat named Titanic II.

"If it wasn't for the harbourmaster I would have gone down with the Titanic," Wilkinson, who had to be fished out of the sea at West Bay harbour in Dorset, southern England, told local media.

"It's all a bit embarrassing and I'm pretty fed up with people asking me if I had hit an iceberg."

One eyewitness reportedly said: "It wasn't a very big boat - I think an ice cube could have sunk it!"


Mariner notice


Platypus Rock - Mariners are advised that the temporary west cardinal mark buoy VQ (9) 10s which marks Platypus Rock off Shaw Island, is reported off station. The buoy is currently located to the north east of the reef. Mariners should use caution in the vicinity. AUS charts 252, 254 & 824


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Thar be whales!

Thar be whales! Here in our Whitsunday waters


Seeing photographs of whales in a book or a newspaper, or even vision clips in film or on television can not prepare you for the experience of seeing a living whale in its natural habitat at sea.

The sight of the whale's breath spouting above the water will be the first alert that you are about to experience first hand one of the largest and most majestic mammals to have ever swum in the ocean.

Yes! It can truly be a most powerful and humbling experience especially when a 15 metre whale leaves the water in a mighty leap and its 30+ tonne weight falls back to the ocean surface with a thunderous splash of salt water.

However just fifty years ago the numbers of migrating Humpback whales reached a low point of about 500 creatures when whaling was finally stopped in Queensland waters.

And the ironic thing is that the Tangalooma whaling station on Morton Island east of Brisbane closed in 1962 after 'harvesting' 6277 Humpback whales and became a tourist resort.

So In the last fifty years the term 'whale watching' has entered our language in a big way. Whales have gone from being associated with a dirty smelly bloody job to being a welcome sight along the headlands of Queensland's coast as they swim to their preferred winter holiday mating and calving ground inside the Great Barrier Reef around the Whitsunday islands.

Now a days, whales help provide employment in marine tourism and at resorts by employing marine biologists and other specialised staff who interpret the experiences for tourists.

Generally humpback whales are off the Queensland coast between late autumn and late spring. They turn south in July and August with an added feature in the chance of seeing mothers with their newborn calves.


Thar she blows!


The best time to see whales is when the conditions are calm in the morning before any wind picks up and wave height increases.

So far the first of the season whale spotting must go to an Air Whitsunday Seaplane pilot, "First whale of the season spotted! Nice work Haskell, keep those eyes peeled!"

Other reports come from Deb Duggan who reported on Monday that the crew on Cruise Whitsundays Seaflight "saw some today near the islands :)"

Jack Lumby commented "Thought I saw one, but it was my reflection. Bugger!!"

And of course who can forget Scotty in Star Trek IV "Cap'n, Thar be whales here!"


Yellow Boat


For the last year Rotary has been fundraising to end Polio once and for all and is now within 27 million of the target 200 million.

Robert Pennicott and fellow skipper Mick Souter are circumnavigating Australia in two 5.4m (18ft) Naiad RIB dinghies.

They departed Sydney on May 31 embarking on a 12,000 nautical mile journey arriving back in Sydney three months later.

This Friday the Yellow Boat Road Team will travel from Mackay to Airlie Beach to arrive at approximately 16:00 hours here at Meridian Abel Point Marina with a welcome after at the Whitsunday Sailing Club to get together with people interested in supporting this worthwhile cause. Donations to Rotary Club of Airlie Beach. Website – search for Yellow Boat Road


Marine notice


Pioneer Bay, off Airlie Beach - Mariners be advised that the special mark buoy Fl Y 2.5 to the north west of Pigeon Island marking the sewage outfall is now operational. AUS charts 252 & 253


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan

On Cook's course along the coast


On Cook's course along the coast


Best Job in the World's Ben Southall has embarked on his next adventure - 'The Best Expedition in the World' exploring Queensland's Great Barrier Reef on a four month, 1600km kayak and sailing journey from the Town of 1770 north to Cooktown in Queensland's Tropical North.


"I feel privileged to have had so many wonderful interactions with the natural world whilst out on the Great Barrier Reef and now I'd like to encourage more people to share in the same experiences."


Ben is looking forward to encounters with unique wildlife; sea turtles, manta rays, humpback whales and the huge variety of fish. He'll scuba dive, snorkel, charter a seaplane, cruise on a sailing boat and visit research stations to learn about the sustainability of the reef.


His vessel of choice is the USA Sailboat of the year award winner- The Hobie Mirage Adventure Island Tandem. Ben intends to pedal, paddle and sail his way up the coast on the 5.64 metre (18 and a half foot) tri boat equipped with unique paddle fin propulsion that defies description other than to compare it to turtle fins.


"As with any real life adventure obstacles arise to test us," blogs Ben.


"Our planning and ability to cope with the unexpected was tested after completing the first section, my support yacht 'Sunshine' was on a mooring at Lady Elliot Island when a gang-buster wind came ripping through the island."

"In the early hours of the morning Sunshine's mooring broke and she came to rest on a coral flat to the north of her original position."

The catamaran yacht was later refloated with only minor damage to her hull and reputation.


 Carib gets tough on garbage


On May 1, the Caribbean Sea became a "Special Area for the prevention of pollution by garbage generated from ships" in accordance with the MARPOL convention.

Maritime Authority of Jamaica Director of Legal Affairs, Bertrand Smith, welcomed the move saying, "The designation marks a significant milestone for the protection of the marine environment of Jamaica and the wider Caribbean region."

From now on ships trading in the Caribbean, including pleasure craft, are prohibited from discharging any ship-generated garbage,"

"Although shipping contributes less than ten percent of the pollution of the marine environment, stricter standards for the discharge of garbage is important to protect the fragile marine resources on which most of the Caribbean countries depend for tourism and fishing," Mr Smith said.


Fire in the Hole!


Two men fishing in Fox Lake, Ill., threw a lit "quarter stick of dynamite" — into the water to kill fish. As the fuse burned down, wind blew their aluminium boat to the spot where they had thrown it in. The explosion blew a hole in the bottom of the boat, sinking it. A 29 year old man drowned, but his companion swam to safety. 


Marine notices


 Gloucester Passage - Mariners are advised that Finger Reef buoy Fl R 2.5s has been relocated to its normal position. AUS chart 268


Pancake Creek - Mariners are advised that the back night lead at Pancake Creek is unlit. Mariners are advised to navigate with caution when in the vicinity of Pancake Creek. AUS chart 819


Bowen Wharf front and rear leads - Mariners are advised that the front lead and the rear have been reported unlit. Mariners are advised to navigate with caution whilst operating in this area. AUS chart 268, 825 & 826


Pioneer Rocks - Mariners are advised that the lighted isolated danger mark beacon Fl(2) 6s 5m which marks Pioneer Rocks has been reported to be unlit.


Fair winds to Ye!  Cap'n Dan

Hot Date! Whitsunday Boat and Lifestyle Show

 Hot Date! Whitsunday Boat and Lifestyle Show


A change from the June long weekend means the Rotary Whitsunday Boat and Lifestyle Show will enjoy and show off our best Whitsunday weather in September.


The new date 0f September 10 & 11 and location at Port of Airlie will make Airlie Beach a magnet for those interested in all aspects of boating and the lifestyle that Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays is famous for.


At the all new Meridien Port of Airlie Marina there will be better access and parking with the village of Airlie connected to the Port of Airlie site and the Whitsunday Sailing Club for the sailing of the famous Fun Race on Saturday September 10.


Organisers are hopeful that International Talk Like a Pirate Day is moving to the same weekend to join with the mouth watering Fish D'Vine Seafood Festival.


Located close to the booming high income mining demographic and with the Whitsunday islands and Great Barrier Reef right down the bay, the Whitsunday Boat and Lifestyle Show will draw upon the glorious weather of Australia's peak boating destination.


Did you know that over the past nine years the new September show dates have had ZERO rainfall so it is the best chance to enjoy Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays Islands Great Barrier Reef paradise.

Take some time out to relax for you and your family at the new boat show.

There will still be activities for locals and visitors on the June long weekend with the Dingo Beach Whit Fun Day and People's Day @ Airlie.


Pirates parlay


The polite Pirates of the Whitsundays be considerin a parlay to fetch up our International Talk Like a Pirate Day (as seen on Sunrise TV) a week early to fit inta the Rotary Boat and Lifestyle Show and Fun Race on Saturday September 10.

The word parlay comes from French an means talk or negotiate, perhaps under a temporary protection, as informed by the Pirates of the Caribbean fillum;

ELIZABETH: Wait! You must return me to shore! According to the rules of the Order of the Brethren --

BARBOSSA: First. Your return to shore was not part of our negotiations nor our agreement, and so I 'must' do nothing. Secondly: you must be a pirate for the pirate's code to apply. And you're not. And thirdly ... the code is more what you'd call guidelines than actual rules.

Speakin O' fillums did ye hear the next Pirate fillum ta be filliumed right here in the Whitsunday Barrier Reef Islands?

Yarrr! The fillum be rated Arrrrrgh!


Chef's Tool


Eric Ripert, the chef of Le Bernardin, the high temple of seafood in Manhattan, bought a new kitchen gadget a few days ago: a radiation detector.

"I just want to make sure whatever we use is safe," said Mr. Ripert, "Nobody knows how the sea currents will carry the contaminated water." said.


Lights on


The 200th entry for the International Lighthouse & Lightship Weekend in August has been received for Sea Hill Point Lighthouse on the tip of Curtis Island on the coast near Gladstone.

Also adding excitement is a new country fresh from winning Eurovision; Azerbaijan has entered the Absheron Peninsula Lighthouse located near that countries famous mud volcanos.

Last year, a record 447 entries promoted awareness of lighthouses and lightships, their need for preservation, promotion of amateur radio and International goodwill.


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan


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

Sailability charts course: sailing for all!

 Sailability charts course: sailing for all!


Sailability Whitsunday has only recently been established in Airlie Beach but has found a ready interest from the public.

Based at the Whitsunday Sailing Club our local branch of this international organisation has as its key objective, to encourage and facilitate sailing and boating for people regardless of disabilities or age, in social, recreational and competitive activities.

With branches throughout the twenty countries belonging to Sailability this may well develop into a new form of tourism for nearly twenty per cent of Australian population with a disability.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) defines a disability as 'any limitation, restriction or impairment, which has lasted, or is likely to last, for at least six months and restricts everyday activities'.

"We have attracted some new volunteers but still need more to be safe on our sailing days as we need help with our two specially designed boats and support craft," says Sailability Whitsunday founding member Bruce Carter.

"People who want to be involved in a supportive activity regardless of age and ability are sought to give it a go with Sailability Whitsunday,"

Contact Bruce Carter on 0407 763 887 or check out www.sailabilitywhitsunday.org/


Year of the Seafarer


2011 is the International Maritime Organisation's Year of the Seafarer for men and women in their worldwide industry.

However, it has also coincides with a regrettable upsurge in the number of seafarers who have found themselves facing criminal action in courts around the world.

A recent poll discovered that nine out of ten seafarers now fear criminalisation; perhaps more than they fear the power of the sea.

Is this just part of a wider social malaise in which any people who have to take risks as part of their work now find themselves criminalised if these do not come off? It is also significant that the people who are doing the prosecuting are not within this category, and thus fail to comprehend why risk-taking is necessary.


Is that a Shark?


On a photo shoot at Whitehaven Beach last week we saw a Giant shovelnose ray also known as a Guitar fish swimming leisurely in about two metres of water right off the beach.

In some places they are called a Shovel Nose Ray (Rhinobatos typus) and sometimes a Shovel Nose Shark, and you can see why by the body. If you were in the water rather than looking from a yacht, the shark-like features, fin and all, and two to three metre length might give you a start.


Exxon-Valdez reef hit


The captain of a tugboat spilled about 6,400 gallons of diesel fuel on Prince William Sound's Bligh Reef was unaware of the boat's position when he put it on a crash course with the infamous and well-known and lighted navigational hazard, a US Coast Guard report says.

The captain changed the tugboat Pathfinder's course to return to Valdez, pushed the boat's throttle to "all ahead full," checked his email and was playing a computer game, either solitaire or hearts, just before it ran aground the night of Dec. 23, 2009, the report says.

Two decades earlier, the Exxon-Valdez oil tanker ran aground on the same reef, dumping more than 11 million gallons of crude oil.

James Cook entered Prince William Sound in 1778 and named it Sandwich Sound, after his patron the Earl of Sandwich. The editors of Cook's maps changed the name to Prince William Sound, in honour of Prince William, who would later become King William IV.

And yes, the reef and nearby Bligh Island was named after William Bligh, of future Bounty fame, who served as Master aboard ship during James Cook's third world voyage.


Spitfire Rock


Mariners are advised that the lighted west cardinal mark buoy Q (9) 15s that marks Spitfire Rock in Kennedy Sound, south-west of Lindeman Island, has been reported to be off station. AUS charts 252, 254 & 824


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan